Mercer’s student organizations turn virtual


Anisah Muhammad

SGA President Adam Penland on an April 2 Zoom call.

Many Mercer student organization leaders are trying to figure out how to adapt to the new reality we find ourselves living in.

Adam Penland, the president of Mercer’s Student Government Association, said the most important thing is communication. Mercer’s governing body has been communicating via Zoom. 

“Don’t hold back from having these meetings just because you’re not in person. And SGA is figuring out that we can get just as much done over Zoom as we can in person,” he said.

They are currently working on a way for students to view the Zoom sessions so that students can continuously reach out to SGA. 

“Anything that SGA can help student organizations with, please let us know, because we would be more than happy to send out stuff off of our Facebook, off of our Instagram,” he said.

Alexandria Shells, who is the vice president of URGE or Uniting for Reproductive Justice and Gender Equality, also said communication is key.

“Because everyone is not on campus anymore, it’s not like we can all just go to the library. There are so many other things going around at home, and so making sure that you’re communicating with each other and making sure that everybody’s on the same page and has the same timeline,” she said.

Shells said one of the organization’s big pushes this school year has been gender-inclusive housing.

“As of right now, we are still on plan in terms of things that we can do from our student end. However, in terms of our administration’s end, we understand that right now it is very hectic in trying to get everything situated,” she said. “We’re doing things moreso that are student-led: getting people to fill out our surveys, writing the proposal for administration, getting club support.”

While members of SGA experienced event cancellations, URGE did not have to cancel any in-person events. In fact, Shells said the organization has a virtual meeting planned on April 9 where they will discuss ways to practice good mental health. They will also provide an update on the push for gender-inclusive housing.

For organizations that did have to cancel in-person events, Penland, said event cancellations will not affect future funding for organizations.

“SGA does realize that student organizations will be returning this money to us, but we also want student organizations to know, we understand it’s out of their control that events get cancelled, conferences get cancelled,” he said. 

He encourages students to look to the future.

“It is very discouraging at first. You have to cancel these events, and SGA had several things planned that we were looking forward to, but try not to get discouraged. Still have these meetings, and once we get back on campus in the fall, I know we can pick back up and do the things we wanted to,” he said.