The Talon staff sat down with Tyler Clark, president of Oklahoma Christian University’s Student Government Association (SGA), to discuss the organization’s work on campus this semester, as well as his second term as president.
Q. For people who may not fully understand the purpose of SGA, what would you want them to know?
“I would describe the SGA as a body of students, primarily elected individuals, who get together to serve the student body in a variety of different capacities—from helping serve the needs of minority students to helping fix things on campus. If the stairs are broken, you can let the SGA know and we have some funds that can work on that. We also write the rules for the Student Government and really just try to serve in all types of ways.”
Q. What initially sparked your interest in running for a student body government position?
“Well, I guess to answer that question we would have to go back to my high school days because I did enjoy getting to be part of STUCO in high school. It’s a really great community. It is the opportunity to serve other people and to make good friendships. I’ll be able to look back on these times and have some really good memories of retreats or doing various projects together.”
Q. How has this year been different from your first year in office?
“A lot changes. People cycle through the SGA and you have new executives. You have new people who come in with different passions that you try to help enable and get them to do great stuff. The first year as an executive, you are trying to get your feet under you and then the second year, you kind of know more of what you are doing. You can kind of build off of that.”
Q. What’s the hardest part about being SGA president?
“Any time you feel that you let down a group, a committee or an individual and haven’t been able to serve them in the best capacity—that is probably the hardest thing.”
Q. So far this year, what have you accomplished in SGA?
“My goodness, it is really hard to try and list off all of the things that have been done. Some of the bigger things that have gone on—we recently had our Eagles in Paradise Date Week and gave away around 500 milkshakes to the student body there. Different groups come in and request funding from the SGA, so we have gone through a couple of funding requests.
“I don’t think I can label it as the most impressive, but one of the most thankless jobs that our SGA does is maintaining the recycling for OC. A couple of years back, the Healthy Living Committee purchased recycling bins, put them around campus and established a system of collection. It takes lots of hours, people don’t really know what is going on and they get flooded with emails whenever it gets full, so I have a deep appreciation for that. I have also collected a few times this year and kind of saw all of the work it takes.”
Q. What steps are in place to ensure the funding SGA receives each semester is used appropriately?
“At the beginning of the year, we are told how much money we receive, then the treasurer and the executives go through a process of allocating those funds to our different committees. Then the senate, altogether, votes on that. So, upfront, you kind of have that in place to ensure those funds are dispersed evenly and that people agree on that.
“From there, if an organization wants to request money, they have to go through a process. They have to fill out a form that then goes to the Appropriations Committee, who will help them through the process. The Appropriations Committee will then have the ability to send them on to the senate and then the senate will vote to give out those funds. The committee chairs also all have access to their committee budgets as well and together as committees, they can decide where to put those funds. So, there are a couple of systems in place to ensure funding is used appropriately.”
Q. What kind of events is SGA organizing for students next semester?
“Really, we kind of go by a semester-by-semester basis. I can tell you that we have been preparing our constitution and bylaws, as well as Spring Sing rules as we are preparing for that to take place next semester. We have finals resort that comes at the end of each semester. Those are some of the more traditional things that have gone on.”
Q. Can you tell us about Harmony?
“Harmony is an event that one of our committees is volunteering their time in order to help that organization. It is essentially taking the Spring Sing events at our sister Church of Christ universities like Harding, Pepperdine and Abilene Christian, taking the winners of each of their Spring Sing shows and putting them together for one event. They will bring two hosts from each participating university to come to OC’s campus and perform live. In between those host performances, we are going to play the video of whenever each university performed their Spring Sing event.”
Q. How has the Student Government Association impacted your college experience?
“So much. Probably the greatest way it has impacted me is just the people I have gotten to meet through the SGA. Just the relationships I have made there will probably be the most lasting impact.”
Q. What legacy do you hope you leave as SGA President?
“I want to have been part of and helped create a really hardworking group of students, creating really big shoes for the next group to come and fill in.”