After a tense year and a controversial election in the Student Government Association, a new executive board has been announced to lead students in the 2018-2019 school year.
Stephen Mayer won the election as the next SGA president and student regent, along with Garrett Edmonds as executive vice president and Harper Anderson as administrative vice president.
As the new president, Mayer will be the voice for students in various university groups including the strategic planning committee, the faculty senate and subcommittees within SGA.
He said he decided to run after feeling the organization needed change and a different kind of leadership as the university faces changes due to the budget deficit and cuts.
“Over the past year, it’s been rough just working with senators so that we can all respect each other and each other’s opinions so we can work progressively for the students,” Mayer said.
Mayer said he has already been contacted by faculty and staff members to collaborate and said he plans to reach out to different departments in hopes of making more impactful legislation.
“If we can keep students here and bring more students in, it will increase retention rates and help alleviate the cost of attendance for other students,” Mayer said.
Mayer said SGA is working to create a form that allows incoming freshman to find registered student organizations based on their hobbies, so they are able to get involved on campus immediately.
As the administrative vice president, Anderson will be in control of SGA’s budget, allocate money to student organizations and ensure it is used properly.
Anderson said she wants to ensure students understand SGA’s capabilities in being able to award scholarships and organizational aid.
“I know these students work so hard in their organizations. There are hundreds of organizations that could do so much with just a little bit of aid and a little bit of support from student government,” Anderson said. “I know they work so hard. They have so many ideas, but sometimes it’s financial burdens that keep organizations from reaching their full potential.”
Anderson said she is looking to award money to people who promote diversity and philanthropy that will improve the overall spirit on campus.
Edmonds will serve as the vice president of SGA and will assume all responsibilities in Mayer’s absence except the role of student regent.
He also will work on the Student Life Foundation, communicate with regional campuses and student organizations as well as serve on the Senate committee.
He said there have been discussions about improving SGA’s outreach by attending tailgates and making SGA swipe-able in hopes of giving students an incentive to get more involved with the organization.
Edmonds said he also hopes to increase communication between regional campuses and the main campus because of the influence he knows WKU has in those communities.
“I know higher education for me and where I come from, had I never been exposed to it in high school and growing up, I don’t think I would have gotten out of McLean County,” Edmonds said. “I want to go back and contribute to my county, but I want to have a higher knowledge to do so.”
The new executive board faced challenges right before the election began when the Judicial Council first disqualified the group, referred to as the MEA ticket, and then reversed that decision. The decision to disqualify the ticket came April 16 after a complaint was brought to the Judicial Council regarding the use of a Pepe the Frog meme drawn in chalk on campus sidewalks, as reported by the Herald.
Mayer called the frog meme scandal a misunderstanding and said he is open to speaking with students that may be concerned about his involvement.
The new executive board has already begun planning for the next academic school year, and they are currently transitioning to lead the organization on June 22.
News reporter Ambriehl Crutchfield can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected] Follow Ambriehl on Twitter at @ambriehlc.