Patriots get proactive

Robyn McNeil, Copy Editor

Students presented their ideas about the betterment of campus life and recreation to members of Francis Marion University’s (FMU) administration at the annual student forum on Tuesday, March 5 in the John M. Thomason Auditorium.

Cody Simpson, president of the Student Government Association (SGA), said SGA sponsors the forum because it improves student-to-faculty relations and encourages students to become proactive in the campus community.

“The purpose of the forum is to get students more informed about the interworking of the university’s departments,” Simpson said.  “It allows students to voice their opinions as well as develop an understanding of what it takes for the administration to keep the university running.”

One representative from each of the university’s service departments was present to answer questions about a range of topics, such as career development, financial assistance and campus involvement.

Director of Career Development Ronald Miller responded to students’ concerns about beginning a career after graduation.  Miller said that his department provides guidance by helping students explore their professional interests, find internships and develop an effective résumé.

“What we find is most people know what they want to do,” Miller said.  “The matter is really getting to where they want to be, and we can help them with that.”

Felicia Chambers, a representative from the Office of Financial Assistance, answered questions about FMU’s scholarship opportunities as well as those concerning financial assistance offered by other institutions.  Chambers explained that most of the scholarships provided by the university are renewable and can be reapplied if students maintain satisfactory GPAs and academic records.  She also said the university accepts scholarships that are sponsored by licensed businesses and organizations.

Vice President of Student Affairs Teresa Ramey responded to questions about increasing the number of campus activities and improving student involvement in social events.  Ramey explained that attendance may be improved if the department could survey students’ interests.

“The [University Programming Board] is very active, but people are not always willing to attend events,” Ramey said.  “What needs to happen is that the ideal programs need to be identified.  We need more information about the types of programs students would like to see.”

Morgan Yarborough, senior education major, shared Ramey’s views.

“In order for [FMU] events to be better, we have to start going,” Yarborough said.  “We have to take that extra time – that thirty minutes or hour and a half – to go support our organizations.”

Tiffany Roper, senior mass communication major, attended the event and said she believes the forum was a great opportunity because it allowed students to directly address the administration and discuss their views about university life.

“I thought the student forum was a great way to have that face-to-face interaction with faculty and staff on campus,” Roper said.  “They could actually hear our questions, comments and concerns.”

Simpson said that students’ interest in the betterment and preservation of the university is encouraging and believes the forum will have a positive impact on campus involvement.

“I would like to see students take ownership of our campus, believe in our community and take pride in our university,” Simpson said.  “People are always asking for more and more, but there are so many opportunities that we can take part in now.  The student response to this event shows that we are headed in the right direction.”