SGA strives to be even more welcoming this semester, according to SGA President Sydney Hawkins.

One event they have coming up soon that bolsters this initiative is a karaoke event in partnership with university athletics. This event will be Monday, Feb. 3.

“[The karaoke event] was all Kito. I know he was really excited about their OVC Championship and he wanted them to have a chance to just share it with the rest of the school,” Hawkins said. “It may be a little intimidating to come up to SGA representatives or even the football team. So, this is a great event that allows students to know us on a personal level and talk with us about their concerns, their issues.” 

While Hawkins views last semester as a success she still wants to do more to bridge the gap between SGA and the student body.

“I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback from faculty, staff and students that have said that we have been a lot more out there, welcoming and have exposed ourselves even more to the student body,” Hawkins said. “So, I would say this semester we’re just trying to continue that. We want students to know we’re here. Student government has always been here, but we’re doing a lot more campus outreach events that allow students to come and express things that may be concerned about.”

Hawkins is eager to form more connections with the student body this semester.

“I think I’m most proud of the connections and relationships that I’ve gained on this campus. We’re 11,000 students now, and I meet a new person every day,” Hawkins said. “I look forward to planning more campus outreach events, interacting with more people, making more connections.”

This semester, Hawkins is also looking towards the end of her time as SGA President and wants to ensure a smooth transition as she leaves office and someone new takes over.

“It’s weird because I don’t want my presidency to end, but I’m looking forward to giving advice to the next person. Courtney was a great president. I can still text him and ask him for advice about a situation, but it’s a little different when it’s your turn to pass the torch on,” Hawkins said. “So, I’m excited about passing on some of the things that I’ve learned, some of the things that I would do differently.”

Hawkins, in response to concerns expressed to her by students, wants to plan a safety event this semester.

“One thing that I mentioned last semester after the shooting on our campus was that I wanted to kind of have a campus-wide self-defense class with Austin Peay police,” Hawkins said. “Before students expressed their concerns of safety, I wouldn’t have thought of a campus-wide self-defense class. As a commuter, I always thought of this or I still think of this as a pretty safe campus.”

Another event Hawkins wants to plan this semester is a Governor’s Gala, which is “basically a prom” according to Hawkins.

It will be a joint event for students, faculty and staff. Tickets will be sold, and it will act as a fundraising event for SGA, the United Way campaign and possibly fraternities and sororities, according to Hawkins.

“Something I would like to happen, outside of events, would be to continue to allow the Student Government Association to grow and to have more students know about us and to know about our meetings and where to come when they have a concern or just to talk to us,” Hawkins said.