This time last year (April 2017) my campaign team was busy putting together our campaign material and preparing for the Student Government Association elections of Armstrong State University. The consolidation had dawned upon us and the entire university was preparing for the storm that was about to hit them and we were more than excited to provide leadership to our community as student representatives. We knew what we were signing up for – confusion, misinformation, high emotions, and scattered animosity. We knew the importance of strong leadership at this juncture and we took the decision to be your elected representatives. With your blessings, we were elected as the new Student Government Administration for 2017-18.
Since then we got to work. It’s been a long, tiring, and busy year but what kept us going at the beginning of the year keep us going right now as we come to the closure of our tenure. We’ve reached some of our goals and we’ve come so close to achieving the ones we couldn’t complete. We promoted transparency by providing various platforms for students to speak, published weekly videos on Facebook that reached about 3,000 views overall, centralized resources to utilize social media as a platform for communication which reached +200 likes and +6,000 page views and engagement, financed +20 more student organization projects this year (total 60+), introduced new cabinet positions to bring in perspectives from stakeholders that have not been involved in SGA as much in the past (veterans, alumni and residential students), and built strong relationships with campus partners, community organizations and most importantly a human relationship with the student body. But this article is not about what we achieved. You can take a look at the annual report for all that when it’s published.
This open letter is to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the support, advocacy and encouragement you’ve provided us throughout the year. It really empowered our overall momentum. The heartbeat of our university is our student body. The more active and engaged you are, the more vibrant and better the university gets. Your engaging discussions, life-changing advocacy programs, and the persistent attitude to challenge the norms of our university and society inspired us every day. Every day we went home tired, looking forward to more work the next day but the fact that we knew we had your support no matter what, kept us going.
I’ve learned a lot as the SGA President. I’ve heard how you work multiple jobs and still choose to volunteer and make someone’s life better. I’ve seen how you raise your children and still keep up with school and the other responsibilities you have. I’ve seen the friendships you’ve created and how you stand up for each other. I’ve seen how you care – care beyond the basic human possibilities because we genuinely love each other and what goes on in our community. I’ve been inspired to believe that our world is getting much better every day with people like you in our community. I’ve seen some of the most beautiful souls in our faculty, staff, and administration who go above and beyond to support students because they understand that your life is in no way easy.
We’ve considered this entire year to be an honor. Whenever we represent the students we’ve made it a point to remember who we represent. We don’t necessarily represent the majority. We represent each and every one of you. We needed to remember that when we speak up and voice your concerns, we needed to be strong and intentional because we understood that we had the ability to change your life. We took this responsibility with humility and utmost seriousness. It was nothing close to easy, but it was our passion, so we were steady against any odds. With the consolidation process just coming to a close, you need to know that we have a long way to go. I need you to know that Armstrong will never change. Throughout the entire year, I’ve come to realize that Armstrong as a university has never been about the buildings or the Maroon color. Armstrong was always about the people who lived it’s legacy and shaped it to be what it is today. It’s spirit, brand, and color lived in our hearts as we put stewardship, leadership, and scholarship at the forefront of our values. It will remain with each and every one of you in the new Georgia Southern University as well.
By the end of April, we will hand over the torch to a new SGA administration who will lead a completely new SGA structure that we put together. We spent a lot of time with our counterparts in Statesboro to make sure that the new structure supported an inclusive, democratic, and representative platform that would accommodate the best interests of the students we serve. Whoever you choose to elect, we hope you will keep them at the edge of their seats like you demanded of us and support them take our university to greater heights. I hope you will keep pushing against all odds, persevere, and never give up on your dreams and taking action to change the course of our university, community, and society. An immobilized society is a danger to the world. We need to keep evolving. So keep your voices loud and spirits high.
Lastly, we would like to thank you all for trusting us to make decisions on your behalf. I can assure you we’ve done nothing short of our best to represent you. I’ve loved serving you, listening to you, and has been inspired by the amount of energy you have. I have so much hope for our beautiful campus and the new Georgia Southern University. It’s truly been an honor.