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New student body president ready to work

May. 01, 2011 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Marshall University has a new Student Body President.

After winning the election on March 17, Ray Harrell Jr. took office Saturday, April 23. Harrell, who campaigned on a platform of increasing SGA visibility and accessibility, had previously served as the organization's business manager.

Harrell is a graduate of Cabell Midland High School and is currently a sophomore political science major. He is planning on attending law school after graduating.

"A number of people came in with a platform of their own and try to campaign off of that," Harrell said. "Much of the platform we formulated by the student groups we talked to. We talked to at least 20 groups and formulated the changes we needed to make to the Student Government Association and the University based on what the students told us. I've been here for about two years. My first year I was a freshman council president. I was then asked to run with Patrick Murphy, the last Student Council president. That's where a lot of this institutional knowledge that I have came from, working alongside Patrick this last year."

Harrell is active on campus.

"As student body president, I serve on a lot of committees that make decisions regarding students, student recruitment, enrollment and other policies," he said. "One of the biggest changes this year is that the Board of Governors representative used to be an elected student position. That role has been dissolved into the duties of the Student Body President. So I now serve on the Board of Governors that oversees all aspects of the university."

Harrell will be remaining on campus over the summer and is planning a number of initiatives to increase accessibility and visibility of the SGA. He is hoping to incorporate the use of a software called Orgsync on campus. Orgsync is an online community management system designed to centralize campus activities. Harrell also hopes to see the creation on a student government feature on the popular MUMobile iPhone and Android App.

"The biggest problem I saw with student government before I was elected was a problem with visibility and accessibility," he said. "People don't realize we're here and they don't know the resources that we have to help students. They don't know that we're students like everyone else. I have responsibilities to go to class and take finals like everyone else. At the same time, we've taken on this role to be the voice of the students. We want to return to being the vehicle of the student body that the student government was meant to be. We are going to make a marketing push in the fall semester. People are going to see the student government when the fall comes around.

"We are also working to revamp the student government website," Harrell added. "We were the only candidates in the student body election with their own website. We are remodeling the student government website to reflect the site we had. It's a technological world now. Between 49 percent and 64 percent of students have smartphones. Why shouldn't we be online?"

For more information, visit www.marshall.edu/wpmu/sga/.