By Katelyn Marshall
The Student Government Association is under Volunteer State Community College’s club spotlight.
“There is an SGA Presidents’ Wall in the Wood Campus Center, 217 hallway—you have to look up and see all of the frames, as well as the international flags,” Tabitha Sherrell said, who has been at Vol State for seven years and co-advises SGA with Nancy Blomgren. “According to those pictures, SGA has been around for 47 years, with the first year being in 1972.”
The functions of the SGA, said Sherrell, include, “to promote the welfare of each student at Vol State, to provide a training experience in the general principles of democratic government for all SGA members, to provide official channels through which student opinions may be expressed, to promote academic freedom and responsibility, and to promote student rights and responsibilities.”
Other responsibilities, Sherrell added, “were to promote full cooperation between students, faculty and administration, to foster awareness of students’ positions on the campus and in the community, to support all student body activities and school spirit, to nurture the leadership potential of all SGA members, to control the assessment and allocation of the SGA fee, to support all student clubs and organizations within the college, serving as a resource of information, and to assist in the coordination of activities for the benefit of the student body and college.”
“SGA benefits the students because the organization allows students to have a voice,” Sherrell said. “SGA meetings are always on Mondays from 12:45-1:45 p.m., and they are open for all to attend. Students have the opportunity to sign up to be Senators during the first two meetings each semester (fall and spring).”
“I would tell students to stop and enjoy this moment in their lives—it can be busy trying to balance school, work, family, social life… but attending college is also one of the best times regardless of age. When you are in college you have the opportunity to learn and grow as a person,” Sherrell said as a quote to all students.
“I want students to know that it can be more than just going to class and going home—get involved with a club or organization on campus. Apply to travel internationally, apply to be a President’s Ambassador—do something at the college that helps you grow and gives you the opportunity to step outside your comfort zone,” Sherrell continued.
“The SGA was created in the 1970s to provide a voice for students in influencing college policies. Dr. Bob Ruff helped create it and was its first advisor,” Nancy Blomgren said, who has been teaching English at Vol State since 1991. She said that she became co-advisor with Dr. Bob Ruff a few years later and has continued to co-advise, except for occasional breaks because of other commitments.
SGA’s function is, “to provide opportunities to work with other students to improve the campus and to provide leadership experience,” Blomgren said.
“The SGA helps students learn how to work with others to get things done,” Blomgren explained. “It’s easy to complain about problems and most people don’t know how to change things so they spend a lot of time baffled and unhappy. Working in student government helps students understand what it takes to make positive changes so they are able to take on challenges rather than feel powerless.”
“The first step to becoming more involved in the campus community is to attend SGA meetings to find out what needs to be done,” Blomgren continued, “when motivated students meet each other and begin working together, everyone benefits.”
Blomgren addressed students, saying, “Everything you do today helps build the person you will become.”