Student Government plans to increase visibility, instill pride
As a new school year begins at the University of West Florida, a new Student Government has the task of earning the trust of the students it represents, as well as being a voice to UWF President Judith Bense and her board of trustees. As president of SGA, Josh Finley is responsible for these obligations, as well as serving as head of various student committees, scheduling and presiding over SGA executive meetings, providing support to other officers and finally, being a student himself with a full-time class load.
“It can be demanding,” said Finley. “There isn’t a line between Josh Finley the president and Josh Finley the student. I’m always SGA president and my behavior on and off campus needs to reflect that.”
This new level of accountability and leadership is one of the many values that Finley hopes to instill in the other members of SGA.
“In order for us to accurately represent the student body on campus, we need to be trustworthy and earn the respect of the students we’re representing,” Finley said.
“If we don’t behave ourselves and exhibit professionalism, we’re not going to be successful getting students what they want.”
This year, he has a plan to discover exactly what students would like to see from SGA.
“Every member of the executive committee is expected to survey 100 students to see what they want accomplished this year,” Finley stated. “We need to have an intimate knowledge of what students expect so that we can deliver.”
In addition to becoming further acquainted with their fellow students, Finley has suggested that members of SGA join various leadership boards across campus in order to understand the other end of the university spectrum: those in charge of making decisions.
SGA’s goals for this year include greater inclusion of international and graduate students, an increased visibility of SGA to students, a raised level of awareness about campus events and to help foster a sense of school spirit.
“It can be difficult to instill school spirit because of the lack of a football team,” Finley admitted, “but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. We are hosting various events throughout the year, including pep rallies, T-shirt swaps and campus concerts.”
Finley has requested that no members of SGA or faculty and staff at the school wear other university’s memorabilia. He has offered to give free UWF T-shirts to those willing to discard other collegiate shirts.
SGA’s plans for the year can best be summed up by the values all the members agreed upon. These include Visibility, Pride, Integrity, Accountability and Unity.
“By adhering to these, a great school year of positive growth is inevitable,” said Finley.