David Long

Vice President of Student Engagement

Mar 7 • News, Top Stories • 332

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David Long
freshman
criminal justice major

Why are you running for the position?
Through my short time that I’ve experienced in SGA so far, I’ve seen huge growth in myself and I feel like SGA is a place where a lot of leaders can come together and lead together. I feel like student engagement is exactly where I belong. I love to engage with the student body and I’ve probably met half of this campus already. And, just to be in a position like Vice President of Student Engagement and to have the opportunities and resources to continually make the Gannon experience better and better for our students is ultimately, really, my only goal and why I want to run.

What are your goals if you’re elected to Vice President of Student Engagement?
I feel like SGA has kind of set a standard and it’s not my goal to change that. Basically, it’s my goal to continue what we’re doing and continuously keep putting in the input and our students’ input and take the steps to continuously better the things that we’re doing. They’re working, and if it’s working, don’t fix it if it’s not broken.

What have you accomplished during your time on campus/SGA?
Well, the Student Spotlight Series that we’re doing, [which] me and Josiah [Leach] worked extensively on together — with the help of our committee, of course. I feel like that’s the biggest accomplishment I’ve made or have been a part of because I’ve gone to all of them so far and [after] each one, I’ve come out a more wise person, I would say, just from hearing the insight and the stories of our Gannon students. It’s really made me become less closed minded, I guess. So, to have done that to myself, I know that it did it for other kids.
The Student Spotlight Series is a series of six events that we’ve put together that covers topics from grinding through the tough times to religious leadership and faithfulness in college. We sat down and went through tons and tons of students and created a list of about 12 kids that we thought portrayed and had all of the qualities and attributes of a great leader on Gannon’s campus. We reached out to them and asked, “Hey guys, here’s a list of topics that we’d like you guys to present on, if you could pick one and make up a presentation for it, that’d be great.”
The way we set them up is each one is at a different location on Gannon’s campus. The next one is in Wehrle Hall in one of the lounges. It’s really just allowing student leaders on campus to tell their story the way they want it to be told, just to have the younger students, or really any students on campus, be able to listen to that story and understand grinding through the tough times.
Someone like Nathan Venesky spoke about that. He was the Marine on [Marine] One, which [was] Obama’s helicopter and he got to travel with President Obama for four years of his life. Everywhere Obama went, he went. Then he was diagnosed with a disability and was no longer able to do that. So now, he’s this 26-year-old man back in college.
To hear those stories, and to hear about those people’s struggles and how they overcame them and the growth and development they went through because of that, that’s pretty much what the Spotlight Series is, just creating an environment for people to tell their stories and create dialogue about things that aren’t usually brought up in conversations between your friends, I guess.
He was our very first Spotlight Series, and unfortunately we didn’t get the attendance that we wanted. So, we’re going to ask him to come back and present again. Even some of his pictures, like, of him standing there saluting Obama as he’s getting on the helicopter are jaw-dropping because it’s like, “Whoa, this person literally traveled, with the President of the United States for four years.” And we have those [kind of] people on campus, and I think those are the things that make this campus unique and what makes Gannon a great place to be.
If I get the position of student engagement, I’d only want to culture that and really promote the community aspect that we already have. We’re a pretty tightly-knit community, [but] I think we can be tighter. I guess I’d really just like to be the liaison between our student body and our staff.

Why should students vote for you?
I feel that in any interaction I’ve ever had with people on Gannon’s campus, it’s always been genuine. It’s always been the real me. I’m truly just a nice guy who’s interested in everyone. I took the strengths test survey and it told me that my No. 1 strength was individualization, which
makes so much sense because I literally notice every person. I would say people should vote for me for this position because it is my goal to cater to the needs of the students and to make the experience for the students better. SGA is a great organization and we’ve got a lot of resources and a lot of help, and I think with my personality and my drive, and with the help of my team in SGA, we can accomplish things that are out of this world for Gannon’s campus, and really not only make my next few years better for myself, but make everyone’s next few years on this campus the best they can be.

Is there anything else you’d like students to know about you?
I’m probably the most diverse kid in the world. I’ve wrestled, I’ve cheered, I’ve played football, I’ve ran track, I’ve been in musicals [and] I was in choir. I’ve done a lot and have a lot of experience. I’m a very approachable guy, [so] if you see me come talk to me. I’d love to have a conversation with everyone. Honestly, this is the only position I really want in SGA and the only reason I really joined SGA was to have this position. I just want students to know that I will strive to do the best I possibly can in this position, not only for myself, but for them.

KYLE JOESPH
joesph013@knights.gannon.edu

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