Martin passing the gavel, Henderson ready to lead SGA
Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 30, 2012 22:04
After three years of service to PUC, SGA Student Body President Jessie Martin is graduating this May, leaving behind a legacy of accomplishments. The impression that Martin has left not only on the SGA, but on the campus as well as the students in which he served, will be one for the record books.
In 2009, after a period of hiatus for SGA due to lack of student interest and qualified participants, Martin joined the organization and became Vice President, alongside former Student Body President, David Ober. Since becoming President, Martin has worked to redevelop SGA from an un-organized student organization to an independent group of student leaders who not only handle complex issues, but who have gained trust and respect from students, faculty and administration.
“I think my personal goals were to make SGA sustainable, and ensure that it can continue through the years, kind of set it up, set up the structure and the processes. To ensure that people, no matter who it is, can come in and succeed, and at the same time build up that credibility with the faculty and the administration to see that we are a viable partner on campus and that we are serious about what we’re working on.”
A day in the life of an SGA President can be quite hectic, usually filled with meetings, busy schedules and sending or receiving many emails. Martin said that every day is different, rarely coming across the same routine. On top of class and homework, Martin said it is important to communicate.
“Most of the time I’m either coming from or going to a meeting, or responding to emails or sending out emails or initiating more meetings,” Martin said. “Besides the class schedules, you just have to find time for meetings, which on average are a couple per day.”
Before joining SGA, Martin said he generally liked to help people. He said he was asked to join by former SGA members who were looking for young college students who would be able to oversee the organization for a few years. Once Martin joined, he said he was “hooked.”
“I spent a lot of time on student government. I would have dedicated a little more time to my studies, but I don’t regret it at all,” Martin said. “I don’t even really think about it too much.”
Martin said the experience that students get out of the classroom from being involved with a student organization is a great opportunity to define oneself and grow as a person. He said not enough students realize what is available to them.
“Too many students go straight to class and then go home. There are many who don’t see the opportunities to do more on campus,” Martin said.
One of Martin’s last initiatives is the planning of a PUC Student Organization Council, where each student organization on campus can come together and solve campus issues as a group. “It offers the opportunity for collaboration, but it also respects the individuality of each organization, because we want to have it where any organization can have to ability to apply for funding to grow campus life,” Martin said.
Martin said he will miss the interactions with everyone on campus, but most of all, fellow members of the SGA.
“We’ve really developed and made a lot of strides. It’s a neat group and we’ve all made an effort to make student life better. I will miss just sitting in the office chatting with people who are on the same wave length as I am.”
Replacing Martin at the end of this semester is Sophomore Marisa Henderson, majoring in political science and foreign languages, Spanish with a minor in French. Henderson, of Valparaiso, works in the International Programs Office and has been linked to PUC since childhood. She went to the Riley Child Care Center as a young child, as her mother is Maria Luisa Garcia Verdugo, professor of Spanish and department head of Foreign Languages and Literatures.
The fall 2012 semester will be Henderson’s first active role in SGA. This semester, Henderson was a member of the non-SGA Allocation of Student Service Fee Committee. As Student Body President, Henderson would like to get students more involved in student activities and organizations and push for more multi-cultural relations on campus.
“I think that the main thing that I would like to do is to promote the awareness of the SGA to the students, and by doing that I think we would generate more issues to tackle,” Henderson said.
The International Programs Office is a major part for Henderson, as she was involved in Japanese club in high school and likes cultures and languages in general. Henderson believes that having international students at PUC is a benefit to other students on campus because they can learn about other cultures and learn from those relationships. With PUC having a tremendous variety of students, Henderson said the challenge will be reaching out and engaging with them and figuring out the needs of all students.