Jessie reflects on year as SGA president

Student Government Association President Colton Jessie was elected in March of last year, and his term is up in May. “This has been a good experience for me,” he said. “It was a full-time job and a lot of hard work. I feel satisfied stepping back and seeing what they will do this coming year.”

Mike Stunson

Student Government Association President Colton Jessie feels as though he had a successful year highlighted by a number of accomplishments.

Jessie, a senior, is seeing his term as president wind down, and his successor, Billy Stephens, has already been elected.

As president, Jessie was in office while SGA gave out more scholarship money than ever and increased its organizational aid fund. The scholarship fund was raised $8,000, while org aid increased to $40,000 this year.

“It’s a good feeling to know how helpful we are being to students,” Jessie said.

But Jessie’s legacy could be cemented in heading the movement for renovations on Downing University Center. After the SGA senate unanimously approved renovations in February, construction is scheduled to begin in the fall.

“It’s definitely a big deal — one of the biggest things SGA has done in a while,” Jessie said. “I feel really good about it.”

President Gary Ransdell said Jessie took the initiative to begin talks about renovations.

“He’s taken on this whole DUC renovation thing and kind of laid it out there and said, ‘If there’s ever a time we’re going to do this, we ought to go about it,’” Ransdell said.

But Jessie said he is just as proud of the DUC renovations resolution as he is of some other bills.

“The senate has passed some legislation we have never seen before, like reimbursement for CLEP exams and providing test prep books to libraries,” he said. “This might not be as exciting as the renovations, but it’s still a big part of my presidency.”

Jessie said he can’t take sole credit for any one thing that happened while he was president and insists it was a collective effort from the executive and legislative branches as well as the senators.

“My cabinet has been great to work with,” he said. “Everybody we have had has been fantastic and has been in a lot of work.”

Charlie Harris, who serves as Jessie’s chief of staff, said it was an honor working under Jessie.

“He’s an exemplary president and will definitely be up there with the greats who have held the office,” Harris said.

Harris was a part of SGA his first three semesters at WKU but left to focus more time on other activities. Jessie convinced Harris to come back last fall for his senior year.

“Seeing Colton’s commitment and passion was what brought me back,” Harris said.

Ransdell said Jessie has been a “great” SGA president.

“He’s been good to work with,” Ransdell said. “He’s been very constructive and wanting to get things done.”

Jessie already has a job lined up after he graduates next month. He’s moving to Chicago to work for Teach for America, which hires leaders to teach in underprivileged school districts.

“I’m really excited for this next step,” Jessie said. “I think everything I have done with SGA has prepared me.”