SGA launches a new way to volunteer

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Southern Miss SGA introduces The Varsity.

More than 70 students have signed up to volunteer for upcoming events with the Student Government Association through their new sub-branch Varsity. Varsity is a volunteer-based group focused on helping students connect and support the SGA with events such as Eaglepalooza.

SGA President and senior communications major McKenna Stone explained that the reason she originally wanted to run for SGA president was Varsity.

Before becoming president of SGA, she noticed students did not have a lot of opportunities to serve in SGA. Stone feels that Varsity is the perfect answer for those who want to get involved, but do not have enough time or commitment to become an SGA member.

“We want Varsity to be a place for any student to get involved,” Stone said. “We want it to be managed for people’s schedules.”

Using the SGA website, students can currently sign up to help with Eaglepalooza and Mental Health Awareness Week. Students will also be able to sign up to assist with homecoming, the Miss USM Pageant, Lighting the Way for the Holiday Season, The Big Event and It’s on Us at a later date.

“We need manpower to make Eaglepalooza happen. We need a village to make homecoming happen. There are so many events we need help with,” Stone said. “before this year, we were getting that help from SGA.”

Senior Aaliyah Elbert never had time to get involved with SGA, but, as a political science major, many of her friends were.

“[Volunteering] was something that I wanted to do after seeing all of my friends got involved,” Elbert said. “[Varsity] gives me an opportunity, as someone who’s never been a part of SGA, to experience what I could’ve done if I had served.”

Students that sign up to volunteer are required to attend a two-hour training session and will be given a free volunteer shirt and lanyard with their name tag.

“I think it will be a great way for transfer students and freshmen get familiar USM culture,” Stone said. “They will get to meet all kinds of students, get to network, get leadership experience, community service hours and put it on their resume, and maybe they will fall in love with what they are doing.”

Holly Stringfellow, a junior biological science major, said that being in Kappa Delta, one of many sororities on campus, means she needs community service hours. She believes Varsity is a good way to get involved with an established organization while filling those hours.

“A lot of Greek life members have a hard time getting those hours, so I think it is great that they have the option to do community service on campus and really impact the people that we’re with every day,” Stringfellow said.

Stone said her biggest goal with Varsity is to let students know that they have a voice in SGA.

“It’s not me making decisions for the student body. It’s not even [executive officers] making decisions,” Stone said. “Every decision we make comes from feedback from the student body.”

Stone said she hopes people serving in Varsity will be able to network and share ideas with those in branch leadership roles and talk about issues on campus. Stone wants Varsity to be a stepping stone for those looking to join SGA in a leadership role

“If anyone wants to know a little about SGA,” Elbert said. “This is definitely the route to go.”