I joined the Student Government Association here at Belmont University simply because I had heard the complaints from people in the music school, hall mates, and even some faculty. I did not want to go through four years of my undergraduate study here being one of those people that complained, but never even tried to get answers to those concerns. I never felt like Belmont’s upper administration was out to get us, but would appreciate more people letting them know about student concerns. Turns out, I was right.
Out of all honesty, I had people tell me not to join SGA because it would be a lot of political jargon and zero results. I also had many music majors who were shocked that I would take time away from my piano playing to focus on something that those thought would not benefit my music career. All the rumors made me apply as soon as I could because I wanted to find out for myself.
My sophomore year was the first year I joined and it was exciting and professional. I had to show up to meetings in business attire and (every now and then) I would Google a couple of phrases from Robert’s Rules of Order to make it seem like I was very “political”. I had a fear that people thought I was an outcast, but that ended up not being true as members continued to help me fight for the students with space reallocation, cafeteria policies, etc. I felt important on campus because I was doing something for the better of all my friends that complained.
I had made many friends in the organization my first year and I definitely was on my way to get another application for my junior year when the one and only, Chris Dickerson, stopped me. When he asked me to run with him, I felt like all my hard work and outside involvement was being noticed. We were a great team running for Vice President and President of 2016-2017. He was assertive and I was persuasive, and together we were a team SGA probably hadn’t seen in a while. We were from two different colleges within Belmont and had two completely different perspectives on college life here. Yes, I got frustrated with him sometimes, but he got frustrated with me too. This was inevitable as we spent six hours or more with each other with office hours, Monday nights from 5pm-9pm, and the extra campus outreach events we loved to attend.
I never thought I could run a Congress meeting with Parliamentary Procedure or even make the time with my schedule to balance practicing and SGA. However, I worked hard and it paid off. My advisor, Jessica Dykes, helped me get the courage to be assertive and confident although I was new at this. She helped me find my voice whether it was standing up for a stance I had on a topic, or just by being confident in the decision I had already made. Whatever it was, I was pushed beyond my comfort zone and became a better person because of it.
The people in this organization looked up to me, but still gave me grace. That is what kept me going. At the end of the day, I am just a student who wants to help out an organization. My Robert’s Rules of Order may not be perfect, but my passion for helping this campus is what people want to see and I will continue until the school tells me I have to graduate.
This is what SGA is about. The political jargon is non-existent. We use a simple, watered-down version of Robert’s Rules of Order in order to keep things running at a fast pace. Our advisor, cabinet members, and previous congress members help get people up-to-date on everything so their voice is heard. We are able to get things accomplished, whether you know it or not, SGA helps put on Homecoming, talks to upper administration about your concerns, documents Coffee and Conversation, and is always writing legislation to better the University. Most importantly, I am returning to SGA this upcoming year as the Vice President again because the people who support this organization have made me feel like a family. I cannot imagine what I would do without SGA where I can step away from the constant nagging of homework, papers, and all the stresses of school. Yes, SGA can get intense when we all start discussing about a concern that involves hundreds of students on campus, but we hug each other before we leave and do what we need for the next meeting. Put all the rumors aside, and do what I did. I applied and became a family member, and found out that SGA was so much more than I had ever imagined.
Student Body Vice President