Student leaders reflect and focus on SGA success
On the heels of a monumental year for the Student Government Association at Radford University, student leaders looked to the future at a recent gathering.
Student Body President Colby Bender and fellow SGA members joined Radford University administrators and special guests on Aug. 26 at the SGA Banquet, where Bender promised this year would "pack an even bigger punch" than last year's centennial milestone. Radford University celebrated the SGA's 100th anniversary during the 2014-15 academic year that included a special dinner at which dozens of former SGA members attended to share memories of their SGA experience.
President Penelope W. Kyle and Radford University Board of Visitors member Mary Waugh Campbell '71, M.S. '71, who serves as the chair of the BOV Student Affairs Committee, were among the banquet attendees who heard and spoke of the SGA's tremendous impact on campus progress and safety.
While Bender spoke of future SGA goals, President Kyle reflected on previous accomplishments, including a campaign against sexual assault.
Following last year's SGA Banquet, Kyle recalled, "I left immediately to travel to Richmond to meet with the Governor's Task Force on Combating Campus Sexual Violence." Kyle was named to the committee in September 2014 by Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
"Serving on that committee was a real eye-opener for me," Kyle said. "It was a transformative experience, and we are hoping we can bring transformation in that area to our campus this year."
On board with President Kyle's mission to raise awareness of this important issue, the SGA sponsored several initiatives, including the first-ever "Consent: A Forum on Sexual Assault" during the fall semester.
"Sexual assault is something we really need to combat, and I'm so glad you have signed on to make our campus a safer place," Kyle said.
The SGA also led a Safety Walk that united Radford City officials and campus representatives in an effort to address the benefits of additional lighting and signage throughout the university. In addition, Kyle called the State of the Student Body Forums – hosted by her and Bender - "extraordinary" because they provided an opportunity for students to ask questions and share concerns.
Bender, who is serving a second term as SGA president, said these initiatives will continue as the SGA evolves and grows with the university.
"I believe we have transformed and changed the SGA for the better of Radford University and our fellow students," Bender said to SGA representatives. "I'm very excited about this year, and I hope you are, too. It is a great privilege to be in student government. You represent the entire student body at Radford University."
Bender concluded the banquet with the swearing in of 13 SGA officers: Leanna Mattson, chief of staff; Grant Gurley; senior class senator; Daniel Yoon, junior class senator; Nick Thayer, secretary of legislative affairs; Matthew Blackwell, deputy secretary of legislative affairs; Aimee Borovich, secretary of website administration; Kealani Rogers, secretary of diversity promotion; Rolphine Vales, deputy secretary of diversity promotion; Sean Gamayon, deputy secretary of community service; Billy Chandler, secretary of sustainability; Hanna Gardner, deputy to the president; Sarina Eames, deputy to the vice president ; and Raychel Hudson, historian.