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SGA President Hopes for Changes, Improvements

Brooke Burger

Photo from Landon Grimes
SGA President - Newly-elected president Landon Grimes with his wife Crystal and dog Patch.  Grimes said he relaxes by spending time with his family, reading and playing Playstation.

   Born in Searcy, new Student Government Association President Landon Grimes grew up in Monticello, where he attended Drew Central High School. Grimes has lived in Monticello for 20 years since he first moved here from Searcy in the second grade. 

   “To me, Monticello’s home,” he said. 

   Grimes, an English major and history minor, first came to UAM in 1998, and after taking some time off, returned in 2005. After graduating in May 2008, Grimes plans to return to his roots and teach at either Drew Central or Monticello High School. However, Grimes also aspires to teach at the college level one day. 

   “I would love to teach at UAM,” he said. “It’s a great place; I love it here.” 

   In the spring semester, Grimes, along with other students, began campaigning for various offices in the Student Government Association and joint Student Activities Board. After obtaining the signatures of at least 50 students, Grimes put his name on the ballot for SGA president. Over a period of three days in mid-April, the student body voted and elected Grimes to the position. 

   “I just had ideas about improving the campus,” he said. “There were things I thought could be done a little better or differently, and (SGA president) was the way to get it done.” 

   Newly elected officers will serve a term of one academic year.  Lindsey Kight, director of Student Programs and Activities, said Grimes’s broad range of ideas span all aspects of student life. 

   “He’s got so many great ideas,” she said. 

   Newly-elected secretary Ben Higginbotham agreed that Grimes has a broad range of ideas for the campus, as well as work ethic. 

   “Landon is a great guy and he is very dependable.  He has always been a go to guy if you have ever had anything to talk about,” he said.  “He will be a great president, and he has a lot of great ideas.” 

   Kight said the group is really excited about their jobs and they already have several plans for the campus on the table. 

   “We have many irons in the fire right now, but they are still in the planning stages,” she said. 

   While SGA is still in the preliminary phases of the semester, the group has already implemented one new program, Student Activities Board Movie Night. Grimes’ said he would like to see more permanent activities on campus rather than one big event every month, and Movie Night fits that bill. 

   The event will take place every other Monday in the John F. Gibson University Center at 6:30 p.m. Grimes said they have discussed setting up a suggestion box for students to nominate the movies they want to see. The group will then take the top five movies nominated and have students vote on the one they want to see most.  

   The suggestion box and the voting will take place in the cafeteria, as it is a central location for most residents. According to Kight, the first showing will take place Sept. 17. 

   One idea Grimes spoke about during his campaign, the Senators Program, he still strives to restore as president. According to Grimes, the program allows for two students to serve as senators for each department. 

   The elected senators from each department would represent students of that particular division in SGA meetings by bringing the students’ ideas to the table and addressing other important issues of their division or department. 

   “We’re looking at 30 people making a decision as opposed to four,” he said of the program. “That’s a better way to reach the student body.” 

   The program ended because of lack of student involvement and interest. Grimes said students would not run for the positions in the past. However, he plans to build interest in participating in campus government and activities.

      “We’re going to try to hold elections for those (positions) in the spring with the regular elections,” Grimes said.  

   He also discussed other plans such as reviving the Homecoming parade to include actual floats. According to Grimes, the parade took place in the town square when it was larger and consisted of more floats. He said the groups will consider offering prizes for the best floats entered in the parade. 

   Another iron SGA has in the fire will take a little more work. Grimes said they would like to bring larger events to campus, such as a big-name speaker or a concert. However, the group has to work through the budget and find an affordable entertainer before they can announce definitive plans on this topic. Grimes did say he hopes to have something in the spring. 

   In addition to serving the student body as SGA president, Grimes also participates in the campus community through other organizations and positions. He serves as president of the Ambassadors, as well as being a member of Sigma Tau Delta National English Honor Society and the Missionary Baptist Student Fellowship.  

   In addition to his academic pursuits, Grimes has also worked in the Admissions Office of Harris Hall for two years. He credited his job with some of his success in winning the SGA president election, saying the position gives him a chance to meet students as soon as they come on campus. Actively involved in the campus community, Grimes encourages others to do the same. 

   “It’s your school, get involved,” Grimes said recalling something he heard from Chancellor Jack Lassiter. “If you want to see something done, come and voice your opinion.”  

   SGA meets every other Tuesday (depending on the calendar) at 12:40 p.m. in the Caucus Room of the University Center. Both Grimes and Kight encouraged the campus community to get involved with SGA. 

   “We always encourage students to come to the meetings if they want to see changes,” Kight said. “We can’t know what the students want unless they let us know.”


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ŠThe Voice 2007
Revised 01/13/2008 03:29:05 PM —