By Jesse Rice
On April 27, I sat down with two members of the incoming student body cabinet: President Molly Arnold and Vice-President Josh Fulmer.
Can you state your name, year, and your major?
Molly Arnold (MA): I’m Molly Arnold. I’m a first semester senior in the Business Administration department.
Josh Fulmer (JF): I am Josh Fulmer. I am a sophomore in the Youth and Young Adult Ministry program.
Why did you enter into Student Government?
MA: This year?
MA: Well, last year Caleb [Bogia-Curles] asked me to run with him as his vice-president. And it just felt right. It was a really cool opportunity to have an impact on everybody, and to, kind of, be that voice for people. What about you?
JF: For me it was the beginning of this year… well, being a part of the sophomore class cabinet… [I] became a representative and wanted to just serve in whatever way I could. That went from “it just seems like something fun” to really wanting to be invested in it, and wanting to do more for [the] student body and the SGA, and everyone in general.
In your opinion, what is the role of student government?
JF: I’ll go first. The role of student government, I believe, is to be servants. To put it generally, to give it big picture, is that we are trying to be the best servants that we can on everyone’s journey here. For the students, we are trying to provide services to them, in whatever capacity that might be: listening to their complaints, helping them with suggestions, aiding them through their year, events, and other assistances. Also, working with the administration staff and faculty who are above us: Student Life, working in tandem with them to best serve the students (while at the same time understanding what the school and administration and everyone in the faculty and staff [are] able to do), working alongside them and to best serve them as well. We’re not just here for the student body, although they are kind of, like, the main focus, we’re also here for the entire school.
MA: And echoing that, I think it comes in with bridging that gap between students and administration, being that voice for their concerns and kind of unifying it all, kind of being that connector.
What experience have you had in student government before, or leadership in general?
MA: Student government, I didn’t have any ‘til last year when I did the vice-president thing. Leadership-wise, at my job I’ve been [a] manager before; I’ve had other leadership positions in clubs, but, as far as student government goes, last year was my first year giving that a shot.
JF: For me, back in tenth grade was my first taste of leadership experience with the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminars, where, just, representatives from different high schools come together and learn how to be effective leaders. From there, [I] led my youth group. No SGA experience whatsoever until the sophomore year representation. Then from that going on to the executive cabinet as the secretary fill-in for the second semester. Then Molly asked me run alongside her.
What caused you to run for office this semester?
MA: We both did the executive cabinet this year ─ if you know that, Josh was Secretary, I was Vice-President ─ so I think, doing that, we were able to get an inside look of what SGA really is and what all opportunities it has and where it can grow. I think that just knowing that, and where we can take it, we wanted to try that. For me, I wasn’t sure if I was going to run ‘cause I graduate in December, so we wanted to make sure we had a team that, when I leave, it’s not going to really have that much of an impact on anybody. That was why. And we saw many things that we could expand to and continue to improve on. I think that just… continually making it better.
JF: To bounce off that, there’s always room for improvement in everything that we do. When Molly first asked me, “Hey, do you want to run with me?” I, at first, wasn’t expecting it at all, but after giving it a lot of thought, I was just, “Yeah.” This is a great opportunity to expand on what’s already been laid, a foundation that’s been set before us in the years prior to us. With the team that we assembled, with the changes that we’re hoping to implement and proceed with, we’re hoping to just continue to serve in a better capacity and always just be better. ‘Cause the school is changing, there are things growing and expanding, we just have a new major being instituted, so there’s more needs that we need to cater to and assist with.
What are your plans as leaders of the SGA this coming year?
JF: The one… people always ask, “What are you going to promise us, what are you going to bring to the table for next year?” We really don’t want to make any promises at this point. We go with the motto to under-promise and over-deliver. The one promise that I… that we are willing to make is that we are going to be more relational. What that looks like is being at chapel to hold the doors open. To be present at events, you know: basketball games, sporting events. To be open and available to the students in whatever area they might be at. So at the ODC, we’ll be there, we’ll be eating lunch together there and have openings for them to come to talk to us freely without formality. We don’t want things to be like, “There’s the SGA doing their own official business,” and we’re separate from them. We want to be mingling with them, because we’re students as well. We have a name and a face, and we want that to be the face of the SGA, not formality. So being more relational is definitely the one thing we can promise towards the people.
MA: I agree with that. Again, relation-ability is definitely our focus coming into this year. Being what the students, and in that the administration too, being those connections with President Teague and Josh Beers. Just establishing those relationships even more than it has been in the previous years, and just continuing to build upon that. I think that will be key. That way we’re not above the students. We want to be a part of what’s going on, too.
