Student Government Association recruits voters

Students stationed at the voting table for SGA
Heather Hartline and Cody Chapman man the ‘Vote or Die’ booth for the Public and Civic Engagement Committee, bribing students with promises of Halo: Reach and intercollegiate “violence” in exchange for registering to vote. No one died.

Story By: Bret Moss

Staff Writer

This fall semester has now reached the quarter mark for Southeastern Oklahoma State University, and much has occurred since school resumed. For the Student Government Association, business is in full swing as well.

The SGA is the student body’s representation to the administration of the university and the voice of SE’s students on a statewide level.

After five meetings this semester, the SGA has been busy planning for a variety of events like Homecoming, as well as conducting two elections.

SGA meets at 6:30 p.m. each Thursday in the Frost Chambers of the Student Union, and these meetings are open to all students.

With Homecoming approaching, this event has been a major topic of discussion for SGA. The theme for the student body will be “Game On” this year. This theme will have the various student organizations take part in activities based

Student Registering to Vote for upcoming elections
SE student Lucas Perry, lured by Halo: Reach, is persuaded to register as a voter during Voter Registration Week.

on video games, board games and television game shows.

Homecoming events and sweeps will begin on Oct. 1 and continue until the parade on game day. Team packets are in, and teams are set for this year’s festivities. Homecoming Chair Matt Sitton said he and Vice Co-Chairs Jerrek McWilliams and Zac Pauls expect this year to be an exciting year.

SGA has also been busy with elections this semester. After two separate elections over the past few weeks, SGA added eight new members: Kalleigh Whitley, Alexis Canaday, Randy Dailey, Benjamin Fewell, Lyndsey Lamar, Nick McBrayer, Brenton Rucker and Kenzi Yarberry.

“I’m really happy to be a part of this,” said Lamar.

The first election took place Sept. 1-2 with 17 open seats for incoming senators. But due to low student participation, only four senators received enough votes for election. The SGA then called a special election which was held Sept. 8-9.

This year’s lineup of the Executive Student Senators include Matt Heggy as president, Paul Cabelus as vice-president, Demi Wilkerson as secretary, Zac Pauls and Ross Thomas as co-chairs of the Safety and Beautification Committee, and Matt Sitton and Heather Hartline as co- chairs of the Publicity and Civic Engagement committee.

Other senators who made up the pre-election senate included Cody Chapman, Jerreck McWilliams, Garret Shoemake.

One of the duties of SGA is to approve or decline student organizations’ applications for “recognized” status with the university. To maintain good standing, all organizations must demonstrate a benefit to the student body.

The following organizations have met that qualification: The Soccer Club, Native American Council, Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, the American Chemical Society, Baptist Collegiate Ministries, Chorvettes StageWorks Company, Residence Hall Association, Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Chi, Cardinal Key Honor Society, Black Student Association, Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority, Alpha Sigma Tau Fraternity, SE Cheer, Flight Team, Alpha Eta Rho, American Society of Safety Engineers, Catholic Student Association, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Honors Advisory Council, Interfraternity Council, Math Club, Paintball Club and Sigma Tau Gamma.

The Publicity and Civic Engagement Committee recently held several activities to help raise voter registration awareness in response to National Constitution Day on Sept. 17.

To encourage voter registration, a booth was set up outside the Student Union cafeteria where students could complete voter registration forms.

Presentations were made to freshman government classes about voter registration, and SGA also sponsored a video game tournament called “Vote or Die” to help encourage students to register. In order to participate in the competition, students had to present a voter registration card.

According to Heggy, well over 100 students have registered in response to the efforts, which exceeds the goal SGA was hoping to reach.

SGA has also been working to improve the looks of the campus. The Safety and Beautification Committee has begun formulating plans for an Adopt a Plot program. No permanent decisions have been made, but Pauls said the concept is that student organizations will “adopt” a piece of the Southeastern landscape and improve it for the benefit of all.

That same committee is also considering ways to improve the looks of the fountain. During the discussion of the fountain, Vice President of Student Affairs Sharon Robinson told the senators that there is currently a fund set up to accumulate money for renovation. Robinson said no university money will be allocated to this endeavor due to other, more important issues, but fundraising is taking place.

There are currently architect drawings the show what the future fountain and front lawn area could look like. This project has no completion date and will only be worked on as money is raised, but it is a step towards campus beautification.

Photos by Jerreck McWilliams