‘I will always love SGA’
| Taylor Gravett |
Wow! What an incredible year it has been.
It doesn’t seem possible that it has already been a year since I took office as Student Government Association president, and it’s time to swear in someone new.
This entire experience has taught me so much about myself and my abilities, as well as those around me. Being able to carry the message of every single student to local leaders in Pittsburg, state leaders in Topeka, and national representatives in Washington, D.C., has truly been an honor.
Throughout the course of the year, many people have asked me what my story was.
My story is like that of so many other students at Pittsburg State. I am a first-generation college student, from a hard-working middle-class family.
I am from a small town with no stoplights and my graduating class had barely more than 50 people. Never in a million years did I think that I would be the advocate for 7,400 hard-working students from all walks of life. I will be forever grateful for that.
‘Proud to look back’
When I was elected last April, I saw numerous things that students wanted to see done that I felt my administration could complete in a timely manner.
We accomplished many things that some may not know of and my cabinet deserves much of the praise for those projects.
Some of the key projects and new initiatives that we were able to create include: extension of Axe Library hours, the first balanced SGA budget in recent memory, the introduction of the Educator of the Month initiative, the donation of $2,000 to help Gorilla Assistance Pantry off its feet, multiple new community service projects and the Sport of the Week program.
We’ve contributed to the groundbreaking for the new Robert W. Plaster Center, intensive work on the design of the new Overman Student Center, appropriation of funds to furnish items for the new Overman, and the establishment of an improved conversation with our elected leaders about support for higher education.
These are just a few of the things that we were able to accomplish in the short time we had. We all worked very hard and took our jobs very seriously. I am so proud to look back and reflect on these projects and how they will all move Pitt State forward.
‘Excellence’ in Senate
Being in SGA for three years, I have learned so much as a senator, academic affairs director and president. I have seen this organization encounter rough patches, but also its fair share of excellence.
SGA will only thrive if people take the job seriously and realize at the end of the day who elected them. I will always love SGA, and I will cherish each and every person I have come to know because of my involvement in it.
In conclusion, I have so many people to give thanks.
First, to God, for allowing me this amazing opportunity; to my loving parents, and friends who have supported me along the way, I thank you so very much.
To Steve Scott, university president, I cannot thank you enough for your leadership and your willingness to listen to the issues facing students at all levels. Thank you for being my role model, and showing me through your actions and words what it means to be a true leader.
Lastly, I thank the students. There will never be the words to say just how humbled and enriched I am because of this experience and I know I would never have had it if it weren’t for you. Thank you for always working hard and for your love of Pitt State. I know I will see you all around. Go Gorillas.
Taylor Gravett has served as SGA president for the 2013-2014 academic year. His term concluded on Wednesday, April 16. He is a junior in political science, economics and justice studies.
| Rodney Kimlin |
Student Government Association is a name that has come to be known for numerous things for the many students around Pittsburg State.
To some, it is a chance to make a difference for the campus and community in which we have come to love. For others, it is a chance to build a résumé, and possibly even receive some money along the way, if you are lucky enough to be selected for a cabinet position.
Unfortunately for the general student body, it seems that SGA has become a joke, a travesty and an all-around dysfunctional organization that people should avoid.
My time in SGA over the past year and a-half has been one mixed with positives and negatives.
I have been able to help students understand allocations so they can get their organizations hard-earned money, but I have also been accused of helping to rig an entire election.
‘Needs a fresh approach’
In the end, I love the organization.
That’s not because of what it is or what it does, but because of the friendships I have made along the way. I’ll admit that it feels great to make recommendations on student fees and “fight” for the student body, but at the close of the day, the friendships I have forged trump it all.
Student government is clearly an organization in distress, exemplified by the blow-ups associated with the 2014 SGA campaign. It needs a fresh approach.
It needs new senators who are coming in without preconceived notions and feelings about the past and new cabinet members, who are hired upon qualifications and ideas instead of knowing the right people. It needs a new outlook geared toward the future.
Pitt State is at a vital point in its existence: Continual growth, together with the addition of numerous structures around campus, have presented our university with the chance to set itself apart fully from other schools in the region.
An active SGA can be a pivotal part in educating the students in general about the great things Pitt State is working toward: the bigger picture and why they should be a part of it.
I believe many entered SGA this past year with the idea that they were going to make a difference and be the change we all picture we are going to be. Because of some agitators and a series of missteps along the way, communication broke down.
‘No one person to blame’
The typical “he said, she said” mentality overtook us and overwhelmed an organization to the point to where it seemed like it was a game of Clue; no one knew whom they could really trust.
There is no one person to blame, as we all played a part in the breakdown, but now it is up to the incoming administration and senators to piece it back together.
I have hope that the mistakes made this past year will not be repeated and the fresh faces chosen in the election will help to get SGA back on track.
I have spoken with many of the new individuals and I am faithful that SGA will be primed to regain its footing and once again aspire to be a vital part of Pitt State and the community.
SGA is more than just one person, it is a collective effort with the goal of bettering our campus, and I implore the general student body to keep that in mind.
Do not let this past year leave a lasting impression or drive preconceived notions of SGA.
A new year brings new ideas, and a chance for a fresh start. I believe I can honestly say that all of us from this past year only wish the best for the group, and hope that the student body does as well.
Rodney Kimlin is a graduate student in business administration. He served as SGA treasurer for the 2013-2014 academic year, resigning on April 9 amid controversy related to the assembly’s election.