By Selah Vetter
Several newly-elected SGA leaders are sharing their plans for the upcoming semester.
Heath Padgett, who elected Samford’s new SGA president, said this role means much more to him than simply being a new position. Padgett said it’s a way to be an advocate for Samford University’s student body.
“I decided to run for SGA president so that I can build on my previous SGA experience and deepen my relationships in order to continually refine the Samford experience,” Padgett said.
The newly elected SGA Student Executive Board Members, announced on Tuesday, March 26 to the student body also included: Hope Dawson, who was elected vice president for Senate; Claudia Stephens, elected vice president for Events; and Hannah Pellicer, elected vice president for Development.
Following a series of campaigns and after promoting their platforms last month, students took to the polls to elect SGA candidates. With campaign season now over, the elected SGA leaders are putting their plans into action. Padgett said he is prioritizing student wellbeing on campus by focusing on relationships between the student body and Samford University’s administration. This is Padgett’s top priority as SGA president.
“The success of anything SGA does lies in the connection that SGA has both with students and the administration. These connections could be through personal relationships, SGA events and programs that engage the student body, or streamlined methods for students to voice concerns directly to their SGA representatives,” Padgett said.
Vice President Dawson also hopes to improve student life by informing the student body about SGA decisions.
“I would love to table on Ben Brown, having senators ready to discuss issues and answer questions. I would also like to continue hosting town halls so that students can hear more straight from faculty, staff and the administration instead of having to go through a third party,” Dawson said.
Padgett’s first plan as SGA president is to establish a program called Converge. Padgett hopes that Converge can be a program where students with differing perspectives can meet for casual conversations. Converge would serve as a model to students for civil discourse.
“The aim is not to debate nor even agree on anything but simply to better understand our differences and to gain a better appreciation as to why someone would think differently than ourselves,” Padgett said.
Padgett additionally wants to advocate raising the bar for campus life. This includes promoting unity, improving meal plans, providing better student spaces, ADA access and implementing the Samford Honor Code.
“My goal for the Samford student body is to raise the bar for campus life, honor, and unity,” Padgett said.
Dawson plans to advocate for better campus life as well. She hopes to appoint experienced, committed senators for more effective committees on campus.
“Seeing how senators can make a difference for those in their classes and schools has been an amazing experience. I want to make an impact on our campus and help others do the same,” Dawson said.