April 2010
ASU student pres: More activities please
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Campus safety, school spirit and student collaboration are top priorities for Corey Cooper, recently elected as Alcorn State University’s new Student Government Association (SGA) president.

Cooper plans to address all three through one goal: Increasing student activities – including weekend activities – available to students on campus.

“Because of Alcorn’s location, there isn’t always a lot to do outside of what is planned by the university,” Cooper, 20, said. “When students are bored, a lot of negative things can happen. I want to promote positive, fun options.”

The Vicksburg-native’s ideas include opening a new pool and volleyball court, and renovating the campus’s bowling alley. He also wants to add intramural football (the university already offers intramural basketball) and a major monthly school spirit event.

Alcorn is generally considered a suitcase campus; in-state students who have the option usually go home for the weekends. Cooper wants to change that too.

“I want to make the campus livelier so that students want to stay and, that way, we can really get to know one another,” said Cooper, who will begin his duties as SGA president in the fall. Outgoing President Ryan Martin graduates from Alcorn in May.

But Cooper is not just concentrating on extracurricular activities. He wants to boost student attendance at events related to academics as well.

“The university brings in really great speakers, and hosts other activities like a job fair, ever year, but many students don’t attend,” he said. “I want to better communicate that these activities are available and we need to take advantage of them while we’re here.”

With a presidential search likely to be underway by the time he takes office, Cooper knows he’ll have some important issues to issues to deal with during his term. Former ASU President George Ross left the university in February to become president of Central Michigan University. Dr. Norris Edney, the former dean of Graduate Studies at the university, is serving as the institution’s interim president.

SGA presidents are integral in presidential searches, serving as a voice for students.

“I’m excited about taking office at such an important time in Alcorn’s history,” Cooper said.

STUDENT PRESIDENT FAST FACTS
Name: Corey Cooper
Hometown: Vicksburg
Major: Radiation Technology
Year: Junior
Term Begins: Fall 2010


USM SGA to focus on centennial
Kasey Mitchell’s tenure as Student Government Association president could not have come at a more exciting time in the University of Southern Mississippi’s history.

Southern Miss turned 100 March 30 and Mitchell considers it a personal responsibility to ensure students participate in anniversary events planned throughout the year.

“This is an opportunity to show the world that our university is truly a leader among institutions of higher learning,” Mitchell, 21, said. “It all starts by giving back to the community that has helped make us so successful.”

Centennial events center on civic engagement, including The Big Event, which kicked off last Saturday and offered campus-wide service project opportunities for students, faculty and staff.

Mitchell’s campaign theme centered on three areas: vision, passion and commitment. One of her key platform points is to improve communication with the student body.

“Transparency and accountability are two things that are really important to me,” said Mitchell, who served as the executive director of student programming for the 2009-10 year. “We want to have an open-door relationship with the student body.”

Mitchell is preceded by J.R. Robinson, 22, who graduates this year.

Sustainability will also be a focal point.

“Becoming more efficient is really important, especially now with everything that our state is going through,” she said. “I am interested in looking at ways that we can cut back without affecting students. I think we can be a leader in this area.”

Mitchell also plans to continue several successful initiatives launched by Robinson’s administration including a late-night study program that was extremely popular on campus. The SGA teamed up with Eagle Dining to provide study space from midnight to 5 a.m. – after the library had closed – for three and a half weeks before finals.

“Toward the end, we actually had to turn students away,” Robinson said. “And the university more than made up for the cost by selling food.”

Robinson’s administration also started an Early Alert program through the USM Student Success Center to help identify and assist students who are struggling academically or otherwise.

“J.R. also expanded a shuttle system the university offers,” Mitchell said. “With the campus continuing to grow, we will definitely need to continue to offer more services like this for students.”

Robinson said he expects great things under Mitchell’s leadership.

“I’ve worked with her since freshman year; she is exceptional,” he said. “My only advice to her was to try to not get overwhelmed – and follow your instincts. She’s going to be a fantastic leader.”

