Dustin Stewart, SGA President
The topic of conversation for the next few months will be about the consolidation between Armstrong and Georgia Southern. Please note that this came as much as a surprise to me as it did to you. The worst part about it was I was waiting in the Atlanta airport to fly to Chicago for a national fraternity conference – thus little time to process.
I can assure you my initial response was that of yours – anger, confusion, disgust. My emotions had built up so much I had to write everything I felt, just to be sure I didn’t say something that would bite me later. You have every right to be upset, and I applaud your efforts to express your thoughts and opinions – petitions and the Town Hall. I was sitting in the back to witness the reactions of everyone around me, because I wanted to gain a true sense of where the sentiment on this campus was toward the announcement. I have taken note.
First, I am grateful to know that there is a pride in Armstrong State University. My own high school family hardly expressed such an enthusiasm for itself. Now, though, we need to transfer that energy into the consolidation process. As much as I’d love to find a legal loophole or something, what’s done is done. SO now it’s time for you to step up. There are going to be lots of work groups, and students need to be active in those conversations. If you’re not, then all your petitions and shouting are for nothing. MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD. On February 1, I will be going to Atlanta to be charged as a member of the leading Consolidation Implementation Committee. I can’t represent all 7,000+ of us alone.
Second, I want this to be a lesson in civic activism. The people to scream at do not include the campus administration or the administrative personnel at the system office. The people to scream at, if you so choose, would be the Board members, maybe the Chancellor, and most certainly the governor, because here is how the system works: the Governor appoints the members of the Board. Who chooses the governor? The people who vote. My broader point is that while screaming can be cathartic, it doesn’t do anything to change the situation. Getting involved in the political process is key, at all levels.
Finally, please feel free to come to the SGA office and talk to me. Or, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Believe it or not, I do want to hear from you and I want to talk to you. I also want to help keep you updated on the process. My photo is under the executive link on the SGA webpage on the Armstrong website. Look at it, and hunt me down if you must. I am here for you, and I can’t work effectively if I don’t hear from you.