Mercer’s Student Government Association passing the mantle with virtual swear-in ceremony


Mercer’s 2019 Student Government Association.

Despite a few differences to keep social distancing, it’s business as usual for Mercer’s Student Government Association.

The SGA is wrapping up another year while students are at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They recently elected their new president, vice president, and class senators for the 2020-2021 academic year, and they were all sworn in via Zoom Monday.

Savannah Lackey and Ashton Bearden will take over as SGA’s new president and vice president respectively.

Outgoing SGA president Adam Penland says that despite all the changes, conducting elections has been a smooth operation thanks to the voting already being online. He says that campaigns and other SGA announcements are mainly conducted through social media.

“The biggest group of people that we get to reach or the way we reach the most people is through our social media accounts,” Penland said.

He said one of the bigger challenges of the election process being done virtually was having senate qualifications meetings. This is one of the SGA’s biggest and most important in-person meetings, yet this too, was done over Zoom.

“We had 40 people, 44 people in total, join us for the qualifications meeting over Zoom,” Penland said.

Michaela Jones, the SGA’s outgoing vice president, says that moving all operations online has not been difficult, but it lacks the ability for other functions.

“A lot of other things such as meetings with certain campus departments and any type of funding have been a bit more difficult to do,” Jones said. “But other than that we’ve been able to function normally.”

Online or offline, the responsibility of the SGA is still the same: supporting the student body and student organizations.

“It’s an extreme honor to be a member of SGA, and to be trusted by your fellow peers to represent them to Mercer and to the administration,” Penland said.

As the two top members of the SGA depart, they said they hope Mercer continues to grow into a diverse and united campus of backgrounds and ideas.

“And in a lot of ways, it already is making steps to be more united and just generally accepting campus but there’s still a lot of work to be done,” Jones said.