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Q&A With SGA President Michelle Medina

Student+Government+President+Michelle+Medina+speaks+during+SGA+Senate+meeting+on+Oct.+30.+
Julian Perez
Student Government President Michelle Medina speaks during SGA Senate meeting on Oct. 30.

This fall, The Spectator will be interviewing all the student leaders of the “Big Six” organizations at CUC: the Student Government Association, Spiritual Life, the Campus Activities Board, the Latino Student Union, the Black Student Union, and the Student Athlete-Advisory Committee.

Senior Michelle Medina is the Student Government Association president for the 2023-2024 school year. Originally from Chicago, Medina is majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry. Medina is also active in the Campus Activities Board and the Latino Student Union. She is  an undergrad admissions ambassador and a mentor for Promotion of Underrepresented Minorities in Academic STEM.

Medina sat down with The Spectator and talked about her plans with the club this year. 

Spectator: What are some of your goals for the Student Government Association (SGA) this upcoming school year?

Medina: At the end of last year, we lost a lot of senators in our club so that’s our main priority right now is to try to build a solid SGA to have at least three people per committee. That way we are prepared. We have a lot of seniors graduating this year, or some are going to do internships throughout to make sure we’re in a good place. We also don’t have a speaker and we’re going to put that one off until the end because first, we want to have enough committee chairs and members, so that’s our first goal.

Our second goal is that we’ve been trying to create a better relationship between all the big six. In the past we’ve all been in our own business, trying to do our own thing and not necessarily communicating but this year so far we’ve been trying to help each other in numbers throughout the whole school.

My third goal is just trying to make a change. We always say this for SGA, but sometimes our changes aren’t always seen. We know the changes we have done — for example, revamping the cafeteria menu because of students having different allergies or religions — and we are trying to add more options for students.

So we try to be that liaison between the students and the staff. There’s other things that we do that many people don’t know of, but we’re just here for students.

What are some challenges that you are seeing so far?

We don’t have enough students as a whole, and financially there are a lot of issues that are occurring right now because of budget cuts. We have to figure out how we are going to still do everything that we usually do, like buying furniture, our ongoing project with feminine hygiene products in the bathroom, and other projects that many people loved last year, as well as having enough money to support other clubs. Another challenge is that our advisor, Samantha Seggerson, is helping not just our club but has taken on the role of helping other clubs like CAB and LSU. So now she is technically an advisor to three clubs due to the staffing shortage. We also don’t have enough student participation, so now we’re trying to make sure we have at least one SGA representative going to the different club events.

How are you planning for more student engagement on campus?

Typically the people you see in clubs are involved in more than one. We usually see the same faces. For example, I’m president of SGA, but I’m in LSU, I help out in CAB and attend most BSU events and I have been trying to show my support to other clubs but I always see the same people. So I wish that I could see new faces and new perspectives come to club events.

We planned a pop-up event in October that had a variety of things associated with the word pop, it was cute and fun to put our SGA name out there. I feel like students will always look at free food, free goodies, and free games in the Triangle, to attract new commuters and resident students. We have also been trying to recruit as much as we can at involvement fairs on campus, and we have a few names that we will reach out to see if they are still interested. 

After being a part of SGA for four years, what have you learned from past presidents?

Sometimes people don’t like your opinion. I remember sophomore year in SGA was a tough time. A lot of people thought we were a part of the problem that year, and because we were put in a tough position by the administration. So I learned that in SGA, you will be a part of those tough conversations. Because we do host our round tables where we put the administration in a panel, and have students come in and ask them questions. It puts them on the spot, because they are going to get questions they don’t like, and they are going to have answers that we, as the student body, also don’t like. So because we are that liaison, I learned that to be in SGA you have to have that tough mind, but also be mindful of what you say and be ready for anything. Especially since we are that bridge between students and administration. 

Why did you want to become SGA president?

I started at CUC online, and I immediately knew I wanted to be involved on campus. I’ve always been vice president or president of different clubs in the past so I said I would do the same thing in college. Freshman year I did a bunch of different video conference calls with different clubs and I became vice president of Latino Student Union my freshman year, my sophomore year I became president and I loved being a part of LSU  but after that, I felt there was nowhere else I could go with LSU and so I decided to do something different.

I became SGA vice president my junior year. To be on the SGA executive board you can’t be a part of any other executive boards so I knew I would have to focus on just SGA, and I stopped being LSU president and CAB secretary because I was a part of two different executive boards. I loved being VP of SGA. There were a lot of new things that I had to learn as well as a lot more networking than I did in the past. I also thought I would love to represent not only our Hispanics on campus but all students and I feel I provide a different voice than what we’ve had in the past. Plus everyone on campus this year had the option to vote, not just the members in the club. So I feel great that the students on campus got to choose who they want to represent them. I love that whenever someone needs something, they know that I will always be there to help. 

It was a difficult time for students and SGA during your sophomore year. Can you explain what happened, what did you learn during that time?

I was the committee chair of student outreach during my sophomore year at SGA. During this time there were a lot of problems with staff, professors, and coaches regarding racism or discrimination against students. In order to find a solution, we decided to do a town hall meeting in the Chapel where they asked SGA to be the liaison for administration. So SGA ran the meeting and because we ran it, it made it seem like we were siding with the administration. That’s when a lot more problems arose. I learned that there are going to be moments where we are going to be placed, where the student body won’t necessarily favor us. Which is why with different events, we want to paint a different picture, and I feel we have recently. I think students now realize that we want both parties to say their truths and to find a solution. We don’t want students to feel like they are not being heard. That’s also part of the reason we did a school-wide election, so that students can pick the person they want to represent them. 

 

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About the Contributors
Fatima Martinez, Reporter
Julian Perez, Photographer