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Student government seniors share experiences, advice

With graduation fast approaching, the seniors on the SGA Officer Team were asked to share their thoughts and experiences from their years as students. Looking back at their time at John Brown University, the seniors of the Student Government Association began to get sentimental.

“The people. I will definitely miss the people the most,” Sophie Shafer, the Student Government Association’s Vice President of Communication, said. “I’ve made great friendships here. Some of them are the best friends I have made.”

SGA President Elizabeth Mathers agreed with Shafer about missing the people of JBU.

“Students, professors, faculty and staff. I will miss them the most,” Mathers said

Both Shafer and Mathers have learned from their experiences serving in SGA. Shafer, who has been in SGA since her freshman year, wanted to encourage students to get involved.

“Here at JBU, we have a huge emphasis on community and getting involved,” Shafer said. “It helps you get out of your comfort zone as well as help others.”

Mathers gave similar advice to underclassmen.

“Find something you are passionate about and get plugged in,” Mathers said. “It can help you make friends and provides an outlet from school.”

Shafer also advised students to be patient and not jump to conclusions when they dislike the way things are going.

“Being on SGA, we had to address miscommunication and upset students,” Shafer said. Often, students might not realize why a decision was made or why a policy could not be changed.

“By serving on SGA, we got to ask why and once you know the reasons behind decisions it is easier not to get upset,” Shafer said.

“The faculty and staff really do want the best for students and the University, which is really encouraging,” Mathers added.
Serving on SGA also gave the officers fond memories.

“My favorite experience has been planning the Junior Senior Banquet,” said Shafer. “It’s nice to see something physically come together and get people excited since most of our projects are long term and we can’t see immediate results.”

Mathers’ favorite part of SGA was when she was able to attend the Board of Trustees’ retreat in Branson, Mo. last year.

“I enjoyed spending time with the Board members, getting to know them in a more relaxed setting and seeing their passion,” Mathers said.

For the upcoming SGA team, whose elections will be announced next week, the seniors encouraged officers and senators to focus on teamwork and time management.

“Make a calendar for the year and set realistic goals,” said Mathers. “Share the workload too, even if it involves an area you aren’t gifted in. It can be a learning experience.”

“Really spend time to get to know each other,” Shafer added. “Get to know each others’ passions, ideas and personalities so you can work well as a team.”

After graduation, both Shafer and Mathers will be taking some time off from school to work and prepare for graduate schools. Mathers plans on pursuing a degree in mental health counseling and Shafer wants to continue studying graphic design.