As Student Government Association campaigns gear up this week, the current SGA president’s time in office begins to wind down.
On April 2, Matt Calderone’s SGA tenure will officially end as another student will be sworn into the presidential position.
“It’s going to be a sad day,” Calderone said. “It’s been a stressful year. I’m kind of ready for it, but I’m going to miss it.”
Calderone, a senior majoring in political science, ran for SGA president in 2012 with a mission to make all students feel connected to the University. He said he makes an effort to reply to every student who comes to him with a problem.
“I try to take the time to meet with anybody, whether it’s a student that sends me a tweet or an email with a concern about something or a student that sends me something angry,” Calderone said.
Morgan Mullen, president of Resonance Show Choir, said Calderone did well with interacting with the student organizations, but said he could have done better at meeting students in person.
“He used Twitter and Facebook to really communicate with the student population. I feel like he could have interacted with the student body more in person,” Mullen said. “He did not seem to be very available around campus.”
Calderone, who took on a summer job at an oil refinery and applied for student loans to meet the cost of college, said he understands the financial struggle students face at the University. Every month, SGA offers the Need-Based Scholarship, which is worth $1,000, to lessen the financial burden of students. The scholarship doesn’t require an applicant’s name, GPA or resume, but instead a student’s reason to be a recipient.
“You are my brother or sister through the University,” Calderone said. “If you are struggling, I want to help you.”
Calderone said the SGA was able to successfully accomplish its goal of reaching out to organizations that feel underrepresented through the SGA’s delegates program. Groups participating in the program pick out a senior delegate and younger delegate to meet weekly or biweekly with SGA representatives to discuss how the SGA officer can help that group accomplish something they may not have the time or resources to accomplish themselves.
Noah Cannon, a sophomore and president of Spectrum majoring in telecommunication and film, said he initially didn’t think SGA would be interested in helping the LGBTQ community on campus until the SGA president contacted him about the group’s concerns.
“From my stance as the president of Spectrum, I think he has done a really great job,” Cannon said. “He emailed me interested in addressing Spectrum’s and LGBTQ’s concerns on campus.”
Cannon said Calderone is helping Spectrum get a more inclusive non-discrimination policy that protects more gender-identity and expression groups beyond just those that identify by sexual orientation.
The Spectrum president said Calderone’s interest in the group remained consistent throughout his term. Calderone showed his support at the Southeast Student Leadership Conference on Saturday, Feb. 23. Calderone said he wished he could have accomplished more, but he is proud of the goals he was able to achieve in office.
“I want to be remembered as someone that really wanted to help and serve people, not someone that sat in an office and picked up a lot of perks,” Calderone said. “I want this year to go down as a year of success and a year that moved us forward.”
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