Leaders reminisce, say goodbye

Emma Dejong

Emma DejongManagaing Editor

SA leaders talk about the pride in being able to impact the lives of students and faculty.

The election polls are a week away from opening, which is the first step toward closing the terms of the Students’ Association’s president and vice president.

Brett Monson and Erin Kennedy served as SA president and vice president from spring 2010 to 2011.

“People keep asking me every day, “Are you ready to be done? Do you have the countdown?’ I’m not,” Kennedy said. “I’m not ready to be done seeing those people every day in that office.”

Monson is a senior agricultural education major, and Kennedy is a senior advertising major. Neither had any political experience prior to their year on Senate.

“I thought many times last spring that we were totally crazy,” Kennedy said.

Having worked together as state officers for Future Farmers of America, Kennedy asked Monson if he would like to team up once again.

Improving communication was their main campaign issue, and they got a taste of that in the beginning stages.

“The whole election itself was a cool opportunity to go meet with all the student groups,” Monson said. “Erin and I both have a passion for people, so we developed our platforms around what people wanted.”

That included student communication, along with bettering the student community and increasing student wellness.

“Communication is the foundation for any successful team,” Monson said. “That had a lot of work that needed to be in place on Senate.”

Monson said to make this happen, it’s taken more than one single project. Some of the projects include SA’s new website, a comment box and the message boards that will be seen in The Union this semester.

During the week of Jan. 17-21 SA made an effort to visit all the various student organizations to get some direct and honest feedback.

“For the first time we did a Communications Week,” Monson said. “We really tried to make means of getting out where the students are.”

In January, the Board of Regents approved a Greek Village for SDSU. Monson and Kennedy consider this to be one of their biggest accomplishments.

“It’s one of the things I’ll tell my kids about,” Kennedy said.

SA passed a resolution on Jan. 31 to poll students about banning smoking and tobacco on campus. Over the last two months the issue has caused much controversy.

“That was one thing that I don’t think any of us really saw coming,” Kennedy said.

Over the past year, Monson said that he and Kennedy tried to make decisions that they thought were best at the time.

“I think that if Erin and I had two years to have Senate experience, we would totally be doing things differently,” Monson said. “At the same time, it’s hard to regret too much.”

Kennedy and Monson’s experience on SA has had a tremendous impact on their lives.

“Previous to this year, I imagined that I would always be in the advertising world,” Kennedy said. “After this year, I almost think that I should be thinking more about student affairs.”

One of Monson’s favorite aspects of being SA president has been the opportunity to talk to so many administrators and faculty members.

“I’ve really grown to appreciate what some people do because it’s exposed us to the engines that run the school,” Monson said. “I really respect and appreciate all the work that goes into that.”

Kennedy agreed.

“I think it’s opened our eyes not to be afraid of people because of their titles,” Kennedy said.

For next year’s presidential team, the two sets of running mates are Mark York and Anthony Sutton, and Shad Christman and Maria Skoglund.

“Whoever gets elected, it’s going to be in pretty good hands,” Monson said. “You can either manage something or build it up. They both appear to be builders.”

At this point, Monson said, there is only so much preparation the candidates can do.

“Preparation for Senate begins 15 years before you get elected,” Monson said. “All your life experiences lead up to it.”

Monson advised whoever takes his position to remember who elected them.

“Make it about the students,” Monson said. “We’re servants to them.”

Kennedy agreed and stressed the importance of being wise with time.

“You only have 365 days,” Kennedy said. “Use every one of them.”

Kennedy said she feels like she and Monson “hit the ground running” and hopes the next pair can build off what they’ve started.

“We’ve been going through our bylaws and making changes,” Kennedy said. “One thing I’d like to see next year is getting more freshmen involved.”

Looking into the future, plans are not set in stone for either Monson or Kennedy.

Kennedy said. “I’m either going to go to grad school for student affairs, or I’m going to find a job. I’m actually looking in the Chicago market.”

Monson is returning to SDSU next year to student teach in the fall and then complete a couple minors in the spring. After that, he’s considering graduate school, the Peace Corps or college ministry.

Reflecting on the year, Monson said he and Kennedy have worked to “focus on the macro things, rather than the micro things.”

Impacting the lives of the students and faculty of SDSU has been the most important aspect of the job to the duo.

“Regardless of the Greek Row being passed, and message boards and all these other things that senators have worked on, the more important aspect of life is the people who are involved within it because buildings are going to last an x-amount of years, where a person’s life is something that you can’t replace,” Monson said.