Vice President of Academic Affairs: Hannah Smerker

Why are you running for VP of Academic Affairs for a second year? This position was a perfect fit for me, and I have truly enjoyed the past year as VP of Academic Affairs. I have been able to not only meet influential leaders on campus, but to work with them one-on-one to make changes. I feel like I know so much more about how the university operates, how students can be involved in its functioning, and, most importantly, how powerful the student opinion can be. I am looking forward to a second year to be able to continue working on the projects I started this year and further develop the position with the knowledge I have gained in my first term.

What are your goals if you were to be re-elected? At the end of the last academic year I put out a survey to the student body asking what changes they wanted to see made to their classes or academic programs and presented the responses to administration. I would like to do the same survey this year to see how the responses have changed and to see what needs to be done next year. I would also like to work with the rest of the new executive board to change the structure of SGA to include more members of other clubs and organizations while making our body of representatives more informed and effective, especially in regards to committee involvement. Finally, while I have met and worked with numerous officials in my first term, I would like to continue to branch out and work more closely with the deans and department chairs to make more direct changes to the classes and programs on campus.

Why did you decide to get involved with SGA? In high school I was highly involved and worked closely with my teachers and coaches, and I thought that SGA would be the perfect way to get involved in the same way at a collegiate level. So far it has gone above and beyond my expectations, and I am happy I decided to join.

What have you accomplished during your time in SGA? With the survey I mentioned before, I acted as a catalyst for changes and ideas that came directly from students, including increasing experiential education opportunities, service learning experiences and the number of minors available in different programs. I have been a voting member of numerous university committees and chair of multiple SGA committees where I represented the student body. Most recently, I have organized these elections, the Merit Scholarship and the Excellence in Teaching Award to wrap up this semester.

Is there anything else you’d like students to know about you?​ I think they should know that I am passionate about this position and am as dedicated to their education as my own. My past experience on SGA has taught me the true value of student leadership, and I hope to continue using the knowledge I have gained over the past three years to make the positive changes that are needed to ensure we all get the education we want while at Gannon.
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