After a two-week campaign, rising senior Rachel McNabb and rising junior Joanna Adkisson were elected and inaugurated as SGA president and vice president. The Vision sat down with both of them and discussed why they decided to run, their plans for next year, and their reflections on past administrations.
Q: Why did you decide to run?
Rachel: I loved just meeting people and talking to people so when I came to Belmont I really found a core nice of service through SGA and I found this whole opportunities to talk with students and figure out what students wanted. I was really passionate about that. I think that seeing different, diverse student perspective and talking with different students and Bruin Recruiters and hearing what they have to say and hearing that some of them don’t even have SGA or don’t know what they do. That filled a lot of desire in me, along with Joanna being really passionate about a new change in Belmont. We never wanted it to be about anybody else other than Joanna and I. We wanted to run because we believed in each other and we believed in our own vision.
Q: What do you see changing next year?
Joanna: As far as Congress goes, the word of the year has been apathy. There is so much apathy within student government and the student population I believe as a whole. I kind of want to refuel that fire in Congress; not as us against the university, but as the university as a whole. We want to see partnership and support and conversation, and so within Congress, I desire to see more competiveness in positions of Congress and the seats that exist there. I also want to see representation all over campus. I think it’s so important that voices are coming from all these buildings.
Rachel: For me, senior leadership is looking for a broader set of student voices. They’re looking for a voice that’s coming from all over campus. When they see that intentionality, I think their heads are going to turn and they are going to be more apt to work with students. They do love students, I believe that. I believe they do want to work with students. I think that there’s been such a conversation gap for so long, that I think as soon as they see that, I think by creating that accountability, we will make student affairs and senior leadership’s heads turn, which makes them more apt to think what do students want.
Q: You referenced the success of the past two administrations a lot during your campaign. What will do similarly to those administrations and what do you want to do differently?
Rachel: DJ and Eric both have done an incredible job of building a relationship with senior leadership that has never been there before. They have been so intentional about talking with Dr. Fisher and hearing what they have to say and communicating that with students and back and forth. I think that has been what’s made student government stronger in the past two years. I think that the weakness through both of their administrations has been the lack of, and I hate to say this because it sounds so harsh, but the lack of intentionality when it comes to the foundations of student government itself. There’s a lot of work that has to be done within student government itself on an internal level before we are going to make their heads turn any more.
Q: What unique types of experience are you bringing into your offices?
Joanna: We come from very different schools than have ever been represented before. Our experience in different schools helps us bring a new perspective. I think that student government often gets sequestered into this one area of campus and that one area has a limited amount of ideas and possibilities. I think that coming from different areas, we bring a lot more opportunity for conversation that might not otherwise exist.
Rachel: I think that for a long time, student government has been a lot of the same. I think Joanna and I, even by the fact we are women, is something different. I think next year, with the things we wanted to accomplish, that’s what needed to happen. There needed to be something different. It’s just new, everywhere we look. I think that’s so exciting because Joanna and I have been involved in so many student organizations here on campus and to be able to bring those experiences and to bring those students as well.