STUDENT PRESIDENT FAST FACTS
Name: Kasey Mitchell
Hometown: Picayune, MS
Major: Business Management and Political Science
Year: Junior
Term Begins: March 30


Recent MUW student election makes history
As the new student leader of Mississippi University for Women, Brandon Newsome knows the significance of the job he’s been elected to do for the next year.

“I recognize the history in it,” said Newsome, MUW’s incoming Student Government Association President. “This is the first university women could attend. I think by the fact that I am president, and I’ve been vice-president for two years, that just proves that it does focus on men and women even with the name.”

Newsome now hopes to increase the number of students interested in succeeding him when his term ends. It’s just one of the platforms he used during his campaign for president- to engage students in the process and make student government more accountable.

“One thing we found on our campus, elections aren’t as competitive as some of the other institutions,” Newsome said. “We usually get two candidates per position. I hope increased student involvement will make it more competitive.”

Newsome also wants to work with MUW students to do more community outreach, especially with local schools in the Columbus area. He also plans to expand communication between SGA and other students using computer communications, a newsletter, and personalized invitations to meetings.

“I think he will do a very good job of empowering the students and also increasing the awareness of what SGA does,” said Kristen Barnes, MUW’s outgoing SGA president. “He has many great ideas that I’m sure he’ll build on.”

“It’s all about the communication and getting out with students and interacting with them, to understand what their problems and plights are,” she said.

Newsome said he wasn’t nearly as involved in activities and leadership roles while in high school, but he points out that MUW’s smaller campus makes it easy for him and other students to get engaged.

“I saw this as a new frontier for me to actively get engaged and do everything I aspired to do in high school ,” he said. “It’s been a wonderful experience. This is the type of place that anyone can be engaged if they want to and make changes, you just have to be motivated to do so.”

“I want to inspire students to achieve anything they desire, as long as it impacts the campus in a positive way, so that hopefully one day I can say not that I am a success, but that WE are successful,” he said.

STUDENT PRESIDENT FAST FACTS
Name: Brandon Newsome
Hometown: Jackson
Major: Chemistry, Psychology
Year: Junior
Term Begins: May 2010


Ole Miss ASB plans town hall meetings
Virginia Burke didn’t tout specific platform points when she started campaigning for Associated Student Body (ASB) president at The University of Mississippi.

Instead, by holding focus groups and town hall meetings, she let her fellow students shape her agenda.

“My platform was built around ‘A Student Voice for a Student Vision,’” said Burke, referring to ASB’s slogan. “We have the opportunity through student government to give students a forum to share their opinions; it’s very important to me that we do the very best we can to engage as many people as we can.”

Burke, 21, took office at the beginning of April. During the 2009-10 year, she served as chair of the Senate Academic Affairs Committee and the Liberal Arts District Committee.

Senior Artair Rogers, who will graduate in May, held the position last year.

“We had many conversations throughout the campaign,” Rogers said. “When she asked me for advice, the first thing I would tell her is that students are more receptive to ideas when they are participants in the process.”

As a result of the open forums, Burke said she plans to implement a “Dead Week” before finals – an agreement among faculty that they will not assign tests or projects the week before finals week.

“Students are overwhelmed the week of finals,” she said. “They need time to prepare and it’s hard to do that when other additional work is assigned or due.”

Programs established under Rogers’ leadership that Burke plans to continue include:

  • The Daily Mississippian recycling program with proceeds going to the Ole Miss Opportunity Program to help low-income students pay for the cost of attendance; and
  • Rebel Box, a DVD rental program on campus.

Burke said she will also focus on boosting the university’s commitment to service in support of UM’s 16th chancellor, Dr. Dan Jones, who was inaugurated last week. Investiture activities focused around the importance of giving back.

“UM students have so much to give and care deeply about the community and the state,” Burke said. “By engaging students and working with Chancellor Jones, I believe we can really capitalize on that and do great things.”

