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Press Clipping: Hillsborough Community College Student Governments Trip to D.C. Pays Off in Experience

Student Governments Trip to D.C. Pays Off in Experience

November 25, 2015
By Matthew Flanagan

Nine members of the Hillsborough Community College Ybor Campus Student Government Association (SGA) attended the American Student Government Association (ASGA) Conference in Washington D.C. from Oct. 1-4.

The members included four SGA Senators, and four executive board members. The group was led by current SGA president Deborah Andrango and Tamika Thomas, the Student Activities Coordinator.

The trip to D.C. is critically important to the student body as the ASGA conference is designed to help SGA members find alternative methods to improve their campus.

SGA is responsible for allocating money to the various organizations on our campus, and coordinating events for all students to participate in.

On the first day of the conference, nearly 600 attendants from all over the nation began to individually register and network as soon as they arrived.

Two non-American schools however, were the exception. With their facilities located in Qatar and Egypt, both schools sent out SGA representatives to partake in this conference.

The conference kick-off began promptly as scheduled that evening, with the Hyatt's entire main ballroom filled to capacity. Members from the Plant City, Brandon, and Dale Mabry campus were also in attendance to represent the Hawk Pride!

Meet and greet activities took over the kick-off, with quite a bit of shuffling between tables. The coordinators of this conference asked for the attendees to post the selfies they were taking to social media cites with a specific hashtag (#ASGADC15) to promote the event.

The students did receive some gifts for their participation. They received lanyards with their name and college posted on the front, a pen and most importantly a stack of Connector cards, which were readily traded as business cards between all attendees.

The first official day of group training and roundtable events had arrived the next day. Members were asked by their presidents to attend different meetings, to better widen the knowledge, and present the opportunity for networking.

"You want to make your institution a better place. You want to make positive changes and improvements, and you want to improve your leadership skills," states Butch Oxendine, ASGA founder and leader. During Oxendine's How to jump-start your SGA meeting, members learned that service to others is positively necessary for the community; and by performing this service, or project will in turn build team comradery.

Shemar McLeod, an HCC SGA senator, says about his experience, "Christopher Irving's workshop titled Training with an Attitude was my strongest influence. This workshop displayed the different types of ways to network, socialize and interact with people."

SGA president Andrango, was thoroughly pleased with the participation from all nine members who attended, and the amount of networking and knowledge that all were able to gain. Andrango says, "I'm hoping for the best of my group. That they took something away for themselves, or for SGA as a whole."

She says that the most impactful piece of information presented to her was how policies work for other campuses, and the leadership transition for office positions. "I want to leave future members in a better place than where we started," she adds.

Throughout the four day conference, the SGA members were immersed in student government trainings and solutions to problems.

They were able to network with hundreds of other campus leaders and advisors from all types of institutions to find more positive methods in improving their SGA comity and respected campuses.