ABAC’s Student Government Association is entering an era of new officers this semester, with the organization holding an election in only a few short weeks.
For those unfamiliar with the organization, SGA acts as a bridge between the concerns of ABAC’s student body and the school’s higher authorities with the power to address those concerns.
Current-SGA President Caleb Bagley described the organization as a “liaison … acting as a voice for all student concerns.”
Senator of Arts and Sciences Madison Newell seconded this perspective, “we want students to come to us with those problems because that’s what we’re here for,” she said.
“The main benefit is being of being in SGA,” she said, “is being able to serve our community while knowing that we’re part of a positive change, and we don’t want to just serve the community as a whole, but the individual student as well.”
Past examples of SGA’s influence can be seen in the walkways put up between the Alumni House, Lakeside, and the Horticulture Building, as well as their pushing for the finalized termination of a faculty member who had sexually harassed a student.
President Bagley stressed the importance of SGA in serving its target audience. He said, “We go to the students, and without SGA, I feel there would be a gridlock in getting things done in student life.”
SGA’s upcoming election follows the club’s finalizing of its new constitution, the tenants of which overhaul several positions, giving them new responsibilities while also creating a new officer position in the SGA Judiciary.
This new position will serve as a monitor for the organization, with the Judiciary being responsible for identifying any Senators not fulfilling their duties and relaying that information to the club’s advisor so the issue can be resolved.
SGA Senator Newell emphasized the importance of the position, “It’ll keep the student government in check so it can serve the needs of the school and its students,”
Additionally, a new SGA President will be chosen this election, with SGA Senators Brooke Vanzant and Taylor Hill currently running as the primary candidates.
The positions of President and Vice President, however, have also been altered this election cycle as candidates running for said positions will be elected through an electoral college system between both ABAC’s Tifton campus as well Bainbridge, with the number of votes being based on enrollment.
Senator Vanzant expressed high hopes for the upcoming election and SGA’s future in general. Vanzant said, “I hope next year’s team is willing to challenge themselves, and I’m excited to see how SGA grows next year because I feel this election, along with the changes in our constitution, have opened several new opportunities for SGA to serve ABAC’s students.”
She also encouraged students to get involved with SGA, highlighting how her own experience with the organization has allowed her to build a sizeable network while also granting her opportunities like traveling to Georgia’s capital to represent the school.
“I got involved last year after enjoying Student Council in High Council”, she said, “and when I got the position I did, it was a way for me to get out of my shell. Little did I know it would evolve into me running for President the very next year.”
President Bagley and Senator Newell offered similar sentiments, with the latter underlining how SGA is “an opportunity to meet other students and faculty members you never would’ve had the chance to meet otherwise.”
In his closing words, President Bagley provided a piece of insight garnered from his time in SGA, saying “You only have one chance to get involved at college. Don’t make the mistake of staying in your room letting life pass you by.”
“The opportunities that are available at ABAC are innumerable,” he continued, “they’re just waiting for students to take advantage of them.”