The Slippery Rock Student Government Association (SGA), in an effort to boost student engagement with the search for a new University President, started a social media campaign with the #MySRUPresident hashtag. Club and organization presidents were encouraged to tweet out the hashtag, along with what they would like to see from whoever is selected to be president of SRU.
“We knew we wanted to do something big, and we thought social media was the best way for us to connect with students while allowing their voice to be heard,” SGA President Rachel Lawler said. “Executive Board members Dallas Kline and Victoria Davis came up with the hashtag and it has been a great success for us. Our initial tweet to kick off the campaign has 8,883 impressions.”
Several club presidents used the hashtag to make the feelings of their respective organization known. For Music Therapy Club President Emma Martin, the hashtag was a way to bring attention to the major while also engaging in the search.
“We want our president, whoever he may be, to put emphasis on all majors including the arts,” Martin said. “Bringing awareness towards our major and the music department, in general, is a big priority for us. A student-first president is something that we also support, including those students who suffer from disabilities.”
Honors Program President Grascen Schidemantle and her organization chose to use the hashtag because of often feeling like a forgotten group on campus. Their main emphasis is finding a candidate who puts value in fostering a community of motivated students whose first priority is academics.
“We want a president who is an advocate for the Honors Program, and beyond that, one who engages with the Slippery Rock community,” Schidemantle said. “This is a particularly important to me as a native of Slippery Rock. I also would like to see more emphasis put into undergraduate research. More opportunities for students to do research would make us even more competitive with larger universities.”
Inclusivity of students continued to be a theme with the University Program Board. Mallory Millberger, UPB president, thought as one of the largest campus organizations that it was important to make their voice heard when it came to the search. Millberger was particularly happy with the overall level of student involvement in the selection process this time around.
“Students had more of a voice in this search, and I think that’s a step in the right direction towards the relationship the students and SRU need to have. Every student should feel as though they’re part of something greater and be included. That level of engagement with students is a necessary quality for whoever becomes of next president.”
As a whole, organization presidents agreed that the search process was an improvement over the previous search in the fall. This crop of candidates, as opposed to the initial three from the first search, has also been better received by clubs and students alike.
No particular candidate was recognized as a front-runner by campus leaders. Although, members of SGA have been ranking the candidates based on their performance in the open forum sessions that were held last week. For SGA President Lawler, she is confident that the most qualified candidate will get the job.
“Our next president will be someone who is transparent in all the roles that the play. They will put an emphasis on helping students succeed inside and outside of the classroom. Slippery Rock is a special place to all of us, and our next president will hopefully be someone who maintains that distinction while also adding to that greatness moving forward.”
Slippery Rock’s Council of Trustees recently announced two of the five candidates to be forwarded to Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education board of governors: William Behre and Rodney Hanley.