Breathing New Life Into Campus – SGA President and VP Rising to the Challenge

Marquis Vasquez and Hannah Stone

PHOTO | Submitted

Entering through the open door of the SGA office in Doc Bryan sits SGA President Marquis D. Vasquez and SGA vice president Hannah Stone, side by side at a long oval table.

Both typing quickly at their computer, they occasionally glance through the western window toward Chambers cafeteria to watch the passing students going on about their day, unaware of the caring eyes of the student officeholders.

The friends-turned-student-politicians have several common interests, but the biggest one is their love for helping others.

“Hannah and I both have a passion for representing students. So, through reciprocal links and that passion, our friendship was formed,” Vasquez said.

Those links are thanks to Stone’s brother, the president of Vasquez’s fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.

Before holding their current positions, Vasquez was the secretary for diversity and inclusion, and Stone was the senator for the college of the arts and humanities, yet another link that pulled these two into a strong friendship.

“We met for the first time at a sophomore leadership mixer. We were just talking and having a good time, and that’s when we realized we were both a big part of SGA,” Stone said with a laugh. “We didn’t even ask each other’s name until after that.”

Their friendship is equivalent, and it helps the duo’s duties go much smoother.

Reflective of their titles, President Vasquez, works with university committees as the student representation outside of SGA, sometimes reporting to Dr. Bowen herself to correct and dispel any issues that may arise.

Vice President Stone works with committees on different levels, aiding committees within SGA and organizing the college senators, as well as running executive board meetings.

Stone has introduced a new way to collect student concerns: an online survey that can be accessed via QR codes on flyers around campus, as well as through their Instagram account.

“From these surveys, we can delegate those complaints to committee heads so they can respond to them. If it’s something that concerns Dr. Bowen or Dr. Nichols, Marquis will handle getting those to them. If it is something like a food concern or something, I would

“[Our job] is within student government as a whole, making sure that we [SGA] are doing what we are designed to do, which is be a voice for the students to the administration and all the faculty and staff,” Vasquez said, as Stone nodded in agreement.

These sentiments are paired with SGA-hosted public-forum style open meetings every Wednesday at noon, where students have a chance to directly voice their opinion to the senate and executives, along with several other campus representatives.

The pair hope their passion will flow through them to kickstart campus involvement to the levels it once was before the Covid-19 pandemic.

“One of the main reasons why we do what we do is because we’re also trying to breathe life back into campus, and I am already starting to notice campus engagement going up, but there is definitely more to come,” Vasquez said.

According to Stone, one of the most critical jobs is fielding concerns from the students. Anything ranging from circumstances such as structural problems. This filters down to situations involving lighting issues or vending machines.

In other words, no problem is too small and using QR codes or SGA’s Instagram @atusga, any student can direct their worries to SGA, where issues are sure to be sorted out.