2015-2016 SGA President Has High Expectations

Matthew Whitaker

2015-2016 SGA President Has High Expectations
Whitaker’s daring personality landed him in a dream position
By Brian Cook, NSU Mass Communications

Who knows what it takes to run and lead a campus? Who knows how stressful, time consuming or about all the extra work that has to be put in to make things go right? Countless meetings, endless handshaking… daring opportunities.

“Getting involved was one of the best things that ever happened to me,” Northwestern State University Student Government Association President Matthew Whitaker said.

With hard work and dedication, Whitaker is eager to take on roles and fill shoes he thought he’d never fill before.

“I joined Student Government Association because I liked being able to talk to people, it brought me out of my shell,” he said. “I talk and build relationships with people that I wouldn’t have if I didn’t join this organization.”

SGA adviser Shayne Creppel said he views SGA as “a laboratory where students can learn how to be civically engaged.” Meaning, by the time those members graduate, they will be active and well informed on how to run things, as SGA helps develops skills over time.

“These organizations should be student driven,” Creppel said. “The best way for students to develop is to dive head first into these activities to really learn how things work and to learn from mistakes when things don’t go as planned. College is supposed to be a time where you can screw up a few times while learning from it before you go out into the ‘real world’.”

Composed of a full senate this year (36 members), Whitaker has picked a team that will not only excel internally but help the school excel also.

“Some of our goals for 2015-2016 are to enhance the spirit and morale of NSU by creating different events that will promote growth for every organization,” Vice President Chantasia Grasty said. “We will also inform students of the different financial avenues that SGA offers, such as the Organizational Relief Fund, SGA Grants and Student Loans. Lastly, we want to make sure students know that we are here to help and that you should never be nervous to come and talk to anyone in the SGA Office.”

High Expectations

Whitaker’s high expectations alongside his daring personality are what makes him fit for the job.

“I have plans on separating the ‘divisions’ that are among the campus,” Whitaker said. “I’m pushing for a more diverse campus and for people to intermingle with different groups.”

Whitaker was officially sworn in as president on April 27, during SGA’s Annual Inaugural Banquet, but has been hitting the streets among campus and talking with students to see what they want way before that.

“One thing I look forward to most is making the students happy,” Whitaker said. “I’m working for them, so whatever they want, they’ll get. I just want to make positive changes on campus and leave a long-lasting impression on not only the university, but the faculty, staff and students.”

Whether it’s positive or negative, he just wants to make sure that every student knows what SGA is, what it offers and what SGA can help do for both you and the school.

“I think he will be an incredibly capable president,” Creppel said. “His goals for his term are fantastic and I think will go a long way in raising the sense of pride on the campus as well as improve campus life for students. We have had a string of very effective student body presidents in recent years and I am glad to see that continuing.”

A Daring Demon

Whitaker, a junior psychology major from Winnfield refers to himself as a “shy individual,” but said his energy and positive vibe is what helps him quickly warm up to people. Before being elected president, Whitaker has held other leadership roles in various organizations. Being president may be the biggest role he has had, but it certainly isn’t the first.

Whitaker has held roles such as vice president for Fresh Campus, recruitment Oofficer for Pi Kappa Alpha, Blue Key Honor Society, Psi Chi Honor Society, Freshman Connector, SGA Speaker of the Senate and Student Activity Board representative at large. He was also voted on NSUs Homecoming Honor Court and as PIKE Man of the Year. Whitaker was recently chosen by his peers, as NSUs Greek Man of the Year.

From monthly meetings with the president to weekly meetings with his cabinet, Whitaker is daring to do more while pushing for a better and more well rounded university.

SGA is the voice of the school and is open to any student who wants to join. Meetings take place on Mondays at 6 p.m. in the President’s Room. With a maximum of 36 people, elections to be on Senate are held at the beginning of each academic semester. The SGA oversees student fees and makes sure they are spent in accordance with how they were intended and considers periodic adjustments to fees.