SGA president, VP discuss progress, goals of 103rd administration

By Gabriel Donahue, editor-in-chief

The Towerlight sat down with Student Government Association’s president, Jordan Colquitt, and Vice President Shawn Bell to discuss the 103rd administration’s progress and its goals for the spring semester. 

A senior, Colquitt is preparing for his fourth and final semester as SGA president. 

Below are some of the transcribed questions from the mid-year interview: 

Question: How do you think last semester went? What do you feel were the SGA’s highlights for the fall?

Bell: I think in the fall semester, the Legal Aid Office. You know, one of our campaign goals was about the Legal Aid Office to be at Towson University. And we were in coordination with Dr. [Vernon] Hurte and that’s coming along very well. We weren’t expecting to possibly have it up so soon, but it is a big possibility that it should be in play by the end of this semester […] We were expecting that it was an idea that we would share around with them, but it wouldn’t maybe come into effect maybe for like a year or two. So the fact that is coming around so quickly, that’s very important. 

Colquitt: I would say our work around supporting students in a number of areas. For one, we created the position of the director of student services and affairs, and that position kind of serves as a liaison between, of course us as representatives of the students, but kind of helped facilitate that conversation with Dr. Hurte and just other areas of campus where students are having concerns. We’ve had the period products initiative that we’ve been pushing for years finally coming to fruition. And our mental health day bill that our director of student services and affairs was a drafting member on that piece of legislation. So I think that position has already kind of proven his worth with being able to gauge the needs of the students and bring that into the light.

Question: What lessons or experiences from last semester will you be taking into the spring?

Colquitt: It’s something that we’re already doing and it’s […] continue outreach efforts to get student concerns and get the –– kind of the vibe of the student body before it arises as a concern or issue. And that just comes from, you know, bridging that gap and doing more outward facing outreach strategies to kind of connect with students like I said, before they have issues to make sure that they know how to report them to us, so we can best support them moving forward. I know that there have been a number of issues this semester and in the past and there will be in the future where students were expressing a need or desire on campus that we just had no idea about, because that connection just wasn’t there. And so I think that’s always going to be right at the forefront of SGA’s work is how do we connect with students and how do we get students to know how we can best support them? So I would say I’m definitely continuing to be proactive and just thinking of new and better ways every day to get those concerns.

Question: Do you know what that kind of outreach could look like?

Colquitt: Oh, yeah, so we actually have created what is called the street team. And so again, it’s headed by our director of student services and affairs, and there’s a schedule that she’s on […] I don’t know if it’s bi-weekly or monthly, but literal campus walks. Groups of SGA members will go to different places on campus and connect with students one-on-one to kind of like, one, promote resources that are available on campus, connect with students to ensure that they know what SGA is and that we’re there for them. And then also, of course, take any student concerns that we get, and Kayla Brown, our director of student services and affairs, will be tracking those concerns on a tracker and kind of making sure that any of the appropriate parties within SGA are following up on those things.

Question: What plans does the executive board have, and what’s coming up? 

Colquitt: In our campaign, or my campaign two years ago, for my first time as president, I campaigned to create the first generation low income student representative position in the cabinet. And we did that, and then last year when we campaigned with The Marathon Continues, we campaigned on creating a scholarship for first generation students that are represented by that […] And we did that as well. And so we allocated $2,000 from our operating budget. Student Success Programs matched the $2,000 and the Towson Black Alumni Alliance has donated $3,000 that’s going to go towards an endowment fund, so that we can eventually raise the necessary money to replenish it and open an endowment for the first generation scholarship. And so I think that’s what I’m most excited for this spring semester. Just to keep continuing, you know, doing what we said we were going to do, supporting and uplifting first generation students, especially as this is an increasing demographic of students on our campus, and I think a lot of awards often exclude a lot of these people from various backgrounds and so I’m happy that SGA were able to work with SSP and the Black Alumni Alliance to to kind of bring this to light for the next semester. 

Gabe Donahue has held numerous positions within The Towerlight. He started as a writer before becoming the News Editor, and now he serves as Editor-in-Chief.


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