As Belmont works to refocus the organization, Belmont’s Student Government Association announced its new adviser for the 2015-2016 school year.
Sara Stacy, the Assistant Director of Student Activities, previously served as the SGA adviser, and now Dr. Jeffery Burgin, the Associate Provost and Dean of Students, will advise the organization.
“I look forward to the success of the student leaders in representing the student body, working with employees of the university to make Belmont a better institution,” said Burgin.
Student Engagement and Leadership Development had been discussing the change in adviser for over a year, and student growth played a factor in ensuring that the staff could serve students most effectively, Burgin said.
Originally, SELD planned for Neil Jamerson to take over the role as SGA adviser, but he will not return to Belmont next year. So, Burgin will serve as “interim” until the committee decides “on the best case scenario,” Burgin said.
Burgin has experience advising SGAs and other student organizations including fraternities, sororities and multicultural organizations. He was also the SGA president at the University of Cincinnati approximately 20 years ago, he said.
With this unique combination of both personal SGA experience as a student and an administrator, Burgin is ready to work with SGA President Jonathan Rankin and Vice President Jade Cooper, he said.
“I am excited for the opportunity Jonathan, Jade and the rest of the SGA representatives have to serve. Our discussions centered on cohesion and evaluation to optimize the strength of the organization to serve.”
Burgin, Rankin and Cooper met in March to discuss the change in advisers and briefly talk about their plans for SGA.
“It’s going to be a positive thing. I’m very thankful for everything Sara Stacy has done and all the time she has given us, but I’m just excited for Dr. Burgin to join us next year,” Cooper said.
Burgin seems ready to take on the role of mentor and guide while letting SGA have the freedom to make decisions on behalf of the student body, Cooper said.
Rankin also noted that Burgin plans to advise with a more “backseat approach” in working with SGA, and expects a good balance of input and freedom in the future, he said.
“I’m very excited to be being advised by Dr. Burgin,” Rankin said. “We both share the mentality that doing things because that was the way it was done in the past is not a good reason for doing anything. So, we’re both very open minded to change, and we’ll have a very good relationship going forward.”
Burgin echoed Rankin’s desire for a fresh start for the 2015-2016 school year.
“Every organization pauses or should pause and evaluate where it has been and is going,” he said. “SGA has reached that point and is excited to build upon the work of previous student administrations to enhance the student experience.”