60 minutes with the Prez

Hoping to become better acquainted with students, SHSU President James Gaertner and the Office of Student Services is offering “60 minutes with the Prez,” a new program that will give students the chance to meet the campus leader and voice questions and concerns.According to Donna Artho, a representative for the Office of Student Services, Gaertner came up with the program as a means to get to know his fellow Bearkats in a more informal environment.”President Gaertner came up with the idea, and the purpose was for him to be more accessible to the students,” she said. “He then got Vice President of Student Services, Dr. Thelma Douglass, to help him put it together.”Artho said the next “60 minutes with the Prez” is scheduled in conjunction with the International Student’s Coffee Hour, which will be held today in the Bluebonnet Room of the Criminal Justice Center. The meeting will begin at 4:30 p.m. and is open to all interested students.According to Student Services, the program will consist of a brief State of the Union-type address by Gaertner and will be followed by time for students to ask questions.”President Gaertner will start by sharing some current information and briefly listing what is going on around campus,” Artho said. “However, the main point is to make students feel comfortable asking any questions or raising concerns they may have. That is the focus of this program, and the president will do his best to answer all of the questions with the information he has.”Artho said in the future “60 minutes with the Prez” sessions will continue to be available to groups of students or campus organizations. She said any interested groups should contact the Office of Student Services, which will try to coordinate a meeting time, possibly for several combined organizations, around Gaertner’s schedule.”The program makes it easier than having a student with a question try to call the President’s Office and make an appointment to sit down with him one on one,” she said. “It also allows him to show that the students are important to him and that he prioritizes his time to meet with them. It’s just more efficient.”Many students said they appreciate Gaertner’s efforts to speak directly to the student body.”It’s a really great idea,” sophomore Laura Berryhill said. “It’s more of a hands-on type thing, and I think that’s good.””I think it’s a good idea. It’s really important for students to feel like their input matters,” senior Shantaye Price said. “I would go if I had a reason, like if I had a problem with parking or with other campus-related issues. I think a lot of students will go.”Other students expressed concern that an hour might not be enough time for Gaertner to address all questions.”I think he’ll probably get floored with comments,” senior William Reynolds said. “However, Sam typically has a very low participation rate. I think I’ll go; I was hoping to talk with him anyway.”Artho said she feels the new program is a valuable opportunity for students to become better informed of campus happenings, voice concerns and questions to campus administrators, and to get to know them in a more personal setting.”I personally think it is much better to know what’s going on around campus and with other groups and other departments,” she said. “It’s just a matter of being a member of a community.”This is the students’ chance to find out about things that are going on, or to hear more on things they have only heard half the story about, or to get rumors cleared up. They will be able to ask questions and share their opinions with President Gaertner,” she said. “It sort of goes back to the idea of ‘if you don’t vote, don’t complain.’ This is giving students the opportunity to talk with their president and they should take advantage of it.”

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