Second time seems to be the charm for SGA president-elect Jim Darter.
After running for SGA President and losing to the Rachel McNabb/Joanna Adkisson ticket last year, the accounting and management double major was back at the top of the Presidential ticket this spring for another run for SGA leadership.
This election, he and his running mate, sophomore Sarah Currey, were the only students on the ballot. They officially won this spring’s election in late March, and will be sworn in in April to begin their new terms.
After spending the past school year as the McNabb administration’s director of campus communication, Darter feels the extra year in SGA leadership has him better prepared for the top role.
“That was a great experience for me, very humbling. I think it kind of really challenged me to hone in on what I was really passionate about and why I wanted to do student government,” he said. “All things aside, my passion is making Belmont a better place, and building community here and caring for the people here.”
When sworn in, Darter wants one of his administration’s primary focuses to be communication, especially between SGA and the student body.
“To be an effective governance and advocacy organization, we need to have a relationship with students,” he said. “It’s a lot harder to engage the student body when they don’t know what we do or what we can do. It starts with having more conversations with just students out on campus.”
Ideally, Darter wants SGA to be the pivot point for discussions between administration and the student body, especially with the role student government has recently taken with the development of new student dining options, the 24/5 library plan, and the planned Wedgewood Building.
“Our ability to work with administrators about where Belmont’s going, and even to fight for students, comes from the student body’s voice in that. That is our leverage,” he said.
Darter sees the potential for this leverage to enhance students’ engagement in the future of the university, whether with topics like new buildings or dining plans.
“I think now more than ever, senior leadership is in a place where we are ready to listen and are excited for doing things for students. That’s exciting for us,” he said.
As vice president, Currey will be primarily in charge of SGA Congress. During her term, she hopes to build on the internal structure set by the previous administration, and wants Congress to be more active in the campus community next year.
“I would love for the Congress members, if they are not involved in very many things, to jump into another student organization they might not know anything about,” she said.
Greater congressional diversity among different majors and student groups is a major goal both see for Congress.
“I want to grow on that. It would nice to have some music students, maybe, on Congress,” Curey said.
A major electoral change will also occur in April, as the majority of SGA Congress will be elected before the new semester. Both Darter and Currey are optimistic the April Congressional elections will allow the body to organize earlier and hit the ground running in the fall.
“Having an April election, one allows us as cabinet to engage Congress over the summer and get them moving,” Darter said.