New JUTN student body president works for greater campus community

KNOXVILLE — Junior Lexi Overcash, the new student body president of JUTN, is hoping to begin her presidency as a part of the Student Government Association by finding new ways to create a better community on campus.

Overcash said the past two student body presidents, Matt Shears and Kaleb Mullins provided a great mold for leadership.

“Under Matt Shears, I got to be part of major events,” Overcash said. “I thought his leadership was excellent across the board.”

Overcash said that Mullins also did a great job and hopes to emulate how actively involved he was in SGA cabinet meetings.

“I respect all of them very highly,” Overcash said. “Under both of them, I couldn’t have asked for better leaders.”

Although some students expressed concern about lack of communication before the most recent SGA election, Overcash said she feels like SGA communicated in every way that they could have.

“We can only do nominations a week or two in advance of when we actually vote, so we did our nominations in our SGA meeting on Wednesday,” Overcash said. “Then, we tried to get the news out right away of who it was, but we really only have two platforms to communicate to students and that is our social media and SGA announcements during chapel.”

Overcash said she recognizes that these two platforms are not working well and that there needs to be a better way to get information to students.

“It’s obvious that communication is a problem and that those two platforms are not working necessarily,” Overcash said. “Currently, we are in the works of creating a new platform of how we are going to address it.”

Overcash said she could not disclose what the new platform was because it is still in the works.

“We are hoping that this new way will allow for us to communicate all announcements and have them all in one place,” Overcash said. “Because there is a communication problem in general on campus, we are really focusing on communication and unity next year to relieve that stress of not having everyone on the same page.”

Overcash said she hopes to answer a great need in her opinion by instrumenting community among all of the organizations on campus.

“As I have been a member of other organizations myself, I have realized that there is a lot of disunity between SGA and the clubs,” Overcash said. “I think that is important because SGA is the representation of the student body to administration.

“If we’re not connected with them we won’t accurately represent them to people higher up,” she added.

Bridging the gap between student organizations and SGA is one of Overcash’s main goals and she said she has already thought of ways to accomplish this goal.

She said she believes one way to do this is by having monthly meetings with all student club or organization leaders to “come together to create a vision.”

“[We want to] be on the same page so then even though we all have different things we are focusing on, our general mission is the same,” she said.

Overcash hopes this will create better unity and passion on campus to allow SGA to be able to serve the student body more effectively.

Overcash said another one of her goals is to gain greater student involvement in events on campus.

“We are trying to create a bigger passion and drive for students to be involved on campus,” Overcash said. “We feel like the student body has just kind of been at like a dull energy level, so we really want to spark that somehow.”

Overcash said she wants campus events to be more family friendly, which has inspired many of SGA’s plans for the upcoming Founder’s Day celebration.

“One of the big things we are doing for Founder’s Day is tie-dye t-shirts for students and campus kids if the their parents sent in their sizes,” Overcash said. “We are also doing a big blow up obstacle course and a Slip N Slide.”

Overcash said she also wanted to create events throughout the day that were not athletics oriented.

“We have kind of realized that a lot of our events are geared towards people of like a certain type,” Overcash said. “Some people do not like the physical sports nature of things, so we wanted to include things to incorporate everyone.”

Overcash said she is open to suggestions from the student body on how SGA can serve them better.

“I am really looking forward to serving the student body next year,” Overcash said. “I think the cabinet that is in place is going to do an excellent job and I look forward to helping guide them next year.”

Students can direct any questions or suggestions they may have to SGA@Johnsonu.edu.

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