Erwin named Outstanding Student Government Advisor 

  Wednesday, November 18, 2020 10:00 AM
  News, Campus Culture, People and Society

Pittsburg, KS

Steve Erwin

Students deserve a voice in the shared governance of the university, says Steve Erwinvice president for Student Life at Pittsburg State University, who has served as advisor to the PSU Student Government Association for 20 years. 

This month, his dedication to those students was rewarded when he was named Outstanding Student Government Advisor of 2020 by the National Association for Campus Activities Central Region.  

NACA Central is comprised of Colorado, eastern New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana. Its vision: to create college communities where everyone belongs. 

The award is given to someone who displays genuine support and regard for students and their issues, has had an extraordinary impact on students’ livesand has earned their respect. 

Since 2014, Erwin has served as co-chair with Campus Activities Director Eva Sager. 

“My role is to help them understand the university perspective on things they’re trying to tackle, to give them insights, to help them navigate and help them shape some policy, so that it serves their interest but is achievable and palatable to the institution, he said. 

Erwin is proud of the structure that’s been built at PSU when it comes to SGA serving as the students’ voice. 

“They have a seat on all committees, from parking to Apple Day to student fees, and they in many cases are voting members,” he said. “It’s shared governance.” 

“I remind them that while sometimes it can feel mundane, they're doing things today that fulfills something someone started five years ago, and they’ll also contribute to things they might not see come to pass for a few more years, but it’s a voice and it’s important,” he said.  

Erwin points to one-time student Thomas Gregory, an SGA officer who years ago advanced the idea of no smoking on campus  an idea that became policy in 2013  — and the shuttle system now called the Gus Bus that began as a grassroots effort by SGA. 

In 2017, SGA leadership honored him with an “Advisor of the Year Award,” and the moniker “A.O.T.Y.” was born. It stuck, and they continue to refer to him by that acronym. 

“He has been able to support many students in many different ways and from many different walks of life,” said Seth George, former SGA president, in his nomination letter. “One of the biggest accomplishments from this past year occurred through listening to students and empowering them to take action and create a positive change to make the world a better place.”