April 13, 2016 9:45AM
When sophomore Kolleen Gladden heard her named called as the next Pittsburg State Student Government Association vice president, her first thought was to her running mate and new SGA president, Hank Cloninger.
“Hank had been so incredibly stressed about the election that I just felt relieved for his sake,” Gladden said.
Her response, slightly tongue-in-cheek, was Gladden’s way of saying that the new president has and will always have her support.
“I believed Hank was the absolute best person for the (SGA president) position,” she said, “and I knew that I had the passion for Pittsburg State University required to fill the VP position. I am fortunate to be surrounded by a wonderful group of people who all have amazing ideas for the University, and I hoped to team up with Hank to make these a reality.”
Cloninger and Gladden, who were officially sworn in as SGA president and vice president on April 12, have a variety of goals for their tenure in office.
Cloninger, a junior accounting major and Pittsburg native, said their goals include securing free printing for students across campus, offering safety concealed carry courses for students and adding degrees through “collaboration of departments to make specialized degree programs.” They also hope to organize a 10-week diversity project to show solidarity among various groups on campus.
“Our goal is to do as many of these as possible and encourage administration to start working seriously on these issues,” Cloninger said. “Nothing moves quickly, but we want to get the process started. We would also like to show people that SGA isn't a scary group of elitists, but simply students who want to be involved on campus.”
Cloninger and Gladden, who ran as part of the Access Silverback party, believe their roles in SGA leadership positions are to work with PSU administration to enact necessary change on the campus.
“Student government is vital because it lends a voice to the largest part of campus,” Gladden said. “Without student involvement, a campus cannot thrive. When students can partner up with faculty, everyone can see parts or all of their desires for the educational experience come to fruition.”
Cloninger, who served as SGA treasurer last year, said he’s excited and grateful for the chance to serve as president.
“Becoming SGA President had been a long-term goal for me, starting my freshman year,” he said. “The added experience I had this year as treasurer put me in a position to meet that goal. I knew a lot about the organization, the people, and various successes and failures over the last couple years within all levels of leadership. I felt like I had enough knowledge and experience to do really well with this next year.”