FMU delegates win award during first conference visit in nearly two decades

Christopher McKagen, Staff Writer

FMU students were awarded the honor of Best Medium Delegation at the South Carolina Student Legislature (SCSL) fall session held in Columbia, S.C. from Wednesday, Oct. 26 through Saturday, Oct. 29.

The FMU delegation consisted of 10 students who attended the 55th Session of the South Carolina Student Legislature.

The delegations are considered for awards by size with “medium” denoting a student body of between 2,000 and 8,000 students.

The delegation received the award “in recognition of exemplary cohesion and activity for the 2011 fall session,” the highest honor the group could have received, Student Government Association (SGA) President Cody Simpson said.

“We did not even know that there were awards,” Simpson said. “We tried our best. It showed when we got the award Saturday morning. It felt good to have Francis Marion represented on the state level.”

Simpson said that FMU had not sent a delegation to the SCSL since the early 1990s.

“We were on our toes and didn’t know what to expect,” Simpson said.  “We were in the State Capital, and it was just students running the event. There were some advisers there, but they didn’t interact.”

Nine members of the FMU delegation are current members of the FMU Student Government Association.

The students who attended the SCSL session were seniors Ronald Gailliard, Shana Glover, Logan Trively, Flossie Brockington and Michael Glymph; juniors Cody Simpson, Miesha Thompson, Demetrius Vaughn and Tyler King; and sophomore Anna Carolina Chinnes.

President of FMU Dr. Fred Carter said that when he was approached by Simpson about funding for the delegation to attend the event, he felt the group deserved to go and that attendance would be a valuable experience.

“Student government has done a terrific job the last few years here,” Carter said. “It seemed to me that they deserved it based upon the performance and all that they had achieved last year.”

“It also gives them an opportunity to work through a number of issues that I think affect students at colleges and universities around the state,” Carter continued. “It gives them the type of experience that allows them to become more proficient at what they do, which is serving the students of this university.”

Carter said that the FMU delegation winning an award made him proud and showed that the group operated well during the session.

“Obviously, they im-pressed a great many people there … with the issues they took on, and, given the nature of the award, the way that they interacted with one another,” Carter said. “And I am very proud of that.”

Simpson said that the SCSL normally requires that a delegation attend two consecutive sessions before a member can be appointed to a position in the organization.

However, Miesha Thompson was appointed to the SCSL Supreme Court after a recommendation by the FMU delegation.

“When I found out that I was going to be a Justice in the Supreme Court, I was excited,” Thompson said.  “I was honored to have been appointed to be on the Supreme Court.”

Following the first day of the session, student delegates had to be present at the State House at 8:15 a.m. for morning meetings.

Throughout each of the days, there were chamber, house and senate meetings for legislation debate, as well as joint session debates.

Representative Trey Gowdy, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for the 4th District of South Carolina, spoke to all of the 12 present delegations on Friday, Oct. 28.

Simpson said that the group, minus graduating seniors, plans to attend the spring session of the SCSL in Myrtle Beach. He also said that an application process will most likely be the means that they use to decide who will fill the open seats in the FMU delegation.