By Samara Demray
William Peace University has been off to a rocky start this fall, dealing with its first few cases of COVID-19 on campus and a student petition to move classes online.
Peace has also gone without a Student Government Association Executive Board, which is usually elected by the student body during the spring semester.
This year there was an abrupt stop to in-person classes to all virtual, causing things to shift when it came to elections. Student Involvement tried numerous efforts to get students to run for positions on SGA, but not many students applied. Since students didn’t apply, Student Involvement pushed elections to this fall semester.
It is now week four of the semester and the application for SGA closes on Sept. 15. Student Involvement hopes that by then, students will have submitted their applications so that ballots can be created, and then elections will happen shortly after that.
“The start of the year has presented some challenges for all of our students, including our student leaders and our incoming officers will have to work hard during their new member training to become acclimated to their roles and expectations,” said Chelsea Hayes, Director of Student Involvement. “However, these students will have the opportunity to lead under unique circumstances, which can really provide a great learning experience and personal development.”
The SGA process can seem overwhelming when trying to adapt to the current circumstances but Hayes believes that this will offer a challenge for new students to overcome to accomplish their set goals.
Aluma and previous SGA Student Body President, Deja Gainey, felt that the pandemic put a wrench into student life plans on all campuses but especially for Peace because we are so small.
“Pacers deserve better. It is important more now than ever to have SGA sitting at the table with University officials to guide their decision-making process,” Gainey said. Most students agree that there should indeed be student leaders contributing to the next steps for the University.”
Not currently having an SGA on campus has created a gap between the students and upper administration, though not necessarily in a negative way. SGA’s main goal last year was to be a sounding board for all students and to promote inclusion and community. Without a board, this is practically impossible and causing some uproar from students.
“To be SGA is to be at the epicenter of student cultivation, inclusiveness, and integration of ideas. This year, without a current operating SGA has been closed off and lonely,” said senior Nolan Davis, who served as the Traditions Coordinator for SGA last year. “SGA promotes and elevates ideas and happiness of the student body; without it, students have not had the opportunity to feel even more included and valued on campus.”
Students and faculty all utilize SGA to get things done and come to them as a board to promote all things to Peace while also setting the groundwork for the next set of students who get elected.
The expectation is to have a full board within the next few weeks to hit the ground running and bridge the gap between students, student leaders, student-athletes, faculty/staff, and upper administration. It is in times like this SGA is needed to impact and leave a mark on campus.