Quentin R. Johnson: Working with our first college-wide SGA
Published 12:00 pm Friday, December 15, 2023
During my college years, I served on the Student Activities Board, an organization that worked closely with the institution’s Student Government Association (SGA) to help plan and fund student organizations and events. Learning about planning, scheduling, and hosting student activities gave me a strong sense of accomplishment. I felt like I was really making a difference, and these leadership experiences helped shape my interests in beginning a career in higher education. Because this involvement was so important to me, I was excited when we elected our first college-wide SGA at Southside Virginia Community College this past semester.
According to Dr. Daryl Minus, our Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Success, “The SGA will be an important focal point for ensuring that the student voice is heard in ways that can inform college policy and procedures and influence the quality and availability of learning opportunities, programs, and services at SVCC. Participating students will develop leadership and advocacy skills, gain access to state-wide leadership development opportunities, and gain valuable resume-building experience that can benefit their future careers.”
SVCC’s Student Experience Coordinator, Vondrenna Smithers, serves as advisor to the SGA. She explains its four key initiatives: 1) fostering transparent communication on student matters; 2) actively engaging in the College’s shared governance; 3) encouraging student involvement in college activities; and 4) cultivating a strong sense of school spirit, which we call Panther Pride.
Ms. Smithers reports, “Our current SGA consists of six great student leaders. Four of them hold SGA Executive Board roles. These are President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. The other two serve as senators for the online community.”
Shalita Corley, SGA President, says she was honored to be elected. The accomplishment was well deserved. After an interruption in her academic journey, she resumed her studies at SVCC. “Returning to school showed my children that no matter how far you go in life, it is never too late to start or restart something that you once had a passion for. I feel like I cannot tell them how important getting an education is, if I never push for it myself.”
Ms. Corley is on track to graduate in May 2024 with an AAS degree in Administrative Support Technology: Medical Office Specialization. She plans to pursue additional studies in nursing with the dream of becoming a Nurse Midwife.
Regarding her position as SGA president, she notes, “We have an awesome SGA group, and we are excited to lay down some good roots for those to follow us.” She wants her fellow students to know that the SGA will make sure the students are being heard. “We are trying to create the best possible experience while being a SVCC student.”
Ms. Corley advises others, “To be successful in whatever that you choose to do, you need a good foundation. At SVCC you can build that foundation with well-rounded educators, an awesome team of advisors who will help you with anything in their power to help you with, and a slew of other cheerleaders, cheering you on to do your absolute best.”
SVCC’s SGA provides students an opportunity to shape what happens at the college. Its members serve as leaders, mentors, and role models. They give voice to the student body, and in the process, they will discover new passions and directions for themselves.
Dr. Quentin R. Johnson is president of Southside Virginia Community College. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.