Several weeks into her elected position as Student Government Association president, Ange Coustillac said she is adjusting to the role as Gannon University’s new student body voice.
The junior political science and legal studies major said she and the newly elected members of the SGA executive board have already discussed several plans and goals for next year, including a “graffiti” bulletin board that should appear in the Waldron Campus Center. Upon this graffiti board, SGA will post a general question and beneath it students can voice their opinions through a written response.
“Students can write whatever they want in response to that question,” Coustillac said. “That’s your voice, we have it, and then we can do something with it.”
Another vision Coustillac would like to see develop is a more “central” university, meaning that the various clubs and organizations would participate in campus-wide events together, instead of separately.
“I’d like to see the commuters be able to branch out with Greek Life, the Greeks branch out with student-athletes and student-athletes branch out with the international students,” she said. “We always claim that we’re such a diverse campus, but what good is diversity if we don’t unify ourselves?”
Outgoing SGA President Landis Erwin said Coustillac came to her and the two discussed what responsibilities are involved in the position and what qualities exist in a good leader.
“She wanted to know as much as she could before she even started running,” Erwin said. “What I admire the most about her is the fact that she wants other people to be included with her. She wants the organization to be one body, and she knows she can’t do this work on her own. To me, that’s one of the best leadership qualities someone can have.”
Jessica Kallenborn, a freshman sport and exercise science major, said she thought Coustillac’s outgoing personality helped her campaign.
“Her campaign was really well thought out,” Kallenborn said. “I think she’ll do really well.”
Coustillac said she is looking forward to working with the administration, especially the Vice President of Student Development and Engagement, a position yet to be filled. The new position will be in charge of everything that is connected with student services, including campus ministry, athletics and clubs and organizations, among others.
“That’s huge for us as students,” Coustillac said. “We fall under all of those. This brand new person, whoever it may be, will be in charge of all of us, for the most part.”
Over the past year, Gannon has experienced several changes in administration and academic policy. A few of them – such as the grading scale change – have not been well received by the student body. Better communication, Coustillac said, can change that.
“I think that this is our university,” Coustillac said. “We should know what’s going on and we should be kept in the loop about everything.”
Eric Pope, associate director of Student Organizations and Leadership Development and SGA faculty adviser, said he feels Coustillac possesses the valuable qualities that will enable her to be a superb SGA president.
“She is willing to ask the questions that the students might not be willing to ask themselves,” Pope said. “She is a very strong student advocate and will truly do a great job representing the Gannon student body.”
Coustillac said she has the voice of the entirety of the student population at heart, and she will give her maximum effort to bring the changes students have in mind, not just what she would like to see changed.
“What you guys want, the big changes that you want to see happen, that is what I’m here for,” she said. “We’re not going to go around making huge changes, if it’s not supported.”
Erwin said she has an unwavering confidence that Coustillac will succeed.
“A year is not long enough to accomplish everything you’d like to do,” Erwin said. “But it is enough to make a mark on the university. I know she’ll do well.”
Coustillac thanked those who supported her in the election, but asked that she continue to receive that support.
“This is a difficult position; there is a lot of responsibility here,” Coustillac said. “I consider this a privilege; I’m honored to have it and I look forward to serving the students.”