The new leaders of the Fairmont State University Student Government Association want students to know that they have a voice in campus life and SGA is committed to making that voice heard.
James Jesmer of Bridgeport, a senior Architecture major, was elected as the new SGA President this spring. He is the son of Mark and Anita Jesmer and is a 2013 graduate of Bridgeport High School. He is a Charles J. McClain Scholar, as well as a member of the Honors Program and the Fairmont State Chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students. This spring he was awarded a scholarship from WV-AIA as the winner of the West Virginia Society of Architects Student Design Competition for his concept for a History Center for Fairmont. This summer he will be a resident assistant for the Governor’s Honors Academy. Jesmer works in the campus Office of Counseling and Disability Services.
Makenzie McClure of Charleston, a senior Secondary Education English major and Spanish minor, was elected as the new SGA Vice President. She is the daughter of Matthew McClure and Kimberly Pierce and is a 2013 graduate of Teays Valley Christian School. She is a member of the Honors Program, Chi Alpha and Sigma Tau Delta and was awarded the Mary Esther and Dr. Byron Jackson Scholarship this spring. She works for the Boys and Girls Club as a sixth grade teacher.
“These two students were very active members in SGA and student life before running for President and Vice President. They’re carrying on their tradition of service and engagement in their new leadership roles and have done an excellent job so far. I’m excited to see what changes and involvement in the community and on campus they have planned for the 2016-2017 academic year,” said Meagan Gibson, SGA advisor.
This month, both students attended the West Virginia Student Leadership Conference. In August, they will attend the American Student Government Association.
“Coming from a smaller Christian school, FSU was a good fit because of its size, and I love the community that we’ve built on campus through Chi Alpha. I have gotten to know all of my English professors and they are awesome. I love Dr. Elizabeth Savage and Dr. Jim Matthews. I have just found it very easy to get involved here,” McClure said.
Jesmer said he chose FSU because it was close to home and the only college or university in the state to have his Architecture major.
“My first plan my freshman year was to not do anything because I had been really involved in high school, and I was worried I was not going to be able to keep up my grades coming to college,” he said. However, he became the Honors representative for Student Government and kept branching out from there.
“I joined the Architecture student organization and became a leader in that. I got involved probably in every possible way I could for my major,” Jesmer said.
The two student leaders have several SGA initiatives in the works for the coming academic year to benefit students.
“My main goal for the year is uniting the student organizations a little better,” Jesmer said. “I am working with Director of Student Activities Jackie Inskeep to co-sponsor a Student Leadership weekend in the fall. That weekend is going to serve as leadership training for specific student leadership positions. If students can become better leaders, hopefully they can grow their organizations. If we have more students involved and engaged, then there will be less student apathy. It will be a slow process, but I think this might be the starting catalyst.”
McClure added that the weekend event would help break down isolation between the student organizations. “All the leaders of the organizations will know each other, and if we want to co-sponsor activities that we want to do on campus we can do that,” she said.
McClure’s main goal for the upcoming year is to champion the revival of the Student Organization Cup.
“We are ironing out the details. The cup used to be awarded to a student organization based on a point system. If you showed up to student activities, you would get points that would go toward the cup. Battling student apathy is our biggest thing. We are trying to get everyone involved as much as we can. The cup competition would culminate in a week of activities like Greek Week in the spring for all student organizations, not just fraternities and sororities,” she said.
Jesmer added that he hopes SGA will continue to foster the sense of community that already exists on campus and will help it grow.
Other planned initiatives for the fall include:
- Exploring food options in the Falcon Center.
- Expanding community service activities.
- Selecting a senior class campaign project and fundraising for that project.
- Sponsoring sexual assault and sexual violence awareness programming.
- Increasing awareness of the Nest Student Food Bank and changing the stigma associated with receiving donated items.
- Encouraging more students to engage with downtown Fairmont.
- Hosting town hall meetings with students in the residence halls.