Student government gears up for the year ahead

Vice+President+Michaela+Jones+%28left%29+and+President+Adam+Penland+%28right%29+of+the+Student+Government+Association+%28SGA%29+plan+to+strengthen+mental+health+services+and+communication+between+the+student+body+and+SGA.
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Student government gears up for the year ahead

Vice President Michaela Jones (left) and President Adam Penland (right) of the Student Government Association (SGA) plan to strengthen mental health services and communication between the student body and SGA.

Vice President Michaela Jones (left) and President Adam Penland (right) of the Student Government Association (SGA) plan to strengthen mental health services and communication between the student body and SGA.

Jen Jones

Vice President Michaela Jones (left) and President Adam Penland (right) of the Student Government Association (SGA) plan to strengthen mental health services and communication between the student body and SGA.

Jen Jones

Jen Jones

Vice President Michaela Jones (left) and President Adam Penland (right) of the Student Government Association (SGA) plan to strengthen mental health services and communication between the student body and SGA.

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This year will be Mercer senior Adam Penland’s second time serving as the president of the Student Government Association (SGA). Before that, he served as the freshmen and sophomore class president. 

“I learned that no administration is the same,” he said. “Even that will be true with mine…it will be different my second time.” 

As he embarks on his fourth and final year at the helm of SGA, Penland will work alongside newly elected Vice President Michaela Jones, also a senior. The pair said they want this term to have an emphasis on promoting mental health awareness and resources on campus, such as the Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) office. 

“Michaela and I are working on improving mental health awareness, mental health initiatives around campus for positive mental health, because that’s such a big deal,” Penland said. “We’re going to be working with CAPS very closely.”

Penland said that especially for new students, mental health resources are critical. He said that SGA plans to form a stronger partnership with CAPS so that both organizations can help one another with their initiatives and ideas.

“We want this to be a home for freshmen,” he said. “We know that can be really hard sometimes when you’re battling with homesickness or depression.”

As a president, one personal goal Penland has for this year is to make connections with SGA newcomers.

“I’m gonna try my best to do more one-on-one time with newer senators and younger senators,” he said. “I want to mentor them and help them get ready, because eventually one of them will be SGA president.”

Vice President Jones is no stranger to Mercer’s SGA, having worked as a class senator since her sophomore year. As she prepares to assume her new leadership position, Jones said she looks forward to continuing the work she’s been doing the past two years, while also keeping tabs on the SGA committees. 

“We don’t want anybody feeling like they’re not doing anything,” she said.

Jones said she wants to help create and define roles for committee members. Additionally, she and Penland said they hope to establish stronger communication outlets throughout campus. 

“One thing we really want to push is student-to-student-government communication, but also the relations between the students and the administrators,” Jones said.

Jones is also in talks with Mercer Police to explore the possibility of creating a new way for students to pay off parking tickets. She’s working to establish partnerships with local food banks and community organizations so that Mercer students could instead donate canned goods and children’s toys rather than pay monetary parking ticket fees. 

For incoming freshmen who want to get involved with SGA, Senate qualifications will open on Aug. 28. Members will be available at tables throughout campus to answer questions and provide more information. Freshmen elections will take place Sept. 3 and 4, and the first Senate meeting will be held  Sept. 9 at 6 p.m. at Connell Student Center.

“We also want to let people know, even if you don’t get elected a Senate position, we still have student correspondent positions open, specifically aimed at freshmen,” Penland said. 

These student correspondent positions aim to promote dialogue and communication between SGA and the student body. 

Two student events traditionally planned and hosted by Mercer’s SGA will take place later this semester; Pilgrimage to Penfield, an SGA event geared toward freshmen, will be held on Oct. 20. Mercer’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting is slated for Dec. 5. 

More information about Mercer University’s SGA can be found on their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts. 

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