SGA Class of 2017 President Kelsea Johnson will be speaking at Commencement on May 20, 2017.
Johnson said, “I think this previous term was extremely successful. We had a lot of forward movement as an organization.”
SGA Faculty advisor Jana Lynn Patterson said, “This is the best senate I’ve had in many years.
“SGA has become the leader when this campus is ready to tackle difficult subjects.”
One way this leadership has been expressed is through the implementation of town halls, introduced during SGA’s spring 2017 term.
“The implementation of town halls this year is (SGA) saying that we’ve got to be the leader in that change,” Patterson said.
Town halls are meant to get students more involved in vocalizing their opinions to SGA without being overwhelmed by an intimidating setting, Johnson said.
“The idea was that once or twice a month, students had the opportunity to come in a totally informal setting and make their voices heard. Kicking that off was really key.
We had to start to take measures to get to know the student body better. I would say in terms of creating a stronger relationship with the student body, SGA did really well this past term, and town halls are one example of that,” Johnson said.
Johnson said that the One Phoenix campaign was also a deriving factor in SGA’s push for inclusivity this year.
“Elon students are very passionate, very involved individuals, but we realize that you associate yourselves with those cohorts you’re involved in, before you associate yourself with being a part of Elon as a whole.
We knew that students did want to feel more of a communal environment on campus, so it started as a campaign that could help create that sense of unity. The campaign itself encourages students to use the hashtag #OnePhoenix on social media. We have all these different passions and organizations, but in the end we are all one Elon community,” Johnson said.
“Kelsea and the rest of SGA have made more strides than I have seen to bring folks back to being one phoenix,” Patterson said.
“You don’t graduate as a member of ENN, you don’t graduate as a member of a fraternity or sorority, you graduate as someone from Elon University. And I think her legacy is pulling that together.”
Johnson hopes her legacy as senior class president will be remembered.
“I would hope people would remember that I really do care about others. I really do want to dedicate myself to making experiences better for other people. I hope this can be my legacy,” Johnson said.
The class of 2017 stands out to Johnson as a one of especially driven students.
“I think we are a class of very passionate and opinionated people, and in some cases during our four years that has created hard conversations.
“There have been issues that affect campus climate, I think it’s really cool that our class has not been afraid to speak up on our opinions and thoughts. We persevere really well,” Johnson said.
As far as the future of the class of 2017, Johnson is confident in their utmost success.
“We are a class of future leaders. There are a lot of changemakers in the class of 2017. I am so excited to see where our different socio intellectual strengths take us,” Johnson said.
Patterson said this term of SGA members has worked to revive the definition of leadership.
Patterson said, “SGA has to initiate that change. We can’t sit around and wait for something to happen. And that is a difference that has really become operationalized this year,” Patterson said.