SGA hosts multi-institution conference

Gabi Wy

USI’s Student Government Association will host the Student Government Coalition Conference Friday and Saturday, involving over 100 students from 10 institutions including IUPUI, Hanover College, Indiana State University, Eastern Illinois University and branches of IU.

Ball State University started the conference and hosted it for the past two years, then decided to open up the opportunity to other institutions.

President Alexa Bueltel said she hopes the conference will network the university’s  SGA with student governments from the surrounding region.

“We decided this would be not just a great opportunity to showcase our student government and what we do and accomplish, but also just our university as a whole because it’s such a great place to be,” she said, as quoted in a previous article by The Shield.

Bueltel said the conference begins 6 p.m. Friday with registration and networking in the Performance Center. Welcoming, icebreakers and roundtables end at 9 p.m.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. Saturday morning, followed by a keynote presentation, breakout sessions, lunch, tours of campus and a closing session.

“I’m really excited to see it all come together,” Bueltel said.

Planning for this year’s conference has been in the works since summer, said conference committee member Morgan Fields.

The Nursing and Health Professions Representative said the Dean of Students Office and Student Development Programs helped with supplies, funding and finding a speaker.

Keynote speaker Stan Pearson II is a “bilingual speaker, motivational comedian, author and host,” according to the conference brochure.

“(Pearson) is talking about leadership and five ways to lead with purpose,” Fields said. “Student Development Programs gave us a bunch of websites where we could look up speakers. He’s supposed to be really funny and inspiring.”

His closing speech will take place 3 p.m. Saturday and is open to all students.

“(As a committee), we figured out what the breakout sessions were, where they would be and who was going to speak at each session,” Fields said. “We wanted them to be quality over quantity.”

Breakout speakers from USI include Fields, SGA Social and Cultural Representative Damien Burge, Faculty Senate member Jason Fertig and Dean of Students Bryan Rush. Topics include recruitment and retention, conflict management and diversity.

“We opened up the breakout sessions to be presented by other schools, which is a really cool part,” Fields said. “We wanted them to be good sessions where people learn a lot.”

She also worked on designing and ordering T-Shirts, lanyards and programs.

“I think this helps put USI on the map,” Fields said. “It’s awesome that we’re stepping up and doing this and taking the lead.”

She said she’s proud of the work SGA has put into making the conference successful.

“I love how we had an idea, we had a goal and we accomplished it,” Fields said. “It’s great when you’ve been working on something for so long and you finally get to see it happen.”