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SGA board members reflect on their time with the organization

Photo courtesy of Carissa Link and SGA
Current SGA members (front row, left to right) Chandler McClurg, Callie Link, (back row, left to right) Artur Granat, Brandon Reed and Carissa Link

The Student Government Association at SSU is currently in its election period, and results of the voting for 2024-25 SGA officers will be released soon. Some of the current officers may be re-elected, and some new members are likely to join the board. The SGA board is composed of a variety of positions and includes committees in student affairs, organizational affairs and academic affairs. With the end of the semester approaching quickly, current members of the SGA board reflected on their time in the organization and explained how they hope to see it grow in the future. 

Current SGA vice president Carissa Link explained that her role has always required her to remain flexible due to the many responsibilities that come with the position. She often organizes and attends “meetings with other faculty and staff to address public views and collaborate on other campus initiatives.” She added that she was also able to assist in the creation of the SGA Student Affairs Committee, which helps “provide student input onto campus initiatives.” She was also responsible for streamlining the communication aspects of preparing for SGA nominations and elections. 

Chandler McClurg, the current SGA communications coordinator, explained that his position was created last semester and that the role is “defined by the person in it.” McClurg is responsible for sending out “a weekly newsletter email called Bear Buzz,” which he described as extremely popular with students, faculty and staff. He attributes the success of the newsletter to how he was able to authentically share his personality through it. Now, McClurg is developing a social media campaign to “promote clubs, club events, Greek Life and SPB,” and he intends to utilize the various TVs around campus to display advertising materials.  

Link and McClurg also highlighted their fellow board members Brandon Reed, the current SGA president, Artur Granat, the current SGA secretary, and Callie Link, the club coordinator chair. Particularly, Link explained that Reed “cracked down on hazing this semester” as it was “something we prioritized to hold our clubs to high standards of operation.” 

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SGA conducts weekly meetings in the Student Resource Hub on campus.

“We are the voice of the students, and meetings consist of officer reports that include important updates about campus and club and organization procedures,” Link said. “At an average meeting, we talk about upcoming events and opportunities and take into consideration any public views that are made known to us.” 

Recently, many changes have occurred within SGA functions. Link said that SGA had to step back from “in-person office hour” meetings, instead focusing on how they could help students based on immediate or major need. The organization still keeps a close eye on their email, [email protected] for questions, complaints and suggestions.

When asked about the challenges they have faced within their respective roles, Link described her experience as having “hoops to jump through” rather than outright challenges: “This campus has a lot of moving pieces, and both staff and students have their own agendas.” Link went on to explain that she has learned a great deal in her role as vice president, such as “insight and growth” that she hopes “to instill in up-and-coming leaders.”

McClurg explained that the greatest challenge he has faced has been completing projects when having to communicate with or rely on several different groups. “I’ve learned to be persistent in getting the information I need,” he said. 

McClurg described his personality as “built to communicate” and shared that having such a personality prepared him for this role. He also advised that the future communications coordinator “be brave …  and pay attention to how people are receiving your work.”

Link said that being a member of the sorority Theta Phi Alpha was especially helpful for her, as she has “taken on many roles” in her chapter and “worked with a lot of driven and well-spoken individuals.” She then advised that future officers should not attempt to “reinvent the wheel,” recommending that they get to know those around them to learn how to best delegate responsibilities as needed. 

Link and McClurg both shared their unique perspectives on SGA, with Link describing the organization as “work hard, play hard” and McClurg adding “by students, for students.” Both highlighted that SGA works because it is an organization in which students dedicate much time and effort to supporting the student body and cultivating a student-defined campus environment.

“We know the challenges students face, because we face them too, and we want to help students have the best experience possible on campus,” McClurg said.

McClurg and Link took time to reflect on the most difficult and most rewarding aspects of being SGA board members. Link said her favorite part of SGA is “the staff and students I share trials and tribulations with” and that “leaving will prove to be the hardest part of joining a group with so much potential.”

For McClurg, the best part of SGA is “getting to work with the people behind the scenes” and “having the answers to people’s questions.” He then explained that lengthy procedures often make it difficult to solve campus problems. “It’s frustrating not being able to resolve problems immediately,” he said.

Link then addressed concerns about the future of SSU and the role of SGA within it. “Students should work to change the campus culture to fit their wants and desires,” she said.

She explained that students will likely have to step out of their comfort zones to help make changes they want to see, but they should also remain realistic and honest about establishing healthy boundaries and limits for themselves. Link then added that SGA and SSU as a whole function as a team, and that students should prioritize developing that support system to balance work, life and school.

“Frankly, if it was easy, everyone would do it,” she said.

Both Link and McClurg shared a few final thoughts about their experiences as SGA students.

“Do not be afraid to be different,” McClurg said, urging others to “take action, especially when you see something that needs to change.”

Link shared her favorite quote from Professor X: “I believe that true focus lies somewhere between rage and serenity.” 

Link then added: “Be angry enough that you are willing to be drastic, and be so at peace that you understand there are other things that are more worthy of your time. For what it’s worth, student life is just that. There is a world beyond the walls of Shawnee, and when it is your time to go, smile at the memories and be ready to make new ones outside of these hallowed halls. ”

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Kaitlyn Cooper
Kaitlyn Cooper, Staff Reporter
Kaitlyn Cooper is a sophomore at Shawnee State University. Born in Kentucky and raised near Portsmouth, Kaitlyn is familiar with the surrounding area and has been involved in the large community for most of her life. With so many opportunities for future careers in her area, Kaitlyn struggled for years with deciding on the perfect major. Finally, she decided on English with a concentration in Communications. Kaitlyn is known for having a wide variety of interests, so she feels that pursuing a career in journalism is a perfect fit for her. For Kaitlyn, writing has been a skill and a pastime of hers since she was young. As a little girl, she enjoyed creating short newspapers with information about what had happened at school during the day and how much she loved her family and pets. Today, she is interested in investigative journalism and hopes to be deeply involved with it after earning her degree. Writing for the Chronicle will not only be a fun experience for Kaitlyn, but she also hopes it will help her refine her skill as a writer and narrow down her choices for her post-graduation plan. With this semester being her second with the Chronicle, Kaitlyn hopes to use her new writing experience to write interesting articles that appeal to the students at Shawnee State University. Her focus for this semester will be learning more about the field of journalism and exploring more topics in-depth rather than just report on breaking news. COVID-19 has been causing some issues for everyone, but Kaitlyn does not intend to let these setbacks prevent her from getting a good story. No matter what hurdles she may have to jump, Kaitlyn is dedicated to her readers and getting them the information they need.

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