BY STEWART COARD – STAFF WRITER
The Cento sat down with Kirby Fitzpatrick, president elect for the Student Government Association (SGA) in the 2017-2018 school year. We discussed her goals and vision for the school next year, as well as how she wanted the student body to be involved in new changes.
What are your top 3 goals for the next school year?
First, I would like to see SGA focus on wider-scale campus change with sustainability beyond water bottle filling stations and automatic lights. I plan on doing this by appointing an Ad Hoc Sustainability Chairman for the year that will correspond and collaborate with CEA and other environmentally-focused campus organizations to instill a change in campus culture.
Second, I want SGA to become more representative of the student body. Right now, SGA is predominantly Greek and predominantly white, which is an unfair representation of our campus. I want to try to increase the representation of different groups on campus by reaching out to various organizations (International Students, DSU, Bonner, Muslim Student Association, Grissom, Posse, etc.) and encourage these students to run for representative positions in the spring.
Third, I am excited to work toward improving the role of service in each Centre student’s career outside of the service organizations and the Greek community. I want to do this by increasing the responsibility of SGA, particularly the President and Secretary of Administration, to work on more collaborative service efforts throughout the school year. Regarding service, I also want to see SGA taking a more active role in service events that impact the entire Danville community, reducing the Centre bubble.
How do you see Centre being different from it is now when you graduate and leave office?
I envision Centre to be a more inclusive community than it is now. I think that in Centre’s most recent years we have idealized our community and not dealt with the many differences found across our campus. I would like to see Centre College make intentional efforts to have tough conversations among diverse groups of people to help us address our differences before they begin to divide us.
What do you view as your most important responsibilities as president?
I believe my most important responsibility as President is to be a facilitator, leader, and resource for important conversations between students, faculty, and staff. What I have valued most in each SGA President I have worked with in my three years at Centre is their guidance and inspiration that they give to the student body to make change on campus. The SGA President cannot make campus change happen by themselves – they need the support of SGA and the entire school to make things happen. I think it is my responsibility to inspire this excitement and dedication to campus change throughout the community.
What kind of support from the student body would you like for your goals?
In order for SGA to successfully serve the students, SGA needs the student body to be engaged and interested in SGA’s business during the entire year. Each year, it seems that election season sparks interest of students with outstanding ideas and concerns about student government, but this passion typically falls away after the results are announced. I encourage all students to keep up with their involvement in SGA throughout the entire year. Read the minutes on the SGA website, attend a General Session, email your class representative with suggestions. We need everyone to be involved to make SGA a success.
What do you view currently as the primary obstacles to your objectives as president?
Right now, I see my biggest obstacle toward my SGA projects being time. I think it is challenging for any SGA President and Executive Council to make impactful changes in just one year. However, I think that creating a strong Executive Council and creating a framework for my SGA vision that can be continued in the years to come will help me overcome this obstacle.
Speaking with Centre students, we heard about their hopes and expectations for the next year.
“I’m really looking forward to a student government that asks the students to be more involved in and aware of what is happening on campus. I feel like more engagement by students could really help Centre become a better Campus,” senior Allyson Weglar said. “Inclusivity is a big issue for Centre and I hope the new government can address that issue well.”
Junior Sam Winkleman also indicated that he is interested in improved representation in the Student Government. “Campus has become a lot more diverse over the past few years, so I’m really excited to see how the new leadership will create more opportunities for different kinds of students to get involved in SGA. We could benefit a lot from increased diversity,” he said.