The ongoing pandemic has impacted the way students on campus engage, socialize and connect, but SGA has found ways to safely create opportunities during a tumultuous academic year and also improve the campus culture.
Before the semester had even started, SGA offered its support for Black and international students amidst a divisive summer full of protests and violence. It sparked what would inevitably kickstart a successful start to new leadership.
Daniel Sherman, SGA president and senior management major from Abilene, has led his team to accomplish the very goal that has been sought out since 1923: “to enrich the student experience through purposeful representation of the student body.”
Another goal that has exceeding expectations is the government’s role to fund student groups on campus. Not only was this accomplished this year, but all requests were completely fulfilled — a rare feat to say the least.
When the fall semester arrived, the community was aware it wouldn’t be a typical school year. Social distancing and COVID-19 outbreaks and quarantines became a familiar sight.
However, when cases started to decline, SGA hosted one of the largest outdoor events of the semester, Litmas, to help students find community that was lacking because of the pandemic. It also offered a healthy environment to do so, gaining approval from the university to host the event with safety protocols in place.
“I was really proud that the SGA team was able to put together the first large, campus-wide event of the year in a safe way,” Sherman said. “For some students, it was really the first chance to see what ACU can be like outside of a pandemic.”
In addition in the fall semester, SGA helped register 22% of campus to vote through their ACU Votes initiative, partnering with ACU Republicans and ACU Democrats.
Building community and registering students to vote hasn’t been the only positive impact the student government has made. As of recently, new proposals have been implemented around campus to create a more eco-friendly campus.
Adding recycling bins, hosting a “green week” to better inform students how they can protect the environment and supporting the addition of a bike pump on campus are just a few of the many ways student government has improved the university this year alone.
They’ve even made an impact for the next fall semester by focussing on students’ mental health. A large portion of students will have access to free counseling with the MACC thanks to their partnership with the SGA Senate.
“I think we’ve done a good job of tackling some serious issues on campus while at the same time promoting the fun side of college that creates those lifelong memories we all talk about,” Sherman said. “There are so many factors that are impossible to predict and so many partners that pop up along the way to help you, and at the end of it, SGA as a larger organization has continued to be a group that works for the benefit of the community.”
The school year is nearing its close, and student government has gone above and beyond to serve the university and improve the culture around it. While many leaders will be leaving upon graduation, they have left a positive mark at ACU that will be best remembered by the community they fostered and the opportunities they’ve created for current and future students.