Across all university and college campuses student governments serve as a voice for students, but here at Grambling State University, now more than ever, students are relying on their elected leaders to be their advocate.
According to GSU’s website, “The sole purpose of the Student Government Association (SGA) is to serve the students of Grambling State University. With regard to every policy that the University puts into effect, members of SGA not only advocate student needs and rights but also have integral roles in the development of these policies.”
The Student Government Association, better known to the campus as SGA, takes care of the student issues and concerns. SGA holds general body meetings, online polls and a variety of meetings for people to voice their concerns.
Two-term SGA President, Adarian Williams is who most students know as “the face of SGA”. Williams works tirelessly attending meetings on student’s behalf, organizing events all the while being a full time student.
“During my tenure, SGA has accomplished many great things for the student body such as raising $15K+ in funding for student scholarships and campus renovation projects, revising our governing documents, the SGA Constitution and the SGA Election Code, to accomplish clarity, consistency and brevity as well as being with numerous construction projects/upgrades taking place on the campus, such as the C.D. Henry Natatorium Demolition, the Student Union Bowling Alley, computer lab upgrades, flood restoration in campus facilities, campus safety and emergency improvements including more lighting, security and safety upgrades, Wi-Fi upgrades, the enhancements in the McCall Dining Center, new Shuttle Bus and Student ID designs and more,” Williams said.
A plethora of issues face GSU’s students including poor food options for on-campus dining, unsafe campus protocols, unlivable student housing, deteriorating buildings and much more. Some students are no longer going to sit by silently.
Omar Sims, a 21-year-old junior majoring in criminal justice, serves as the Junior Class President.
Sims wants students to understand why their voice matters, and how they can advocate for themselves by voting for people who are dedicated to seeing a better GSU.
A common complaint among students is the timeliness of a lot of campus projects.
Sims, acting as both a leader and a student, understands students’ frustrations, but also keeps in mind that there are proper ways to voice those frustrations.
“We recognize that each student must respect the rights of other members of the university community and must use proper channels in exercising his or her rights as a student in order to produce a more effective student governing body,” Sims said.
Sims also wants to work on strengthening the weakened relationship between students and the administration.
“My role as Junior Class President is to advocate for juniors and monitor how policies affect our class on every way on campus,” Sims said. “In our role as elected and appointed officials, we serve on search committees advisory boards and provide feedback to administrators about possible policies that will have a positive or negative impact for the student body overall.” Students like Kendall Mears, a junior majoring in biology from Flint, Mich., rely on SGA to advocate for them as they are in the position to do so.
Because Mears is so far away from home, she looks to SGA to ensure that GSU is educating her and preparing her properly for her career, and catering to her needs as an out of state student.
“Being so far away from home really makes me anxious,” said Mears. “Even though Flint is not a big city, it is still my home, and I grow homesick a lot.”
With tons of options near her home, Mears decided to come to GSU because of the legacy that it left on her family, but she is depending on SGA to make sure that her needs are still met.
“I originally came here because it is my mother’s alma mater, and even though I love it here, there are still a lot of improvements to be made, and I can depend on SGA to do that,” Mears said.
SGA has not only benefited the student body but also the students who take an active role as SGA cabinets. Sophomore Class Associate Justice, Kyriah Alex, was a very shy and timid young lady.
“SGA has benefited me by making me more outgoing, a more effective leader and giving me opportunities to network,” Alex said.
Without SGA, students would not have an organized way to voice their concerns.
With student leaders at the forefront of the conversation, their voices are heard and changes can be pushed forward.