SG’s Council of Presidents begins, but its future is not set in stone

Shaquille Kent hopes to add the Council of Presidents to Student Government statutes. ORACLE FILE PHOTO.

The new Student Government (SG) club, Council of Presidents, had its introductory meeting  Jan. 14 in the Marshall Student Center. Shaquille Kent, student body vice president, created the club to start a conversation between SG and student organizations.

It is up to the student club presidents, however, on whether the first meeting will be its last.

Advertised on SG’s social media as: “Where leaders make a difference. You speak, we listen!”

Campuswide presidents had the opportunity to attend the meeting to address initiative ideas, suggestions for SG and, if they wanted to move forward with the club.

Kent had the introductory meeting to ensure that the club was a unanimous decision that student organizations would utilize. Madison Masterson, president of Bulls Against Bullying, said she believes the club will not only benefit presidents, but the student body as well.

“With 50,000 plus students, it is hard to directly send out a message,” Masterson said. “At least the information could be shared to presidents and it could be relayed to the general student body.”

After being president of Bulls Against Bullying or three years and in Student Government for the past year, Masterson said her ties with SG helped her communicate and relay information to her organization. Bulls Against Bullying currently has 310 members and $4,666 in fiscal spending for 2018-2019.

Masterson said there have been issues with marketing and funding distributions that could be addressed with SG. She said presidents could learn strategies to advertise their clubs and understand the fiscal allocations they are receiving.

Since there are over 600 registered student organizations, Kent voiced previous concerns about finding a location to adequately accommodate the size. The introductory meeting was held in the 2,320-square-foot Hillsborough Room on the second floor of the MSC. The room has the capacity to hold 159 students.

Masterson said she doesn't think the number of student organizations will be a consequence for the club. With the diverse priorities presidents have for their organizations, Masterson said it is unlikely that nearly 600 presidents will be present for each meeting.

The meetings would happen over the course of two days: cultural clubs for one and the remaining organizations for the second, according to Kent.

Kent originally planned to have an introductory forum in November. However, due to time constraints and scheduling, he said he could not solidify a date in the fall semester. Kent planned to add the club into SG statutes but he said he does not think it will be feasible in the near future because SG is entering election season.

“I can’t say for sure that it will be implemented within the statutes,” Kent said in an email to The Oracle. “I do foresee that if attendance is high and engagement is there it would definitely make sense to see it continue in the future.”

Masterson said the club would provide her and other presidents networking opportunities. Most organizations tend to have a communication barrier since they stay in their bubbles and don't worry about the other organizations that they could be working with, according to Masterson.   

Kent said he hopes to build a relationship with student organizations by sharing initiative ideas and creating an open forum.

“The end goal for this council of presidents is to showcase to these leaders what (SG) has been working on and help them to better understand how we work in the hope that they are able to share it with their members and better answer any questions they may have with regards to SG,” Kent said.