Spring Hill College’s Student Government Association welcomed Cade Dernlan and Griffin Morgan as President and Vice President for the 2019-2020 school year, both without prior SGA experience.
This duo is open about their lack of SGA experience. In fact, they view it as a strength. SGA President Cade Dernlan said, “I think it's very valuable for any organization to come in with a fresh perspective on things and new fervor. Vice President Griffin Morgan emphasized their unique approach on how they are handling their positions. Morgan said, “Cade and I are very head strong and are ready to hit the ground running, but at the same time, we have the humility to understand that we don’t know the ins and outs of everything just yet. We want to create an atmosphere that allows members of SGA and especially the student body to help us adapt.”
Amidst a changing SGA, Dernlan and Morgan discussed a need for transparency in an organization that in the past was criticized for its seclusion. Dernlan described, “We want to allow the creativity and intelligence that is not only in the senate but in this student body to come forth and really allow itself to show.” The two also expressed that adjustments within SGA are necessary. Dernlan explained, “While our meetings are still structured, we want to allow more time for individuals to speak their minds. Also, in getting rid of that formality, we’ve created an atmosphere that is conducive for new ideas and ways of thinking.”
Since their original campaign initiative fell through for the Fall, the two have faced criticism. Morgan said that he and Dernlan noticed freshmen were not coming back after their first semester or year. They both addressed their concern with the twenty students who left Spring Hill within the first week of last year. Morgan said, “We planned to tackle this issue with a mentor program. Essentially, each freshman would have someone to help them feel comfortable. Unfortunately, it proved extremely arduous to have a pilot running for this Fall.” Dernlan and Morgan shared their confidence in their actions to proceed with a similar program for transfer students for the upcoming Spring.
This disappointment has not discouraged the organization, rather, it has been a source for motivation. As he discussed a popular complaint amongst students, Dernlan said, “We want to make sure that the hours at Mckinney’s and Einstein’s are more tailored to students' needs. There is certainly a need for more late night options.” Dernlan hopes that working towards goals like this will help achieve a healthier relationship with SGA and the student body. With a new change in leadership this year, SGA aspires to mold back into an organization that is devoted to the needs of students.