Outgoing SGA President Imparts Experiences
April 11, 2017
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Since his start in the Student Government Association (SGA), outgoing president William Horton has seen two university presidents lead the university, two SGA presidents, and many problems that needed correcting, and with his term expiring in August, he looked back on his experiences.
“During my junior year, I felt like there was a different way that SGA could go and that it needed a different kind of leader,” Horton said. “I think it requires a certain kind of leader who’s willing to be forward and honest and doesn’t kowtow to the administration just because of who they are.”
Horton’s interest in government and student representation stemmed from a highly active high school life during which he participated in several organizations, and that deep interest never faded as he entered this university.
“One [high school organization] in particular during my senior year was a student advisory committee that biweekly with our principal, and we did all sorts of different things from updating the student handbook to better reflect the trends of our students to moving graduation,” Horton recounted. “When I got to college, it was at Orientation at the Student Organization Showcase that the then-Senate Chair Kent Houston was at the table. He and I struck up a conversation, and he got me interested in SGA.”
Horton had run for president before his unopposed election last year, but he had lost to Jackson Dailey, his predecessor, the year before that. Ironically, when Horton first arrived as a freshman to Texas A&M University-Commerce, he had no desire to serve as president.
“I wanted to be Senate Chair,” Horton said. “I was really interested in Robert’s Rules and the way the meetings proceeded.”
During his four years in SGA, Horton has seen the student awareness of the organization rise, a particular development that he is proud of, and the increased membership in SGA (though it has not hit the cap of 30 members) is evidence of this.
“Our current membership numbers reflect that [increasing awareness]. We will be closing out the year with the highest number of senators that we’ve ever had at the end of the year,” Horton pointed out. “Post-election, we have the highest number of senators who have ever ran in elections. We’re looking really strong going into Fall of 2017.”
Within his one-year service of President, Horton is proud of creating an environment that sparked a higher amount of programs hosted by student committees, and he and Dr. Tomás Aguirre, the Dean of Students, have worked on the transparency of the allocation of the student services fee fund.
“Another thing I’m really proud this year is the amount of discourse that we’ve had with our elected officials, especially Representative Dan Flynn and State Senator Bob Hall,” Horton added. “We’ve done a great job of stressing the concerns of this university to elected officials.”
Even with an good track record, there are still concerns to be addressed by SGA that Horton either could not or was not able to. A main concern is the student representation of different academic colleges, or at times the lack of, and this imbalance may lead to a focus on only a few issues.
“We do get to that point where we could have five or six Political Science majors on the senate,” Horton said. “Or maybe eight or nine people from Honors College, and so the representation is really skewed and not as accurate as the student body would like it to be.”
For new SGA President-Elect Caleb Farris, Horton has given him advice to delegate certain tasks to the Executive Board, and delegation avoids a work overload as a student and employee that may struggle to find a balance.
“As President, my leadership has been more ‘I’m going to do as much as I can’. That works great for other people; for some people, it doesn’t work out well at all. I feel like I’ve managed it alright,” Horton said. “Delegation is crucial because there does come a point where as President, you simply have too much going on.”
For the student body in general, Horton stresses the need to relax and to take breaks from classwork, but he also advises to not relax so much as to procrastinate or be behind in the class curriculum.
“I see a lot of people who are always studying, they’re always working, and other than five or six hours for sleep, they don’t take any time for themselves,” Horton said. “By that same token, don’t have so much fun that you’re not on task. Students are here to get a degree, the number one reason that any of us are here.”