It is an exciting time for change at ETSU, especially for the Student Government Association.

Pooja Shah was recently elected president, along with Nathan Farnor as vice president and Emily Marmon as secretary/treasurer.

“I am incredibly excited to be in a position to draw attention to true student needs,” Shah said. “This is a time that student input is needed the most, a time that students have to shape the future of this university.”

Shah has been a part of the SGA for the past three years at ETSU, which has allowed her to speak to, as well as listen to many students, faculty and staff.

“It has guided my direction in identifying the changes that would most benefit ETSU,” Shah said. “The major areas that the other executives and I have chosen to focus on are safety, diversity and academics.”

(Photograph by MC Kelly/East Tennessean)

(Photograph by MC Kelly/East Tennessean)

Some of the goals Shah and her team are implementing include sexual harassment and alcohol abuse prevention education in ETSU 101 classes, sponsoring a “Day of Unity” on campus and reforming the standard grading policy.

“(However), I realize the breadth of student needs, so transforming SGA in a more receptive and efficient body is a major focus that can best address these needs,” Shah said. “Communicating and collaborating with students, administration and SGA can not only help us to make these changes, but also will increase transparency.”

Shah also said SGA plans to actively reach out and speak to student organizations to seek their input, and from there, collaborate with the administration and take action.

“Being in a public role is challenging, especially knowing that not every person on this campus will be pleased with every action that is taken,” Shah said. “Though it is challenging and may come with criticism, it is so important to take action based on what is right and what will benefit the student body.”

This year’s election was much more intense than past SGA elections, and according to Shah, part of the problem is the process.

“Many election rules are not stated specifically or decided by the Commission on a year-by-year basis,” Shah said. “The controversies this year were taken to the University Judicial Board, and the board stated that the election commission acted appropriately. However, SGA plans on reforming the election process in order to create smoother and more positive SGA elections in the future.”

Shah, Farnor and Marmon are all their own individuals and are very different, which is what this team uses to make it a stronger one.

“We are united by the fact that our job is not to bring our own opinions and biases into SGA, but rather to encourage SGA members to make decisions based on the good of the students and university,” Shah said. “Working with Vice President Farnor and Secretary/Treasurer Marmon has been nothing but a pleasure. We have brought our individual perspectives and strengths to our team and created goals that we are excited about working toward.”

Shah’s role is to create a cohesive Cabinet and communicate with administration and university committees. According to Shah, Farnor has many plans to revamp processes within the Senate, and Secretary/Treasurer Marmon is already working to update the website and make SGA resources more accessible to the students.

“My advice to incoming students is to enjoy ETSU — it is a university comprised of outstanding and dedicated students, faculty and staff,” Shah said. “Take your academics seriously, but have fun by getting involved in the numerous opportunities that ETSU provides. Each event is an opportunity to make connections and find your true passions and interests. Go Bucs!”