My fellow students,
For those of you reading this who do not know me, my name is Lewis Boatright. For the past year, I have had the privilege of serving as your Student Body President. Thank you for allowing me to serve you, our campus and God in this role. If I could summarize this past year into one word it would be the word “growing,” growing both for the present and the future.
When I first came into office in August, I truly had no idea the amount of disconnect there is between students and SGA, students and faculty/staff, and even between students and students. As I began working and talking to the student body, it broke my heart to see how many of my fellow students feel as though they do not have a place here or do not feel a sense of belonging. My goal this past year was to make as many students as I could feel like they truly do belong and that they are heard.
This is why, over the course of this year, we have strived to begin to create change. We began programs called “societies,” clubs with the goal to be inclusive of all people and cultures; we have created and hired a new intercultural SGA position; we have started to use social media to survey what people want at events; we have held votes with the intent of hearing what people want at events; we have opened up SGA council meetings to all who want to come; and we have held student-only forums in order to hear students’ opinions on different issues on campus.
Now, just because we have created these new connections does not mean myself or SGA has earned the trust of the student body. I am aware that trust is built over a very long period of time and involves consistency and proof that we say we are going to do what we say we will do.
I would love to be able to tell you that SGA has a foolproof plan of some big event that will get every student involved and make everyone fall in love with everything SNU has to offer, but I cannot tell you all that. What I can say is that many have the right intentions even if their actions do not show it. What I can say is over the course of this year, SGA and I have done everything we can think of to make SNU the best place for all of my fellow students. And while it may not seem like it, I believe that this year we have laid the groundwork for true change to happen in the years to come.
To SGA, to you, I ask the same thing. Hear the students. Find new ways to involve them, and don’t forget you were elected by the students to serve the students. Reach out to them– all of them. Personally invite them to events and ask for their opinions. I trust the new exec. team to lead the charge on this.
Finally, to my fellow students, go to SGA with your concerns. The new exec. council wants to hear them, so go to them with all concerns. The office is always open for students to come in. Give SNU the chance to fight for you, and if we fail or ignore you, call us out on it. Tell someone. Let your voice be heard.
Your Student Body President, Lewis Boatright
(Photo courtesy of Google Images)