Hello everybody! In the coming days, as we return to the classrooms and labs to finish out this academic year, I want to wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year. This is always a hopeful time for us, as we have had time to look back on the previous semester and celebrate the beginning of another.
While the first decade of the 21st century was an eventful one, we should also look back with the knowledge that brighter days are ahead of us. Gramblinites must know that although our challenges are great, with everyone playing his or her part we have the ability to rise the occasion.
Before leaving campus in December, I had an opportunity to talk with Interim President Dr. Frank Pogue about some of those challenges. I have no doubt after this meeting that we have the right leadership to lead these efforts. The meeting allowed the SGA leadership and me to develop objectives for the student government.
First, we intend to join the effort to secure a state-of-the-art library for Grambling State University. Over the break, my executive officers and I looked at some options to accomplish part of this goal.
I will be the first to admit it is a non-traditional way of getting this done, but the vast majority of us realize that we can no longer accept the reality of a library that does not reflect an institution of the 21st century.
This semester we will also look to lead a number of creative efforts to increase recruitment and restore enrollment for years to come. Given the new funding formulas, it is no secret that we must engage in more aggressive recruitment strategies in our regional markets.
We can no longer intellectually and fiscally afford to market our university as a university of last resort.
In order to do this, we will seek the assistance of mass communication majors in creating commercial advertisements for those regions and bring potential students to our campus. Our third objective is to put a plan in action to begin the work toward a Center for Student Access to Success. This, we hope, will dismantle stereotypes about Grambling State’s retention rates.
We will then develop academic advisement and bring awareness to student career placement.
This objective and the library objective will be accomplished after the SGA conducts a complete review of all student self-assessed fees.
From there we will recommend that you, as students, redistribute some of these fees to meet present day priorities and needs of the university.
Furthermore, we will continue to vigorously call for the expansion of technology to be integrated into the classroom environment. I am pleased to announce that with the help of your class presidents and the information technology staff we have approved a student technology budget.
For the first time, thousands of dollars were allocated to colleges to support instructional technological usage and reopen outdated computer labs.
We will unveil an interactive campus communication system to keep students and the campus informed, and will soon provide e-book readers, digital voice recorders, and graphing calculators to support academic development.
Finally, we must all work toward full reaffirmation and certification of each of the four programs to be reviewed this semester. This is an unprecedented number of visits, but we must rise to occasion.
I close as I opened: with everyone carrying out his or her task, I affirm we will rise to meet these challenges. It is the same spirit that has kept the dream of founder Charles Phillip Adams alive for generations, and it is this spirit that will lead the next generations to come.
Looking back over the previous semester, I admit that we have made a significant progress; however, much more needs to be done. This is why I ask for the continued support of Dr. Pogue in ensuring that we will have the support of Dr. Duhon as Vice President for Student Affairs.
Although SGA is a quasi independent entity of the university, no SGA can be productive without the support of the Division of Student Affairs and its head. We are elected officials of our student body, governed by a written rule of law.
Therefore, demands, manipulations or dictations will be challenged and resisted. It is important that we act to move the university forward and always keep in mind that our goal at the end of every day is to contribute positively to student development and outcome. This is the mission that SGA was established for, a promise that we aggressively pursued during the 2009 spring campaign, and a responsibility we intend to keep.
Happy New Year, everyone, and Welcome Back!