Sumner Mackey was chosen as the president of the Student Government Association (SGA).
Mackey, a double major in political science with an emphasis in pre-law and in communication with an emphasis in strategic communication, has always wanted to help people and saw SGA as a way to help students specifically.
“So, I was in SGA all of last year,” Mackey said. “… So, I got an understanding of how everything worked… and what SGA can do and how it can impact the students. I’ve always wanted to help people as much as I can and so I kind of came into school freshman year kind of with… a pipe dream of like ‘Oh, I want to try to do that.’ Slowly, through just being a part of the organization I got to learn and then eventually it kind of became the idea of like ‘Maybe I can do this,’ and finally I was like ‘Well, I want to help the students so why not just run and see if I can do it.”
By having members on committees across campus, SGA can serve and represent students better according to Mackey.
“So, I think student government is incredibly important because we are, or we try to be at least, the bridge between students and faculty, staff, and administration,” Mackey said. “So, student government has people sitting on almost every committee that faculty and administrators have. So, we get to represent the students more than any other organization, so we are able to go into these committees and go into all of these different decision-making meetings and we are able to represent the students. We’re able to say, ‘this is what we think would be best for the students, this is what we think would be able to benefit the students and make sure that they’re still having a successful experience and (a) good experience at Pitt State.’ So, without student government we wouldn’t have as much of the representation as we have.”
Like many other organizations, SGA has had to adapt to changes due to COVID-19.
“(One change is that we can’t) …do as much in-person stuff as we wanted to,” Mackey said. “So, we would want to be able to have our meetings (in-person) as much as possible… and bring people in to talk and get as… (many) student… (opinions) as possible, but we can’t really do that… It’s just a lot of restrictions and trying to make sure that we’re staying connected but staying connected as digitally as we can.”
Despite the changes, SGA is still working with campus organizations and trying to provide information on additional changes and decisions that are made.
“Well, we had a lot of goals and then a global pandemic happened so we’ve kind of had to adapt our goals,” Mackey said. “So, since this year we got a new constitution, a big thing that we want to do is… (to) set the new standard of how these new positions and new jobs work… At the same time, we want to make sure we are engaging as many student organizations as possible. So, we’ve already been working with (the) Black Student Association.., the International Student Association.., (and) the Office of Student Diversity. We just want to make sure that we are engaging and working with as many organizations on campus as we can because we want to make sure everybody is (as) connected as possible. We also want to keep as many students as we can informed about what’s going on. So, there’s a lot of… decisions being made all the time obviously with COVID and everything like that, so we want to make sure that the students are being made aware of everything…”
While this year has been different than any other year, Mackey believes it can still be a good year in the face of new rules, regulations and policies.
“I think that this year has the possibility of being an incredibly good and memorable year,” Mackey said. “I think it’s just the situation that we need to make sure that as the student body we are just adapting as much as we can because there’s gonna be a lot of changes, and we’ve already seen a lot of these changes, but I think at the end of the day we’re all here because we want to be a part of the Pitt State family and as long as we keep that in the back of our heads I think we’ll be OK.”