A year ago, Student Government Association President Alex Cassell was campaigning to be vice president and won the election on a split ticket.

Little did he know, he would become president for the following year right after winning the election.

“I received the news while I was in Poland and was told I needed someone in SGA to swear me in,” Cassell said.

“I was sworn in at a hotel lobby on foreign soil, which is definitely a first as far as SGA presidents go.”

Cassell said that when he was given the news overseas, students who were also studying abroad asked him if he was going to go through with it.

“I think if it happens to you, you should step up and take the position,” Cassell said. “Dr. Jeff Howard has always been my biggest advocate, and he didn’t really give me a choice anyway, which is good.”

However, Cassell said he can’t take all of the credit for the work that has happened in SGA the past year.

“I talked to this former SGA president from 1984, and he told me that I needed an all-star cabinet to rely on,” Cassell said. “I’ve really thought about it, and I can say I’ve had an all-star cabinet.”

With Bristol roots and parents who can say they are alumni of ETSU, Cassell feels deeply and personally integrated into the university.

“I wanted to be involved in SGA because I’ve always been a part of ETSU,” Cassell said. “It’s always impacted my life and my family.”

Cassell said that while he was growing up, his parents often took him to various ETSU sporting events and other events on the campus.

“Both of my parents went here, and they’re both very lucky to say the least to get out of where they grew up,” Cassell said. “Now my mom can say she’s been a teacher for 32 years, has a master’s degree and is the first person in her family to go to college.”

Due to his family gaining higher education from ETSU and the impact it has made on him, Cassell said he wants to give back and do what he can for the future of the university.

“SGA has really shaped me into becoming a better person and really forced me to grow up,” Cassell said.

“There was a point before when I was a sophomore where I wasn’t sure I wanted to even continue with college, so I know I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for all of the opportunities given to me and people I have met.”

Cassell hopes to see the future of SGA have more collaboration with Senate faculty, getting the library fee through for 24 hours, 5 days a week and more transparency.

Cassell said he is unsure on whether he will be a part of Senate next year, but still plans to be involved with the campus as much as possible.

“In the words of the great philosopher Kenny Rogers, ‘You gotta know when to hold ‘em, and know when to fold ‘em,’” Cassell said, “and I think it’s time for me to fold ‘em.”