Q&A with student body President Reedy Newton
By Kelley Barrett, email@example.com
New executive officers were chosen in Student Government elections and took office this month.
We asked new student body president Reedy Newton, a marketing major/mass communications minor, about why she got involved in student government and her priorities for the coming year.
What made you want to get involved in Student Government in the first place?
I wanted to get involved in an organization that was able to build me as a leader and made an impact on the student body. UofSC Student Government does just that. In high school, I served on our small-scale Student Council. Having that past experience, I knew that I wanted to get involved in a leadership organization, but Student Government initially seemed too scary or too intense for me to join coming from a small high school. I was encouraged to join Student Government during my freshman year when current leaders in Student Government reached out to me and continued to help me navigate all of the different organizations, resources and opportunities our campus provided. They inspired me to push through my nerves.
What positions have you previously held or been a part of in Student Government? What were your responsibilities in these roles?
As a freshman, I served as a member of the Legislative Action Network — a nonpartisan advocacy entity, communicating with the General Assembly. This communication is on behalf of the student body to share concerns with state officials. Having the platform and ability to interact with legislators for student advocacy is an incredibly empowering and eye-opening experience. I served on the student body president’s cabinet as the secretary of government relations this past year. The Government Relations Department is made up of the local, state and federal advocacy agencies. I was tasked with managing these three departments, formulating and publishing the student insights survey, assisting in the research of the agencies' annual reports, planning presentation of those reports and executing Carolina Day in conjunction with the Alumni Association.
What has been your most meaningful experience so far during your time at UofSC?
My most meaningful and rewarding experience in my time at UofSC has been engaging, mentoring and pouring into the freshman and first-year students. During this time of great transition and change for these students, it has been so rewarding to be able to serve as a resource for them. I was able to do this in two ways this year. First, I served as a Pi Chi for Panhellenic Recruitment, assisting 30 girls in navigating the sorority recruitment process. In this role, I was able to guide and mentor them for the first two weeks of their college transition and helped them find their home within the Greek community with girls who shared similar values. In addition, I served as a peer leader for a University 101 course, where I student-taught 19 pre-business Capstone Scholars. In this role, I was able to academically mentor and guide these students through their entire first semester of college, providing resources and opportunities to get involved, challenging them to set goals, and leading them through difficult conflicts. Having been in these students’ shoes only two years prior, I was able to help them transition to life as a Gamecock. Whether it was through my role as a Pi Chi or peer leader, it was so rewarding to form these new relationships, see them overcome their challenges and start to come into their own.
What are your main goals as president?
There are so many things that I would want to accomplish in the office, but with limited time, I want to make sure that I am setting groundwork and making tangible changes to things that will leave a lasting impact. First, I want to increase the visibility of the organization. Students may not understand what we do in Student Government, and it is our responsibility to communicate with them what we are doing on their behalf. I want students to feel comfortable voicing their concerns or wanting to get involved. I want to collaborate between the differing executive offices of Student Government, so that our organization’s committees and teams are able to work together on their similar goals or issues. In general, I want to work towards a restructured academic advising system to ensure that students feel supported by their academic advising and mentoring. I want to advocate for additional funding for our mental health resources and health center on campus, and for our library so that we are able to work towards bringing back 24-hour operating hours in the library. I also want to work closely with incoming President Michael Amiridis in his transition so that we are able to create opportunities for him to engage directly with students on campus and open that line of dialogue.
Why should students get involved in Student Government?
If students are passionate about making an impact on this campus, they should consider getting involved in Student Government. We have something for every student to be involved in from event planning, to communications, to writing legislation, to advocacy work, to providing funds for other organizations, and more. Students should get involved to make a difference on our campus and to amplify the voices of all students across our campus.
How will your experience in Student Government help you with what you want to do in the future?
My experience in Student Government thus far shaped me and developed me into the leader that I am today. The organization has given me real-world experience with student governance and has enhanced my professional development and interpersonal communication skills. The experiences that I have had and will continue to have will develop me as a person and fine-tune my leadership skills and qualities. After graduation, I hope to pursue my master’s in mass communications and potentially my MBA as well. These skills and experiences will play a pivotal role in my next steps of my professional development and career pursuits.
As Student Government president, Reedy Newton will be the student representative at the university’s Board of Trustees meetings. Her mother, Rose Buyck Newton, is also a board member, making the two the first mother-daughter pair to serve on the board at the same time. Learn more about Newton's family ties to the university.
Share this Story! Let friends in your social network know what you are reading about