STUDENT PRESIDENT FAST FACTS
Name: Virginia Burke
Hometown: Charleston, Mo.
Major: International Studies, Spanish, Economics
Year: Junior
Term Begins: May 2010


SA goes beyond State: Student leader plans to lobby for higher ed support
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Mississippi State University’s new student body president is no stranger to the school. Thomas Sellers is a third-generation Bulldog.

Now he’s working to make sure that he and his fellow students become just as well-known outside of Starkville as they work with elected officials to support higher education.

“Local, state, and federal government plays a very important role in students’ lives, from tuition to textbook policies, and there are lots of things we can do to help state officials realize that we know what’s going on, and we want to support them,” said Sellers, a senior at MSU.

Sellers is working to form a lobbying group on MSU’s campus that will organize trips to the Capitol and stay in contact with local leaders. With budget cuts looming in the future, Sellers said students must work to let the Legislature know how campuses will be affected.

Outgoing Student Association President Blake Jeter, who coordinated similar lobbying efforts in his tenure, said Sellers “brings a really good vision to the job.”

“One of his main objectives is to give students a greater voice on the local, state and federal levels,” Jeter said. “At a time when we’re scrapping for every penny we can get, that’s a good vision to have.”

Sellers knows that tight budgets will challenge some of his other goals, which include reinstating MSU’s yearbook. The Reveille folded along with yearbooks at several other universities around the nation.

“It’s one of those things, you don’t miss it until it’s gone,” Sellers said. “Now students are starting to realize that they’re graduating and they don’t have a solid piece of MSU history they can take with them.”

“If we have student involvement this year, we can put a structure in place so that in years to come, (The Reveille) would be in place,” he added.

Besides leading MSU’s Student Association, Sellers is also involved in university Greek life and helps host orientation sessions for incoming freshmen.

His one-year term ends next March, and he says that he’ll work hard during that time “to make sure students’ voices are heard across campus.”

“I really want to work to make sure the overall experience of MSU students is increased in every way possible, whether getting students involved in organizations or just supporting traditions and history here at MSU,” Sellers said.

STUDENT PRESIDENT FAST FACTS
Name: Thomas Sellers
Hometown: Canton
Major: Kinesiology
Year: Senior
Term Begins: March 2010


Diversity first priority for DSU SGA pres
When Emily Hearn takes office as the new leader of Delta State University’s student body, her first responsibility will be to appoint a nine-member cabinet.

Ensuring the chosen few represent a diverse perspective is Hearn’s major objective.

“The majority of the people who run and participate in our student government association are Greeks but Greeks only make up about 12 percent of the campus,” she said. “If we’re going to solve problems, we need to be able to hear lots of different opinions.”

Hearn, who was elected to serve as the SGA attorney general last year, knows securing more participation will require the organization to better communicate its important role. Creating a logo and continuing to develop SGA’s new Web site, launched under the previous administration, are two other priorities.

Taylor Miller served as DSU’s student president last year.

With critical issues like a major budget shortfall, the university’s student population needs to be educated.

“SGA is the best resource we have to share information with students and secure support for Delta State,” Hearn said. “So we need to get our name out there and we need to make sure everyone has a voice.”

STUDENT PRESIDENT FAST FACTS
Name: Emily Hearn
Hometown: Millington, Tenn.
Major: International Business
Year: Junior
Term Begins: April 19


Interaction key for UMMC ASB
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Research shows that patients benefit when there is seamless collaboration between health care professionals.

The Associated Student Body (ASB) president elect at the University of Mississippi Medical Center plans to help students learn about the importance of working together through more participation in student government.

“In the past, the six schools have tended to stay within themselves, but we’re all working toward the same goal – taking care of patients,” said incoming ASB President John Davis, 25. “It’s only going to be easier to move into the professional world if we start interacting as a system of health care professionals now.”

Davis, who will begin his tenure as president in May, said the work getting students across campus to collaborate started with his predecessor, outgoing President Jon Steadman.

“As long as I can remember, the ASB president has been a medical school student. Naturally, because of this history, students at the other schools felt that they didn’t have a voice in student government,” said Steadman, 43, who will graduate from medical school in May.

The six schools at UMMC include Dentistry, Graduate Studies, Health Related Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy.

In order to encourage collaboration, Steadman asked representatives from each of the different schools to take the lead in coordinating at least one ASB event throughout the year. As a result, elections this year are more diverse, with more of the students running for vice president, secretary and treasurer enrolled in other schools aside from medicine.

In addition to continuing Steadman’s effort to promote collaboration, Davis also hopes to focus on service.

“One of the issues that Dr. (Dan) Jones is pushing is giving back to the communities we are living in,” said Davis, who begins his final year of medical school next year. “He has been such a great example for us.”

Dr. Jones, former UMMC Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine, was inaugurated as the 16th chancellor of UM last week. Before joining the faculty at UMMC, Dr. Jones served as a medical missionary in Korea and has emphasized the importance of service throughout his career.

Davis said ASB plans several philanthropic events throughout the year including building Habitat for Humanity houses and Toys for Tots drives.

One more serious responsibility always comes with the job of ASB president at UMMC: the task of planning several fun social events of the year – including the beloved Anatomy and Claus balls.

“Students at the Medical Center spend the majority of their time studying, working or volunteering,” Davis said. “We all need an occasional break. Participating in ASB gives us the opportunity to find new friends across campus and interact outside of class.”

STUDENT PRESIDENT FAST FACTS
Name: John Davis
Hometown: Hattiesburg
Major: Medicine
Year: 3rd Year Med
Term Begins: May 2010


New student president has deep ties to the Valley
Mississippi Valley State University has always been a part of Jamaris Moore’s family- his mother and father worked at the school as he grew up in Itta Bena.

“As a child, I fell in love with Valley and the Valley family,” said Moore, MVSU’s new student body president.

Now Moore is working to make the current Valley family as tight-knit as his own. Retaining current students and recruiting more to campus are two of his main goals for his tenure.

“My platform was, we’re all one family, and we want to get back to that family mode,” he said. “I wanted to bring the students together. One of the things Dr. Oliver has stated was that working together works. So I want to get the students working with the faculty to really put this in place.”

Moore says one of the reasons he decided to attend Valley was that “it’s not a big institution.”

“I didn’t want to go to a place so big that I didn’t know my professors on-one-one,” he said.

But he sees room for improvement. Moore says that Valley students who come to the campus from different areas “generally group together. We want to break that and get students all together.”

Community-based projects are one of the ways that he believes his Valley family can strengthen its bond. He is working to coordinate Student Government Association visits to local schools, mentoring programs for students and community-service projects.

“This could help with recruitment as well,” he said. “We are striving to do great things. We are an institution that cares about our community.”

James Hudson, outgoing president for MVSU, said that Moore’s strong relationships with students, faculty, staff and administration will help him succeed.

“He will need to focus on making sure we keep close ties between faculty, staff, administration, and the student body,” Hudson said. “We also need to promote academic excellence and high scholastic standards, school morale and loyalty to students’ alma mater.”

Moore sees a bright future ahead for the Valley campus.

STUDENT PRESIDENT FAST FACTS
Name: Jamaris Moore
Hometown: Itta Bena
Major: Mathematics
Year: Sophomore
Term Begins: Date not yet


Three vie for JSU student pres
Increasing school spirit. Working more closely with administrators. Giving students a stronger voice.

These are some of the different platforms that three Jackson State University students are using in their campaigns for SGA President. But their love for the university is the same.

“The comraderie, it’s such a sense of family,” said Jasmine Love, a junior political science major from New Orleans. “It’s JSUTigers till the day we die.”

Andross Milteer, a junior biology/pre-med major, said the university’s “home-type atmosphere” lured him from his hometown of Long Beach, Ca.

“When you come to JSU, you feel like you’re at home, no matter where you’re from,” Milteer said. “I didn’t know anybody when I came here. But because of JSU, I felt like I was at home. People are friendly, they come talk to you randomly about things going on at campus and in the world.”

Bryan Fisher, a junior civil engineering major from Vicksburg, said, “There’s nothing like being at a HBCU, being able to experience schoolwork with the nurturing they give you here. Teachers work very well with students.”

The candidates are getting creative with their campaigns as Election Day nears. Voters will cast ballots on April 16 and 17.

Fisher’s campaign slogan is “Fishing for a Good President- Get Hooked on Bryan Fisher.”

Love uses the letters in her last name as an acronym for “Leading Our Voices Effectively.”

Milteer said his platform is “Honoring Our Heritage While Expanding Our Legacy.”

If elected, some of his plans include starting a shuttle system to transport students around campus and purchasing T-shirts for the Tiger faithful.

“I hope to do things where we increase spirit and we get our student body excited about coming to JSU,” he said. Love said she wants to “be the voice of the students.”

“Whatever questions, concerns, or comments in regard to academics, financial aid, or any other issues- I want to be there for them,” she said. “I want to be able to accomplish their goals while I accomplish mine.”

Fisher said he hopes to increase student morale and “get students motivated about their school as a whole.”

“I also want to strengthen relationships with the administration,” he added. “Once that happens, universities can run a lot smoother and a lot more people would come.”


J-schools change with the news biz: Classes, student papers becoming more multimedia focused
The Internet isn’t just changing the newspaper business; it is changing teaching and learning in journalism schools across Mississippi.

“Right now, we’re really on the cusp,” said Caroline Lee, the 2010-11 editor of The Daily Mississippian, the student newspaper at The University of Mississippi. “Some of the classes that I have had that were strictly print-oriented are now incorporating audio slideshows and video.”

New reporters have to learn the art of acting as a “one man band,” added Lee, a double major in journalism and Spanish.

“It’s hard to be an expert at everything but I feel like I am going to be better prepared to enter a newsroom because of my training here,” she said. “Some people still pick up a newspaper and some read the articles we write on their iPhones; it’s all about reaching a broader audience.”

Emmett McClary, instructor of journalism at Mississippi Valley State University, agreed.

“People absolutely love the interactive nature of news. They can watch a video, read a news story or listen to an audio file all on the same site,” McClary said. “In training students for this field, we have to be ready to proactively respond to these changes.”

Things are gradually shifting at The Daily Mississippian too, Lee said. The student newspaper hasn’t had to cut back on the print product, except in the usual loss of pages when ad sales are down, but the Web site is still somewhat a work in progress.

“We have broadcast and blogged a number of events live,” Lee said. “As far as increasing the content with the current Web site, we have done almost everything we can within our bounds. Next year I hope we’ll be able to do more with the Web site.”

For smaller, regional universities like MVSU, changes in journalism education and the mechanics of student newspapers may be an advantage, McClary said.

Due to limited resources in a small department, putting out printed copies of The Delta Devils Gazette, the student newspaper at MVSU, has always been a challenge.

“We’re doing everything we can to get out two solid issues a semester,” said McClary, faculty advisor to The Gazette. “Moving to an online product could give our students more opportunities to report, write and layout copy, which will better prepare them for the future.”

Lee agreed.

“We’re able to cover some events, like the recent inauguration, as they happen instead of waiting until the next day or later in the week,” she said.

STUDENT NEWSPAPER EDITORS 2010-11

ASU – The Campus Chronicle
Editor: Jennifer Griffith

DSU – The Delta Statement
Editor: Justin Quinn

JSU – The Blue and White Flash
Editor: Denise Black

MSU – The Reflector
Editor: April Windham

MUW – The Spectator
Editor: Juna'uh Allgood

MVSU – The Delta Devils Gazette
Editor: T. Clarice Norton

UM – The Daily Mississippian
Editor: Caroline Lee

USM – The Student Printz
Editor: To Be Determined