As I end my role as SGA Press Secretary, I have been reflecting on Student Government and how it and Samford have changed. I was organizing my writing portfolio last week, and I found a piece I wrote around this time my freshman year, after SGA elections. Other members of SGA approached me, a young writer for the Crimson, to write about the lack of females in certain SGA positions, including the President and Vice President for Senate.
I learned through my research that there have only been seven female SGA presidents and only four vice presidents for senate or first vice presidents since 1980, and the kind library archivists informed me that Samford originally had a separate women’s SGA, and the male and female leaders were not united under one system until the late 1970s.
All this to say, I am now a junior who has served on the Student Executive Board and now notices both similar and new patterns of SGA leaders. Among the four newly elected members of the Student Executive Board, all four are independents, or non-Greek students. This year, three out of those four members are Greek. Last year, all four were Greek. As an independent myself as well as the only independent female on the current Student Executive Board, next year’s group appears to me as a nontraditional group of Samford leaders.
Even when I think of a typical Samford student body president, the person I imagine at first is involved in Greek life. The last independent SGA president was McDavid Maddox in 2014, so every SGA president since I have been a student has been Greek. While there is nothing wrong with Greek organizations, having four elected independent leaders will bring a different view of campus to the table.
“For the past few years, SGA has been filled with quite a few Greeks, and filling SEB with more independents will allow for a wider outreach and more perspectives from different parts of campus,” said Angel Sims, the newly elected vice president for development.
No matter how united Samford students can be as a whole, the influence of identifying as either Greek or independent still adjusts someone’s view of campus and what he or she chooses to be involved in.
“I value the unique bonds that fraternities and sororities bring but also have enjoyed the freedom that comes from being an independent,” said Heath Padgett, the newly elected vice president for senate. “I am able to build relationships on an individual basis and to serve campus as a whole without the need to look out for one group over another.”
From what I have experienced, Samford does not completely split between Greeks and non-Greeks like larger state schools, but there are areas about Greek life that I do not understand. However, this does give me a greater outlook on other parts of campus that I do understand.
I look forward to seeing how next year’s Student Executive Board balances out, for the five appointed members will be chosen soon. This group of independents just shows a completely different pattern in SGA that will most likely change how the group thinks and works.
Elizabeth Sturgeon, Columnist
Pictured: SGA President-elect James Hornsby, VP of Senate-elect Heath Padgett, VP of Development-elect Angel Sims, VP of Events-elect Cameron Dobbins.
[Photos courtesy ofElizabeth Sturgeon]