Student Government Association Dreams Big

by Mechell McCrary

Posted on Feb 04, 2022

The letters SGA are more than just another acronym. For many colleges and universities, these three letters often represent some of the institutions' best and brightest students. The Student Government Association (SGA) is a group of student leaders who represent the student body. Their objective is to work with the university's administration to be the voice of the students. Consequently, student government is an important part of campus life.

SGA leaders across the country frequently contend with critically important issues facing their schools including campus safety, mental health awareness, and student recruitment to name a few. The members of SGA at Fort Valley State University (FVSU) are well-prepared and motivated to address issues like these and more. Dubbed the D.R.E.A.M team, led by Garren M. Walker, a senior history major from Monroe, Georgia, the administration says its members are dedicated to being dependable, revitalizing, ethical, accessible, and monumental. "We're all dreamers, with big ideas and aspirations for ourselves, our school, and our fellow Wildcats. Just like the 1992 United States Olympic Men's Basketball team, we get the job done," said the administration members in a group statement.

Rounding out the D.R.E.A.M team are members: Kyle Jorel Frett, a senior Veterinary Science and Technology major from the British Virgin Islands; Aniyah Ragland, a junior Biology major from Atlanta, GA; Darriel Anderson, a junior Social Work major from Atlanta, GA; Anthony Washington, a junior Criminal Justice major from Miami, FL and Thomaya Brown, a junior Mathematics major from Warner Robins, GA.

At most universities, the members of the SGA are elected by their peers. When asked why he decided to run for SGA President at FVSU, Walker says, he felt that it was his mission. "I decided to run for SGA President because I felt that it was my call to better serve my university. I have served in several capacities since my arrival to Fort Valley State University in 2018 and I couldn't find a better way to end my undergraduate career," Walker said.

Being a servant-leader for others seems to be a trend among these young intellectuals. SGA Chief of Staff leader, Imani Herbert expressed how she has always wanted to make a change on campus. "Joining SGA has brought me closer to those changes, by giving me a voice for not only myself but the student body," said Herbert.

As hot button topics such as mental health awareness and race relations have shaken up campuses across the country more than ever during the last few years, student leaders now require more access to high-ranking administrators. One very prominent issue that has cast a shadow around college campuses and across the world is the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has been a very grueling experience for students. Dion Goodwin, SGA's senator, said that the only way he was able to make it through the beginning of the pandemic was by pacing himself. "I took breaks when needed, and I set a weekly schedule I would stick by to maintain my peace," says Goodwin.

The pandemic has created many discussions and great debates on the matter of vaccinations. Vaccination hesitancy became a concern across the campus and Fort Valley, Georgia community. While FVSU cannot require students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated, the SGA has committed to doing its part to help keep the campus safe from the spread of the virus.

"Being that all six of us are fully vaccinated, we have a strong stance on the importance of being vaccinated and following the precautions to keep us safe throughout the semester. Our generation is always on the go, and we tend to forget what's going on around us and how it can affect others. However, students are reluctant because of some negative effects plastered in the media leading them to see the bad and not consider the good as well," said the D.R.E.A.M team.

The pandemic combined with their daily responsibilities, keeps members of SGA constantly on their toes. Goodwin says he believes one of the most pressing issues that college students will have to endure is "ňúlife after COVID.' He said the halt of internships, programs, and scholarships during the pandemic can be detrimental to students.

No matter what comes their way, the D.R.E.A.M team is up for the challenge. "As SGA President, my administration and I will work toward three main goals this year which is to promote inclusivity and outreach across all communities, bridge the gap between students, faculty, and staff, and foster substantial relationships with alumni," said Walker.

See this story and others in the latest edition of the FVSU Magazine.

(Front Row L to R): Aniyah Ragland, Executive Secretary; Garren Walker, SGA President; and Thomaya Brown, Business Manager (Back Row L to R): Kyle Jorel Frett, Vice President; Anthony Washington, Chief Justice; and Darriel Anderson, Legislative Secretary

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