SGA swears in student President and Senators in new initiation hosted by President Anderson

On Monday, January 23, Student Government Association hosted the inauguration of the 2017 student government.

This is the first year that SGA has held a formal inauguration ceremony. Jamie Thompson, advisor to SGA, believes it will set the tone for the work to come.

“I’ve been co-advising student government for five years now, and I haven’t been a part of something like this before, so it’s pretty exciting to see that the new group is interested in both promoting the work that they’re doing and kind of establishing some pomp and circumstance around it, which I think helps to set the tone for some of the work that they’ll be doing for the year,” Thompson said.

Nick Santulli, SGA president, decided to host an official inauguration ceremony as a means to inspire confidence in this year’s officers.

“I was hoping that having an official inauguration would provide some positive reinforcement to all the incoming officers by showing that SGA matters and that its role on campus matters and is valued by the campus community.

I think it really outlines what the role of SGA is, because I think a lot of people don’t really know what SGA is, why it exists or what its official function is. So I think it’s a good way of educating the public about the function SGA serves and how they can benefit from engaging with it,” Santulli said.

Sheryl Tynes, vice president for Student Life, opened the ceremony, and President Danny Anderson officiated the oaths of office.

“I think it lends some legitimacy to SGA, having the university president there. And I really appreciate him taking the time out of his day to be there because he has a really chaotic schedule, so that meant a lot to everybody there,” Santulli said.

The inauguration ceremony provided an outlet to promote SGA’s credibility with the campus community.

“For the campus community, for those that aren’t senators or officers, it’s a way of establishing credibility, a way to say, we’re legitimate, we’re real, there are big things that are happening here and we take our roles seriously, so much so that we’re going to have this swearing-in ceremony,” Thompson said.

Stephanie Ackerman, co-advisor for SGA and former SGA president herself, believes having senators’ peers present to witness their oath of office creates a sense of accountability.

“I do believe having a formal inauguration ceremony impacts the way student leaders view their role as an organization. Not only does it provide a significant moment of pride for their organization, it also represents a commitment to the organization. It also aides to hold students accountable. When students’ peers are witnessing them take an oath to responsibly represent the organization, I believe they’re more likely to uphold these said responsibilities. It is a declaration of the student’s intentions as a member chosen by their peers to advocate for the student body,” Ackerman said.

Juan Luevanos, first-year senator, feels that the inauguration helped to make the responsibilities of being a senator more tangible and authentic.

“It brings up accountability. It’s really having that responsibility placed on you and having that oath to emphasize the responsibility that we have to uphold. Having that formal setting emphasizes that responsibility of representing 600 different people with 600 views of where SGA should be going,” Luevanos said.

For anyone serving on SGA for the first time, this ceremony demonstrates the seriousness of the responsibilities they are expected to uphold.

“I think, if I were to put myself in the shoes of a first year senator, or really anyone who’s serving for the first time, I think it sends a message that this is serious. Dr. Anderson will be present, and I think that helps to set the tone of, ‘I’ve been elected by my peers to do something, and to do something pretty significant.’ So there is a certain level of responsibility that rests on the shoulders of the senators, and I think the swearing in ceremony kind of underscores that level of responsibility that they each hold,” Thompson said.