During NSO of my freshman year I decided to become a class representative in our Student Government. I was unsuccessful, losing the race to my friend Paul Hooker. Soon after, a new opportunity opened up to represent the men I lived with in Hodson Hall. Since taking that position, I have been involved in Student Government: in the Assembly, the Cabinet, and I am now humbled to serve as your President.
Early on, IWU students noticed SGA’s shortcomings. Its structure provided helpful direction, but was incredibly restrictive. Efforts toward transparency and student participation were disheartening. Multiple nights a week students would hear a knock at their dorm-room doors, opening up to find representatives waiting to ask them surface-level survey questions. Students were disappointed that the conversations Student Government had seldom impacted their daily experiences. Our student government’s desire to be visible only succeeded in producing public spectacle.
During my freshman year, a demonstration intended to increase SGA’s influence and notoriety resulted in its loss of credibility with IWU administrators. Our next Student President (Aaron Augello) stepped in to rebuild that bridge of trust. He hoped to redevelop SGA to effectively champion student concerns to administrators and faculty without creating public drama or private conflict. I was blessed to take part in this campaign of renewal; together, we transformed SGA from a disconnected governing body to a group of students for students.
This year we’ve worked alongside our Indiana Wesleyan University President, Dr. David Wright, focusing on his vision of being One. We hoped to encourage the integration of university values into our academic, social, and spiritual lives. And after a year of remodeling internally, the 2013-2014 school year offered the first chance for our new structure to begin its work.
This year we contributed to developing the new first-year course (no more LDR-150/UNV-180), to allowing one week for New Student Orientation, to expanding IWU’s summer language offerings, to combating issues related to Textbook Butler in response to expressed student concern. We sponsored panel discussions on pertinent cultural issues like Media Engagement and Sexuality, worked with faculty committees to add Theology I to the Gen. Ed. Curriculum, provided Pioneer Catering with student feedback on food services such as the wing size at Wings & Tots, and bridged the gap between CAS and the Health Sciences program. Finally, we have created the position of VP for Marketing and Communication, a role whose purpose is to keep SGA and the student body connected. The driving force behind these initiatives was the combined efforts of SGA representatives and other student volunteers.
In one and a half semesters, we have been able to accomplish far more than expected. But one year – although it has been one of the most productive in SGA history – is only one year. For lasting change to succeed, we must create an active student culture.
The cabinet I have selected for this campaign consists not only of the best-equipped individuals to fill positions, but also ones who are eager to contribute to this new culture. Each member has faithfully demonstrated their desire and commitment to cultivate Christian excellence wherever they are planted.
Phil Ross brings deep insight and organizational experience to the role of Executive Vice President. David Priest is uniquely qualified to serve as the VP for Academic Affairs, having worked alongside faculty and academic deans across IWU as the former SGA Senate Chair and current President of Alpha Chi. Eliza Mowery’s experience working as an RA in Evans Hall and as a leader in The Well ministry have prepared her to step into the role of Vice President of Student Life–a position that works closely with campus ministries and the Student Development and the Dean of Chapel offices. Melissa Campbell has served as both Treasurer and President of the Student Education Association, two positions that work closely with SGA in its financial concerns. She will be an excellent VP to manage SGA’s finances while understanding the needs and concerns of student organizations. Jake Smith’s extensive business and marketing background (including his service as the Marketing Manager for the McConn Coffee Co.) will help us provide greater opportunity for students to interact with and guide SGA’s efforts in 2014-2015.
Together, our cabinet has chosen our campaign’s slogan: “One Body, One Voice, One Mission.” We believe this statement reflects our team’s diversity and unity under a mission that is not our own. This is the same vision Dr. Wright cast when he was inaugurated as the President of IWU, and it is a mission we hold central to our purpose in serving the Indiana Wesleyan faith community with integrity.
In the coming week, we invite you to visit the tables in the mallway to hear from each team. Both cabinets want to serve you, but we will have cookies.
Student Body President