Southwest student gov host rally

Emmanuel Akinola, Staff Writer

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With finals coming up, the stress level for students can go through the roof. At Houston Community College’s West Loop campus, the Student Government Association hosted their second People with Purpose Pep Rally to help ease students’ nerves.

On April 25 many students came from class to get free food while also dancing to the DJ’s hip-hop music.

Also, present at the event were several speakers, including Dr. Dean Shippie, the Dean of Student Development, and Julian Fisher, the Campus Manager of operations at HCC Southwest.

In Dr. Shippie’s words, the pep rally provided an opportunity for “faculty and students to celebrate leadership and other activities in order to engage the students” so the experience on campus is worth remembering.

“One of the most important things I think [about] student activities is getting the student centers where students have an opportunity to have clubs they can meet in—a student or TV lounge. A place where it helps their academics and retention,” said Dr. Shippie when asked about the importance of student life on campus.

Shippie also points out that the pep rally was also an opportunity to expose the student body to various student organizations they can take part in.

The event itself was coordinated by the Southwest SGA President Charles Tolden.

“With this being around finals time, it’s a lot of people that are stressed out, a lot of people that have things to do. I just wanted to provide a couple of hours to get away from everything and still focus on school,” Tolden said about the pep rally.

Tolden also notes that school should have a social component, but “that’s lost in the mix” because HCC is a commuter college. “Exposure expands expectations,” Tolden says. That’s what drives him and others in student leadership to continue to organize events and activities.

From his experience being president of the Southwest SGA and in other student groups, Tolden learned many leadership characteristics. He says he has learned characteristics like “hard work, dedication, definitely at the most, creative thinking” which he believes the professional world is looking for.

When asked about the need for college students to improve retention in schools, Tolden believes incoming freshmen or other college students would be greatly helped through extracurricular activities and student organizations.

Tolden is currently in his final semester at HCC and plans to transfer to the University of Houston–Downtown and major in Social Work. His advice for his successor next year would be to acknowledge even though that person may get many distinctions, the job isn’t just about them.

“It’s not only about setting up the executive board up in a better position, but also your student body in a better position,” Tolden said.

Other SGA members like Chris Cantu, Emeka Nzenwa, Ayo Joseph, Esther Mwambuyi, Hakizimana Yamuremye and more helped put on the event and gave out flyers and SGA shirts for recruitment purposes.

One such member, Nina Ahmad, joined student government when given the chance in order to become more involved on campus. Through SGA, she found a sense of community on campus.

“I find that being involved, especially with your college, is very important whether you’re getting a job or transferring [to a four-year university]…You learn personally a lot more; there’s teamwork involved, there is interacting with other people, organizing an event in a short amount of time and managing your school work,” Ahmad says.

Ahmad is majoring in Business Administration and is in her first year at HCC. She plans on becoming an entrepreneur after graduating. When asked what she learned from being in SGA, she learned to be “persistent in getting responses from other people” to get results on tasks or events that need to be taken care of.

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