|UHV student government leaders Moses Olukoya, left, Benito Salazar, Laura Caldwell and Eliseo Olvera visit the White House during a recent trip to Washington, D.C., where they attended the American Student Government Association’s National Summit.|
Against the backdrop of the national government shutdown in October, student government leaders from the University of Houston-Victoria convened with peers
nationwide to discuss ideas about how to make an impact.
Every year, UHV Student Government Association officers attend the American Student Government Association’s National Summit, held in Bethesda, Md., near
the nation’s capital, to get leadership training, network with peers from around the country, and learn ideas for improving the efficiency and
effectiveness of their student governments.
“It was a really good trip for us because we learned a lot of new ideas at the conference,” said Moses Olukoya, president of UHV’s Student Government
Other UHV Student Government Association representatives who attended the conference were Eliseo Olvera, vice president; Laura Caldwell, secretary; and
Benito Salazar, treasurer. They were accompanied by Ashleigh Kellis-Carr, the association’s adviser and a UHV Student Success coach.
During the conference, the students split up to attend seminars on different topics and then reconvened to decide which strategies to implement at UHV. The
final step was creating an action plan.
The conference taught the students more about where their power as student government representatives comes from – the association’s constitution and
bylaws. The conference got the students really excited about their leadership duties, Kellis-Carr said.
“They learned they do have a chance to make an impact and help change the school for the better,” she said.
The national government shutdown made this year’s conference especially memorable, students said.
“Not a whole lot of people can say they were in D.C. when the government was shut down,” Olukoya said. “We saw how it affected the community as a whole,
which was eye-opening.”
Many of the historic landmarks were closed, so they could not go inside them, but they visited several landmarks, including Capitol Hill, the White House
and the National Mall.
Upon returning home, the officers set about working toward their goals, which include creating more structure within the SGA and making the organization
more visible on campus.
“If everybody as a whole works together as a team, then everybody can make a difference in their own way,” Olukoya said.
A junior from San Antonio, Salazar concurred and said that teamwork and cooperation could have prevented the national government shutdown.
“We won’t have that issue in our student government,” he said. “If there were ever any disagreement in our student government, we would rather resolve it
than shut down.”