Letter to the Editor: SGA President Elect outlines plans

Jay Todd Richey

Jay Todd Richey

In the days ahead, Western Kentucky University faces daunting challenges. Our graduates are defaulting on their loan debts at a rate higher than most other colleges in the United States. Disturbing expressions of racial resentment have sparked conversations that have swept campuses across the nation. In an era of stagnant wages and middle class decline, affording college is increasingly out of reach for many families. 

The decisions we make now as the leaders of this university will shape the lives of Hilltoppers for generations to come. We cannot afford to make the wrong ones. 

Last week, I was elected as the next president of the WKU student body. I cannot express how grateful I am, not only for the votes that I received, but for the participation of students in the democratic process in general. That engagement will be necessary for us to begin the work of ensuring a better WKU experience for every student. And we have a lot of work to do.

This fall, I will launch a new initiative called MyCampusToo. This will be more than a simple program or resolution. MyCampusToo will be a university-wide movement to empower minority students and reflect the diversity of our student body in each of our institutions, including Student Government. We will work to build avenues through which ethnic minorities and LGBTQ students can channel their voices and be a full and equal part of the WKU community. We can’t just talk about diversity. We have to act on it.

And we’re not stopping there. I want to increase opportunities for our students to study abroad, especially those who fear they may never find the money to do so. I want to expand our efforts to make WKU more environmentally sustainable. I want to work with the local city government to maximize the attractions that Bowling Green, as a college town, should have. I want to emphasize the importance of nontraditional and online students as well as our regional campuses. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

All of this stems from my belief that government—yes, even Student Government—can play a positive role in people’s lives. I believe that democratic government is fundamentally a contract between the community and its leaders. As the students of WKU, you have entrusted me to represent you. In return, these are my promises:

I promise to work toward creating a university environment where your voice is valued and listened to, regardless of your race, gender, sexual orientation, or creed.

I promise to fight for the expansion of opportunities that will enrich your education and empower you as a citizen of an increasingly globalized world.

I promise to work with the WKU administration when I can and stand my ground when I cannot.

I promise to devote each and every day of my term as president to ensuring that you have a better WKU experience.

I have no illusions about the challenges ahead. Government can be trying and politics can be messy. But I am confident that with your support, we can not only revitalize Student Government, but also renew its commitment to be the champion for the students of this university. My hope is unyielding only because my faith in what we can accomplish is unyielding. So let’s get started.

– Jay Todd Richey