CU’s SGA ‘shuts down’ in order to force students to pay attention to government shutdown

CU’s SGA ‘shuts down’ in order to force students to pay attention to government shutdown

October 8, 2013
For Immediate Release

 
The office of Campbellsville University's Student Government Association was shutdown Monday, Oct. 7, to encourage students to stay active in politics and to know what's going on with the government's shutdown. (Campbellsville University Photo by Rachel DeCoursey)

By Joan C. McKinney, news and publications coordinator

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – The United States Government is shut down, and so is Campbellsville University’s Student Government Association.

There is yellow caution tape on the office door and windows in the Montgomery Library with a sign: “Notice: Since the government has shut down, so have we. Yours truly, SGA.”

“The SGA wanted to take a drastic move in order to encourage students to stay active in politics and stay informed on the world around them,” Jacqueline Nelson, a senior of Campbellsville who serves as SGA president, said.

“Therefore, we decided -- due to the opportune timing of the government shutdown and our request for a week of rest after the Homecoming festivities, that participating in a mock government shutdown would be the perfect avenue to take,” she said.

Nelson said SGA wanted to do something that would capture the attention of the student body regarding one’s need to stay informed, while having a little fun along the way.

“Through this drastic action, we hope to further inform students about the federal government shut down. We have all heard many students speaking of how they are confused about the federal government shutdown and even some students who did not know that the federal government had shut down,” she said.

“Therefore, by creating a little laughter for the university and the student body, our goal is to spark students’ interest in politics and encourage them to gain knowledge about the issues andobstacles that the United States federal government is having to overcome.”

“The Student Government Association at Campbellsville University is to be commended for their insight and initiative in taking this action,” John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president.

“They have seized on a ‘teachable moment’ created by the impasse between the president and the Congress in Washington, and the result is the launching of a campus-wide discussion on the federal government shutdown and the numerous issues involved.”

“What started as an act to have some fun and to recuperate from the rush of CU’s Homecoming of the past week has resulted in a very serious conversation among students, as well as the faculty and staff, on the government shutdown,” Chowning said.

“And it is very likely that if the general public were to become fully informed and involved as are our CU students, then there might be a quicker resolution of the federal government shutdown and the many issues that underlie the closure – including the political intrigue involved,” he said.

During the SGA mock government shutdown, the SGA president, executive cabinet and senators will be taking the entire week off from their SGA duties.

“For the remainder of the week, we will no longer acknowledge our office hours, all meetings have been suspended until the following week, and we are discouraged from speaking with one another about any SGA duties or topics,” Nelson said.

Although the SGA officers are friends, they said the shutdown will not hinder their every day interactions with each other.

“Nevertheless, seeing it as our duty to be available for the administration, we will still be available for their needs and requests. Just like our congressmen and congresswomen, we are still available to the president, and we will also continue to be available for our own administration,” she said.

The shutdown didn’t come about in a “scholarly” way, Nelson said.

“A few of us were eating lunch together and speaking about our excitement for Homecoming, as well as the need to catch up on homework and other duties after the Homecoming festivities were completed,” Nelson said.

Homecoming was the week Sept. 30-Oct. 5.

“We were all in agreement that we needed a week off. SGA Vice President Kaity Skaggs, a senior of New Haven, Ky., was the first to mention having a mock government shutdown and the idea quickly caught on,” Nelson said.

Skaggs said what was “intended to be just for laughs turned into a huge moment to raise awareness.”

She said SGA shutting down has had a “huge reaction from everyone across campus. I’ve had the opportunity to talk with students about the significance of our federal government shutting down, how our system of government works, and what kind of impact this has had on our nation.”

Skaggs said, “The lack of knowledge of what’s going on has completely surprised me. I’ve had numerous students tell me that they didn’t know the federal government is shutdown. Who would have known that a small conversation over lunch would’ve turned into a huge educational moment?”

“Yet, fear not,” Nelson said. “The SGA will be back and running next Monday. The SGA office will be open and ready for faculty, staff, administrators and students on Monday, Oct. 14.”

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,600 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.