On Oct. 28, Student Government hosted the first annual Student Government Showcase from 6-8 p.m. in Lower Beamer. Complete with donuts, apple cider and candy, the informal event gave students a chance to ask questions and get to know Hayden Sledge, the president of Student Government, and other members of Student Government. The group consists of 20 elected student officers alongside 90 other appointed students who work on the various committees.
Sophomore class co-president Jillian Edwards described Student Government’s goals for the Showcase event.
“We really wanted to have this event so students know who we are and can see us as friendly faces around campus that they can come to with anything,” said Edwards. “We want everyone to know what we’re working on and make sure everyone is being heard.”
For the first hour of the event, tables were set up, and representatives in blue Student Government shirts stood behind them, ready to answer questions. According to Student Body Vice President Mason Laney, about 150 students cycled through the event throughout the night. They made their way around to the different tables and met various Student Government members as they enjoyed donuts and cider.
At 7 p.m., Edwards and her co-president Andrew Kirk thanked everyone who attended and who helped make the event happen. They then showed a humorous video, filmed by SG, to highlight how little students know about Student Government. In the video, representatives walked around campus and asked various students if they knew what different SG acronyms, such as EVP (Executive Vice President), stood for or if they knew who their class co-presidents were. Few did.
“We hope that after coming to this event, everyone feels a little bit more confident in what they know about SG,” Kirk said, after the video concluded.
The night then transitioned to a trivia competition between President Phil Ryken and Dean for Student Engagement Steve Ivester, whose office oversees SG and other student organizations. Laney guided the two through a series of questions centered around historical facts about Student Government, like when the first female student body president was elected. Ryken won the grand prize—a framed photo of the current members of Student Government and a t-shirt.
Caden Klinger, a junior philosophy major, heard about the event from his friend and junior co-class president, Connor Woodin. Klinger participates in Woodin and junior co-president Melissa McCollum’s class council, where junior students meet weekly with the co-presidents and provide feedback about student needs and SG initiatives. In addition to seeing his friends in Student Government, Klinger said he appreciated the opportunity to meet the other members of the organization and gain better insight into their roles.
“I learned more about the functions of SG and some of the ways I can contribute in the future through the class council,” said Klinger. “It was also nice to meet some of the decision makers for our class and put faces to the names. It will be easier for me to ask questions or give suggestions in the future.”
Liana Cornelius, a freshman business and economics major, was on her way to eat dinner in Anderson Commons when she heard music from Lower Beamer and wanted to see what was going on. Cornelius expressed her enthusiasm for the event, which in her opinion proved to be both educational and fun.
“I’m glad I came,” said Cornelius. “I have some friends on SG, and so it’s great to see them in action. I didn’t know there were so many different roles in student government. Plus this event is just really fun.”
Student Government, whose members are elected by the student body at the end of spring semester, represents the interests of students to the administration and other decision makers on campus. The group holds their weekly Wednesday board meetings from 3:45-5:15 p.m. in the Parmalee Room, where SG discusses proposals and events they are working on. Meetings are open to the student body. They also hold office hours on Monday from 7-8 p.m. in Lower Beamer for students to voice issues or to learn more about what is going on in Student Government.
Student Government’s members can write proposals to present in front of the college’s Board of Directors. A recent proposal written by freshman class co-president Jack Murphy led to the reinstatement of the student section and raffle at football games.
Murphy said he hoped the showcase would encourage students to bring any potential issues to their SG representatives.
“If something gets passed in Student Government, there’s a pretty good chance that it will affect students,” said Murphy. “If you want things to change, Student Government is a great place to start.”