Friday, April 16, 2010

Matthew Belcher wins SGA Presidency [reprinted from The Concordian]

The following is from the April 14, issue of The Concordian, Concord's student newspaper. Click here to see the story on The Concordian's website, along with a comment that I left. Click here for more SGA election coverage.

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Wendy Holdren
Editor-in-Chief, The Concordian

Matthew Belcher is the new Student Government Association President elect. The winners were announced at last Wednesday’s SGA meeting.

Belcher has served as a Senator during his sophomore year, housing chair, and multiple committees. Last year he was elected Business Manager under the Yeager Administration.

How does it feel to be the new SGA President?

Oh, man. I feel that it’s rewarding and exciting to be working for the students. It shows that they’re on the same page as me. They agree with what I’m trying to do.

Were you expecting to win the presidency?

I knew it was going to be a tight race. There were only three of us running, but I didn’t know how the votes were going to fall. I was hopeful, but realistic that the race was going to be tight.

Did you ever see yourself becoming president?

That was actually my goal. Starting out, I knew that becoming president would be something I wanted. I got executive experience under the Prince administration, and then I was elected Business Manager. After I got Business Manager, I knew I wanted to run for President.

What are some of your biggest goals as president?

To try and find a way for students to better communicate with SGA, reallocate time and dollars to improve student life, keep a check on the administrative side of things, follow policies closely. But most of all, I want to make sure the student voice hasn’t been left out. Although we’re just here for four years, students can have an impact. Time will change, but each policy should reflect student input.

Was there anything in particular that you didn’t like, or that you would change about the Yeager administration?

No, not really. He ran a really cohesive administration. I might have handled opinion pieces in the Concordian differently. You shouldn’t try to put people in a negative light. For next year, I hope to have a really close working relationship with the Concordian. I would like to have a staff writer present an objective view of the SGA, and possibly interview executives.

What do you foresee being your biggest obstacle as president?

The university has to answer to admissions, parents, and students. Parents pay tuition. That has caused many hurdles with the visitation policy. Our funding is based on student enrollment, so we also want to keep admissions numbers high. So trying to satisfy the parent and student aspect will be difficult, but I’m more than happy to accept that challenge.

How do you feel about the other members who have been elected?

I feel they all have something new to bring to the table. My whole ticket was not elected, but we’ve already started communication with the other executives. I feel we can all maintain a professional working relationship.

Will you be trying anything drastically new?

Yes. I’m going to be asking that a lot of money be spent on campus objectives such as the “welcome back weekend” which will cost between $35 - $45,000. We’re talking to different departments that may be willing to put up some budgets. It would probably be the weekend after check-in. It’s something a lot of universities do. WVU does it every year. Their concerts get bigger every year, so I wanted to get our foot in the door. I can’t wait to see what happens.

If you could accomplish one thing above all others, what would it be?

If I could bring a type of convenience store to campus. I’m not sure if it can be done in a year’s time. Hopefully we’ll get somewhere with that. You don’t know where or even if an office will be moved. If we can free up some space, then that could be a possibility.

Belcher will be sworn in on April 28. After he is sworn in, he plans on creating an ad hoc committee to review policy changes. He will also begin taking applications for the chair of that ad hoc committee.

"We just want to make sure the student voice will be heard."

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