What I Learned From Running For SGA At Liberty University
I have learned more than I think I could possibly write in a single article about life and politics by running for SGA office at Liberty University.
The office I ran for specifically within the SGA was Freshman Class President.
The reason that I had originally decided to run was because I felt a calling to.
Faith has always played a big part in my life and this was no different.
After I decided to run in August of 2016, I put together a team, budget, and strategy to run do it.
I learned very quickly that this was not like high school.
After talking to several people, I realized that others had budgets way higher than mine, but I knew that the power of communication and face to face interaction would be powerful.
I knew this because my father always stressed professionalism and being personal with people as the most effective tool.
Others had told me the same thing—so I understood it to be true.
In the process of running, I came to understand that presenting myself professionally is important and that you only have a few seconds to attract a voter.
I knew what my vision was and while I would have loved to speak about it for several minutes, I realized I had perhaps thirty seconds before someone gained interest or lost interest.
I experienced this quickly as I saw faces turn into forced smiles, or more preferably, eyebrows raise in interest.
I knew that in running, I would have to be personal with people, but do it quickly.
Very quickly actually.
Many people wandered on to other booths and others had food to attract voters.
In fact, one table made people pancakes.
I realized that it would be important for me to send people out to convince voters to vote.
At the table I ran, I left a video playing that expressed my views and went out to different people and tried to get them to vote.
Many already voted and were unable to vote again.
I learned this rather quickly and went out of my way to speak to several classes that had several hundred students.
All in all, I spoke to over 1500 people in only a few hours.
That evening, I found out that I won the election.
I was beaming.
The team that my Vice-President and I put together was exceptional, and we won our first election.
The team was quick and efficient and most importantly, personable.
The only way to attract a voter is to truly connect with them.
I learned through running for class president that it would be hard but definitely worth it if I could help people out.
I also learned that professionalism and being personable are the most important aspects of a campaign.
People care more about personal connection than they do about a video or a poster.
I remember a professor once told me that there a few things someone can tell about an individual.
Amongst those things were if someone cares, is passionate, and if they have vision.
I actually listened to people and went out of my way to understand why they wanted SGA to do for them.
I promised them that I would do my best to help them.
I remember the people I promised I would try to help and I have advocated for each and every one of them.
Those are the things that I think about before I go to bed.
I found myself writing those issues down and petitioning my own resources and connections to try and get the job done.
In holding the office that I hold, I have realized many things about myself and others.
I have realized that sometimes it can be really hard to get something done when people disagree with you.
I learned that leadership is service to others.
I learned that in order to get things done, it is important to be assertive.
In a room with others who have also been elected to represent others, it is important to go to bat for those you represent.
With a freshman class nearing four thousand students, it is incredibly important to represent the general interest of the class, foster unity, and bring up specific issues that can be fixed.
Most of what I do involves listening to others and researching different ways to help them.
Although this takes up a lot of time, I enjoy every second of it because I get to help people every day.
Overall, the experience of running for an office in SGA is stressful but it teaches discipline, humility, organizational skills, and teamwork.
In fact, I would go as far to state that is nearly impossible for someone to win a student election if they cannot work in a team.
If SGA has taught me one thing, it is that helping people is worth every second of potential adversity.
This adversity develops patience and resilience which are two traits that only motivate me to continue working hard on others behalf.
Leadership is service, regardless of the title that comes before your name.
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Cover Photo Credit: Taber Andrew Bain/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)