With the start of a new school year, the Student Government Association, or SGA, welcomed three new freshman senators to its ranks: Jordan Lowrance, Kayla Stone and Jaheim Julius.
The three were ratified Wednesday in a short ceremony, each celebrating their victory with 120, 75 and 98 votes respectively.
Julius is not only new to APSU, but also to the Southern United States. The freshman senator is originally from the Virgin Island in the Caribbean.
“I was brought here for the career opportunities that the United States has to offer. Because back home in the Virgin Islands, they don’t offer a lot of opportunities. I came here in the search of better goals and aspirations for myself,” Julius said.
Stone is also new to Tennessee, but struggles to define exactly where she is from.
“This is always a hard question to answer because I grew up in Colorado but moved to Florida in eighth grade and I count both as where I come from because they both hold a place in my heart,” Stone said.
They both showed enthusiasm at their new positions in SGA in leading their peers. They both shared a positive outlook as a freshman and expressed how they were ready to meet new people and the learn from the leadership experience.
“I ran for SGA because I wanted to be a role model for all freshmen and upperclassmen and also I want to gain experience of leadership and be able to meet new people,” Julius said.
“At my old school, I was in the college’s SGA for a short period of time. I’m also majoring in Political Science with a minor in Pre-Law so I’m hoping that this will help me learn to be a better leader and how to fix issues for the students here,” Stone said.
Leading and listening to a student population is no easy task. As voices to promote school spirit and provide for the community, there will be a lot things for their consideration. Luckily however, this isn’t their first experience in a leadership role.
Julius was previously in ROTC, which utilized coordination between battalions. He recounted how they would meet up each week and discuss future goals.
Stone on the other hand once founded and served as president for a film club and also participated in National Honor Society.
“The school and the many student bodies here are wonderful at making us feel united and I hope to continue that through my position,” Stone said.
“I hope to raise any concerns that people have, no matter how ‘minor’ they may seem. Cause to me, if it’s an issue and it’s major to one person, then it is a major issue. I hope to make everyone feel like they truly have a voice on campus and in the community,” Stone said.
“I want to be a role model to them. I want to be an inspiration to all of those people who go unheard. Being from the Caribbean, I can bring diversity, I can create change,” Julius said.
Julius discussed how he wanted to branch out and meet new people, learning more about the community as he went, while Stone expressed her interest in student organizations, how they help students, and how they interact on campus.
With elections wrapping up and the votes counted, the numbers proved that many students weren’t present to vote.
In a brief discussion over the topic, both senators expressed that they wanted to educate the student population a little more and open avenues for communication, which ideally, they’ll build through their careers.
“I hope to create awareness, because voting matters. We vote and elect someone to office in order to serve and protect our country. If we don’t vote, our answers to problems aren’t going to be heard. We vote to make a voice for ourselves,” Julius said.
“I believe that it is crucial to encourage people to stand up for their beliefs and rights and one way to do this is by giving people the encouragement and opportunity of voting,” Stone said. “It is up to us to decide what we want and how we want it and I believe that is very crucial, especially now as college students.”