President’s Summit provides networking for MSU’s student leaders

In the Clark Student Center on Thursday, March 18, at 6 p.m. the Student government Association hosted the first ever President’s Summit, which brought together many of the leaders of MSU Texas’ student organizations. Shelbi Stogdill, SGA president and political science, history and global studies senior, envisioned the event as a way for student leaders to network with other leaders they might not have otherwise met.

“We first came up with the idea for the event back in November, and it came out of being students on campus where we noticed that organizations really only interact with one another if they are in each other’s small circles of communication. We decided that it probably stemmed from a lack of not knowing who each other are, or even being aware of the diverse student organizations we have at MSU. With COVID we spent a long time figuring out how to come up with a plan on how to spread awareness of one another in a way that was enjoyable and be a valuable experience for our student leaders. We settled on a social dinner that would be a networking event, and then developed the President’s Summit,” Stogdill said.

The CSC’s Comanche South conference room was set up so that there were several small, tall tables scattered placed around the room without chairs. The participants were provided dinner to start the event and many of the student leaders floated from table to table to mingle with each other as they ate. The summit also had two icebreaker events, a rock-paper-scissors tournament and an event to gather other leader’s information, to promote conversation.

“The best thing was meeting everyone and noticing  how similar our experiences within leadership have been, and just getting advice from them,” Jared Steger, president of the Geosciences Club and geoscience graduate student, said.

The lengthy conversation time also provided club representatives an opportunity to promote their organizations. This event also provided an opportunity for the student leaders to explore what organizations may be willing to work together.

“I think it’s really nice to be able to put your club out there and promote collaboration with other organizations,” Mariah Ayala, sociology club historian and math freshman, said.

The event provided an opportunity not only to network with other student leaders but to learn from them as well. Andrew Wolf, vice president of the Redwine Honor’s Program and biology and chemistry senior, felt that was one of the best opportunities provided by the summit.

“Really, kind of [learn how to] enhance your leadership kills… and honestly, learn how to set  the example. You’re not gonna be here as president all the time, so you really need to set the tone for other people to follow in your footsteps and ask you questions and look up to you,” Wolf said.

Jamilah Kangudja, president of the Black Student Union and graduate student of educational leadership, said she enjoyed the event and meeting the other leaders, but said she saw a potential issue with the first iteration of the President’s Summit. Many of the student representatives were outgoing seniors.

“The only issue I see, and it may not necessarily be with this event, is that many of the people here aren’t going to be here next year.  We’re coming to this event, but we’re all leaving [after this semester],” Kangudja said.

Throughout the event, Stogdill expressed her pleasure with the high turnout and effortless mingling. She said this event was just the beginning for the President’s Summit.

“Future plans for the President’s Summit is to be at minimum an annual event for future SGA executives to implement either in the Fall or Spring of the next academic year,” Stogdill said.