Student Leadership Praised by SBP Thompson in 'State' Address

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Student Body President Katherine Thompson spoke to King's students and staff through a "State of the Student Body" address and Cabinet Q&A, highlighting the efforts this semester by House Presidents, the Council, various committees and student organizations. Thompson called the gathering today one for celebration as she recounted examples of how leadership is improving student life.

"[This is a] celebration of a community each and every one of you continue to build every time you step onto this campus," Thompson said. "I can say with full sincerity every House President is working tirelessly for your benefit.”

House highlights mentioned in the address include House of Elizabeth’s retreat exceptional turnout of 45 girls, Ten Boom President Emma Brown’s emphasis on purpose behind each House activity and the House of Lewis’ intentional undertaking in improving alumni relations. 

Thompson then went onto discuss the hard work of the Council’s three committees—the Budget Committee, House Future Committee, and Constitutional Audit Committee. These committees dedicate at least three to four hours of work bi-weekly in order to improve student experience.

She gave praise to many student organizations and their efforts to enrich the King’s community. She is proud of the Empire State Tribune’s leading forces, Michael Sheetz and Darien Evans, for contributing 35 hours of work per week and getting on track to publish more than 80 articles this semester. Acclaim was also given to head of ESTv, Ivan Olivo, for seeing a 153% in viewership since last year, Isabelle McCauley and The King’s Players for selling out three performances of Arcadia and Dean Graham for a successful reboot of the Troubadour magazine. 

Thompson mentioned the leadership of The King’s Dancers for their success in fundraising $170 and having on average 20 students meeting twice a week to dance together. The King’s Athletic community is finding more consistent support, with 25 players for both men's and women's basketball teams and 10 to 15 students cheering from the sidelines at each game. City Engagement Director Sadie Elliott has connected each House with a ministry -- her most recent partnership is between the House of Truth and Let My People Go, an anti-sex-trafficking organization. Lastly, Refuge is averaging an attendance of 80-90 students at its bi-weekly gatherings.

"[The Cabinet has] literally poured their blood, sweat, tears, and hearts into their service this year," Thompson noted.

Director of Student Organizations Christina Markakis has set up a training program to equip student organization leaders with the skills they need for success. Director of Communications Helen Healey is currently working with the Marketing and Communications department to launch student government and organization landing pages on the King’s website. Director of Finance Megan Starnes has explored innovative ways to track expenses and instruct student leaders how to be responsible with finances. Director of Student Events Michelle Linhardt and her events committee have put on events such as Fall Picnic and the Halloween party, and will continue to use feedback provided by students and House Presidents to improve events in the future. Thompson reminded everyone of the next event put on by the committee, Cocoa and Cards on December 6th 12:15-2pm in the City Room, where students can write letters for active duty military and veterans. This semester, Director of Spiritual Life Michael Martinez led a successful day of fasting and prayer and launched the Difficult Discussions series.

A Q&A with the Cabinet then began. A student asked what each member of the team was most proud of from this semester. In response, Thompson reiterated how proud she is of her team.

“It’s a freaking blessing to work with them,” Thompson exclaimed.

Martinez, Starnes and Healey agreed that Fall Retreat was their best achievement and they enjoy that the team finds ways to have fun together.

Another student asked how the team expected to continue their momentum through Christmas break and onto next semester. DoSL Martinez said he plans on assessing all the notes he collected this semester, to figure out how he can put them to use for next semester. Thompson reassured everyone that the team will stay focused and in touch with each other via Skype and Asana.

Lastly, a student asked about the possibility of cutting House budgets by $500 and how more thought can be put into elections when deciding who the next president will be and if they can handle the fiscal responsibilities that come with the role. Healey announced in response that there will not be a budget cut next year and note that the original cut would have actually been $200. Starnes said she wants to equip House presidents with the proper skills to manage a budget and that “fiscal responsibility is always a good thing.”

President Thompson closed the gathering and said to let her know if anyone has any outstanding questions or concerns.

CampusSavanna Wilson