New president hopes to better SGA

Published by adviser, Author: Chris Gordon - Assistant News Editor, Date: August 27, 2015
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Slippery Rock University was not on Logan Steigerwalt’s list.  Living an hour and a half north of Philadelphia in Allentown, Pennsylvania, this high school baseball captain and member of the National Honor’s Society never considered the Western Pennsylvania school until his mother, a 1987 graduate, made him pay a visit to her alma mater.  “I fell in love,” Steigerwalt said, despite his initial hesitation.  “It was the only place I applied.”

Today, Steigerwalt, a 20-year-old junior marketing major, certified skiing instructor and avid ARC-goer, is the president of Slippery Rock’s Student Government Association.  Steigerwalt attributed his rise to meeting “the right group of people” midway through his freshman year.

The group that freshman Steigerwalt found was the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, which he met in spring of 2014, he said. 

Though he initially faced trouble getting involved on campus, Steigerwalt said he first considered SGA when he was asked by a friend to run on the “Costume Party” ticket as a North Hall senator for the 2014-2015 academic year.  Steigerwalt agreed and, to his surprise, he said, he was elected. 

“If you’d asked me my freshman year if I’d even be on SGA, let alone eventually run for president, I’d say ‘yeah right,'” he confessed.

With the help of several “peer mentors,” Steigerwalt was able to rise through the ranks of SGA, eventually becoming speaker of the senate shortly after the spot was vacated in December 2014, he said.

“I don’t know why, but John Coulter really took me under his wing,” Steigerwalt said of the former SGA vice president.  “I don’t think I would have stuck around if it weren’t for him.”

Steigerwalt also attributed his readiness for the speaker position to the adoption of his “EARS” slogan, which stands for enhance, advocate, represent and support.

“I wanted senators to have something to say when students ask what SGA does,” he said.  “EARS is what came of that.”

As speaker, Steigerwalt worked closely with the SGA vice president of finance to shorten language in their old constitution, leading to the approval of SGA’s new constitution and bylaws in April of 2015, he said.

On running for president, Steigerwalt said his decision took time. 

“No one was really stepping forward and building a ticket,” he said.  “I didn’t start thinking about it until January or February and, at that point, it was about 80/20 that I wouldn’t run.”

After talks with Brad Kovaleski, Slippery Rock’s executive director of student development, and Katie Hill, the former president of SGA, Steigerwalt said his decision was about 50/50. 

“I wasn’t sure if I had enough experience, but I wanted to build personal relationships with Slippery Rock’s administration and move the university forward, so I eventually decided to run,” he said.

Steigerwalt admitted that the lack of student involvement with SGA is a problem and said meetings took place over the summer in hopes of addressing it.

“It makes things tough, which is why we’re really pushing to raise awareness right now,” he said.  “We’re planting yard signs, we have a tweeting schedule and we’re trying to throw more of our own events.”

As for the incomplete senate, Steigerwalt said the lack of awareness of SGA hurt the election process.  He noted, however, that SGA has recently received many applications for vacant senate positions, which he attributes to SGA’s current awareness campaign. 

“If people apply for a position, they want it for a reason,” Steigerwalt said.  “They’re motivated to represent the student body, rather than just joining a ticket for a friend and a title.”

As president, Steigerwalt has a number of key agenda items he’d like to enact, including the creation of a student leadership conference, turning student life survey responses into administration-lead actions and creating a student-run computer repair service, he said.

Additionally, Steigerwalt wants to work with the university’s weather advisory board to simplify the process by which winter delays and cancellations are made, so that SGA can better communicate these decisions to the student body, he said.  He also expressed hope to continue “Project Positivity,” a campaign of positive communication enacted by former SGA vice president, Jared Stanley.

In contrast with his predecessor, Katie Hill, Steigerwalt said he’d like to incorporate more delegation into his leadership style, giving more responsibility to his vice presidents. 

“Sometimes Katie would try to do everything and you could tell she was getting bogged down,” he said.

For his presidency, Steigerwalt said he’s motivated by the future. 

“I’d like to leave SGA in a better place than when I got it.  I received it in a good place, but you always want to see things get better.”

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