On April 4, Southern Miss’ Gulf Park campus held SGA elections for the upcoming school year with a voter turnout of 264 students.
Junior tourism management major Kaytlin Dorris was elected President of SGA.
“I wanted to run for president because I would love the opportunity to have a more direct hand in representing the student body and in coordinating with the university administration to promote student involvement and success,” Dorris said. “I have very much enjoyed my time as the Activities Chair for the SGA this year. Working with the current [Gulf Park] SGA President Zachary Stewart has inspired me to want to be more involved with SGA.”
Dorris organized several activities on the Gulf Park campus, including Tailgating Under the Oaks, Mardi Gras Ball and the Jazz and Blues Festival. When she was not assisting in the planning of events, she participated in Welcome Week, Diversity Week and Lunch and Learn to become familiar with the student body and methods aiding in student success.
Dorris said she plans on continuing her active participation as president-elect.
“I plan on connecting with students by making myself available on campus and participating in as many events as possible to be able to build relationships with students,” Dorris said. “I want to connect with students through my relationships with them, and the best way to do that is to spend as much time as possible with everyone.”
Dorris said Stewart, the current president, taught her how to address multiple people’s opinions and make a diplomatic decision.
Stewart will formally transfer his authoritative power to Dorris on April 18 during the annual SGA banquet and awards ceremony in Hardy Hall.
Stewart’s platform during the last election included transparency and communication with Hattiesburg’s SGA and the administration. Stewart said he believes that Dorris will have to continue the conversation regarding a relationship with the Hattiesburg campus SGA.
“There are issues with the structure of the two SGAs, as well as IHL (Institutions of Higher Learning) and University recognition that need to be dealt with. Any future arrangement must be fair and maintain the independent voice of the Gulf Coast student body,” Stewart said.
Aiding Dorris in the coming year on the executive board will be newly-elected Vice President Casey Baker, Treasurer Teneala Spencer, Attorney General Jordan Roberts and Secretary Jennifer Balcazar.
Equality Chair Adam Terrell as well as representatives for the College of Nursing, College of Education and Psychology, College of Health, College of Business and Graduate program were also elected – Amy Cuthell and Emily Stivender, Tiffiney Jones, Jaime Norwood, J. Jayne Jackson and Evelyn Sullivan respectively.
On Thursday, April 6, there will be a runoff for the representatives of the College of Science and Technology between Ashley Chasez, Alexander Sullivan, Surya Tej Rudra, and Veronica White.
Students also voted on transitioning to a smoke-free campus. However, there was a tie of 132-132.