Junior Madelyn Walsh has been elected to fill the role of Student Government Association President for the 2020-2021 academic year at Florida Southern.
Walsh said she has been able to adjust well to the changes implemented by the state and the college due to coronavirus concerns, even with the semester ending abruptly. The college ended face-to-face classes on March 13 and asked that students leave campus.
Walsh felt that she prepared well and had her platform out early on. She said she was still able to still campaign through social media, but prefers face-to-face interaction.
“[Not having face-to-face interactions] definitely was probably the biggest hurdle that I had to face as far as my campaign went,” Walsh said.
Walsh was involved in student government in high school and continued this involvement into college. She served as First Year Senator her freshman year, VP of Communications her sophomore year, and Administrative VP this past year.
As Administrative VP, Walsh had the responsibility of overseeing the fall and spring elections. She also oversaw the cabinet, a group responsible for having representatives for committees within the senate.
Walsh has also served on her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi’s, executive board as Panhellenic Delegate and as public relations and social media chair. She is involved in Omicron Delta Kappa (national leadership honor society), Lambda Pi Eta (Honor society for Communication majors), and was a part of Phi Eta Sigma (freshman year honor society).
“I’ve been able to see a lot of different leadership qualities in my peers and my friends,” Walsh said. “That’s like one of the coolest things about Florida Southern. It’s not really hard to get in contact with your mentors.”
Walsh said it is important to manage time well and understand the difference between personal and professional relationships. Walsh is thankful that she has relationships that combine the two and can still be productive.
Moving into the 2020-2021 academic year, Walsh said there is no need to start over with a “clean slate.” Walsh said she would like to pick up where this past year’s board left off because she feels they were in a good place.
Walsh said the board led some great sustainability initiatives, helped put together a new shuttle system, and more. She was proud of the passion the senators had and the initiative they made.
“It wasn’t just a line on your resume which was super fulfilling for me,” Walsh said. “It wasn’t like the exec board had to push anyone to do something. It was always ‘What can I help with? Where can I go? Who can I talk to?’ It was really encouraging.”
As far as improvements, Walsh said there were situations where SGA was not the most prepared, the coronavirus being an example. She said that this kind of event cannot always be anticipated, but moving forward the board can know how to better prepare.
“Having this time allows us to reflect and strategize moving forward as far as making sure we’re being very clear with the student body as far as what is happening,” Walsh said.
The first thing Walsh wants to do as president is make sure the current seniors feel appreciated. Walsh is not sure what this will be yet, but as of right now it is a top priority for her going into the new year.
Some predictions see the coronavirus lasting until October of this year, going two months after Florida Southern classes are supposed to be back in session. Walsh said that SGA and school administration all have the same goal of getting students back on campus healthy and as soon as possible.
Walsh said that while it is important to be proactive, much of the situation is out of SGA and administration’s hands.
“Obviously there’s a lot of uncertainty regarding [the coronavirus] situation],” Walsh said. “I guess moving forward it’s just keeping a positive attitude. At the end of the day health is a number one priority, so it’s just going to have to kind of be like a give and take situation.”
Walsh plans to continue the student discount card idea from her predecessor, Arjeet Tipirneni, as well as other ideas that did not get the chance to be put in place during the spring semester. While there is time, Walsh wants to see how these initiatives can be improved and be better for the FSC community.
Walsh is looking forward to serving with the new board and seeing FSC “come back stronger than ever.”
Watch Feature Editor Abby McHenry’s full interview with Madelyn Walsh here: