(Pornchai Chantha Facebook campaign page)
Every fall, five freshman join the SGA senate table with a plan to leave their mark on Mercer.
This year’s class president is Alexandra Kirschbaum, the only girl of the freshman senator set. She was class president for three years in high school and said that she is going to work hard to reach out to her classmates.
“The only way to build a community is to establish bonds with the people, who live in them. In addition to my ‘required’ SGA duties, I plan on thinking of ways to bring the freshmen class together,” she said. “It will be a challenge, considering there are eight times the amount of people in this class than there were from my high school, but I will give it all I have in hopes to build up our community.”
And Kirschbaum doesn’t seem to do things halfway. At one point, she “baked all 94 students in [her] class brownies on the last Friday of every month,” she said in her campaign page on Facebook. “Just because I love sugar, and they definitely deserved it,” she said.
Pornchai Chantha is also all about reaching out to other students. He has experience with several different kinds of outreach and community service, including everything from mentoring to working with Mostly Mutts Rescue in Atlanta.
Chantha said he’s “really personable” and wants to use that skill to benefit the student body.
“I hope I can help reach out to more people and be a good bridge between what goes on behind the scenes and what the students want,” he said.
Like a lot of the freshman class right now, Chantha said that he’s working on time management, which includes finding time to talk to his family.
“We text everyday, but I prefer calls,” Chantha said.
Chantha and Kirschbaum won’t be the only ones drawing on social ability to keep students in the loop. Jesus Robinson said he’s also hoping to use the social skills he developed in high school to make everyone feel included.
“I hope to establish a strong rancor with the freshman class and to keep them involved in things going around on campus,” he said. “It really helps students to feel a sense of belonging.”
A common theme among the new senators is the desire to cultivate the feeling of welcome and familiarity on campus. But some senators found that connection long before they were bears.
“Being from Macon, I met a lot of students through other students I went to high school with,” Spencer Williams said. “They had a big impact on my decision making. Timothy Lewis, Jane Gibson, and John Mitchell really took me in and showed me what Mercer had to offer.”
Williams said that Lewis had a big part in making him want to join SGA.
Cole Porter is also relatively local, but a little farther down I-16. He’s from Dublin and named Joey Wozniak (former SGA President and Dublin native) as one the people that has impacted him the most since being at Mercer.
Porter worked with civic organizations like the Dublin Downtown Development Authority in the past, according to his campaign event. He said that work has led to a passion for community development, and said that he is working with this year’s External Relations Committee to expand on that passion even more.
“Currently, we are working with business owners to foster relations between their businesses and Mercer students. Shopping local is important to Macon, and we want our habits as students to reflect our respect of that importance,” he said.
Porter has some ideas he’d like to see play out in the future, too.
“One thing I would like to see is Mercer’s art students working together with groups like Macon Arts Alliance to showcase Mercer Art exhibits around the city,” he said.