JF: We’re no better than the students. We’ve been given a platform to lead, and we don’t want to take that lightly. We want to take that as seriously as we can. We’ll take these platforms that we are given, and we will serve our brothers and sisters in the best way we can. Because we’re no better than them. We just have this great platform to be able to do so.
MA: We’ve been given a cool opportunity.
This is kind of a similar question, but what are your goals for this coming school year?
MA: This is probably going to sound a lot similar to what we just said, but we would like to be a very present cabinet. That could look like being involved in Charger Day more, possibly being more involved in SOAR day, more things like that. [We’re] not sure what that looks like fleshed out yet until we get to next semester and what those opportunities are, but making sure we’re taking advantage of them. Like Josh said, be relational. Hopefully that looks like holding doors at chapel, sitting together as a group in front of chapel, to be that example. We’d like to see the senate, as a whole, we’d like to see that smaller. That’s one of our goals: to shrink that. Just for efficiency’s sake ─ is that a good way to word it? ─ and just to make it a stronger core that we can rely on. The senates in the past have been great, but, through the past few administrations, they have agreed… making it simpler and shrinking it down to the point where we can accomplish even more is probably a good way to go. Anything else you want to hit on?
JF: Yeah, there are definitely groups that we feel like we have missed in the past with the SGA. One of them being the OneLife group. There are a lot of students from OneLife who then continue on at LBC, whether that be just to get one more year to get their Bible degree or to continue on in a major after OneLife ends. Our treasurer, Rheeana Miles, has already taken the initiative with that. One of our goals is to reach groups like OneLife, the athletes… We’ve seemed to neglect them in the past and we really, really want to reach out to them and provide them with any encouragement that we can, whether it be Gatorade, or encouraging notes for games, or stuff like that. We want to reach out to WPA, and work with that department because they’re another group that we feel like we don’t reach out to much because they’re located mainly in the chapel and we focus toward everything behind Esbenshade. We really want to reach out to them and let them know that we care about them, too. We care about all students here and that isn’t just the CML, it isn’t just Social Work, it isn’t just Arts & Sciences, it’s everyone. We don’t want to exclude any student group. One more thing is just, along with that, is to reach out in whatever way we can with service projects. We have a goal of being able to serve as best we can. We want to serve people on their journey. That can be cleaning up at the ODC to help out Aladdin… Anyway way that we can serve.
MA: We’re talking about service projects definitely focused on-campus, not that off-campus service projects aren’t great and we’d like to maybe see one of those happen as well, but just falling under our mission of being a part of LBC and being relational with people and serving them and being that voice, I think it would really fall there.
Anything else you wish to add for those curious about your cabinet, what you want to do, and what you stand for?
JF: Very good question. I think, ultimately, we want to be known as peoples’ friends. That term can be taken so lightly nowadays, because that we say we’re friends with people on Facebook and, if you know someone, then automatically we’re friends with them, apparently… though not everyone thinks that way. But it’s kind of this common place: you know someone, you’re friends with them. We want to take this friendship idea and take it farther, that we’re not just going to be nice to each other, we’re not just going to be polite with one another, we’re going to genuinely care about people. We care about the needs and the concerns of the students, and we want to be able to assist them as best we can. David Burge says at Charger Days that we aren’t perfect here at LBC, and we don’t try to hide flaws for the Charger Day students. We want to be the same way. We’re not perfect in the SGA, and this school isn’t perfect. We don’t want to hide those things. We don’t want to convince people that we’re perfect. We want to help them out to make things better, because there’s always room for improvement, like I said before. I think the best way to do that, with being friends, is being open, being vulnerable, and being present.
MA: I would agree with that. As we’re still looking into next year, there’s a lot of things we don’t know what they [will] look like yet. We’re still figuring that out, but we do know one thing that we can promise is that we will be a relational cabinet next year. That’s one thing we know we’ll be delivering on.
JF: Our team is just [a] incredibly relational team: Tirus [Twyne], April Summers, Rheeana Miles. Those are people that when we were thinking, “What are we going to do to assemble our cabinet?” We thought of people who were well known around campus because we wanted to be relational. So, people that we thought of…. There was a list of people, but when we boiled it down, we thought these are three solid people who would fit well in the roles they’re in, and that we really can see as influencers and relational people on this campus. We pursued them to be on our team for those reasons, and we have full confidence in them. I mean, they’ve already started initiatives. We haven’t told them, “Hey, you need to start doing this.” Now, Tirus is already trying to connect with chapel to talk about what that looks like, because he’s the chaplain and he wants to work alongside them with different goals he has. Rheeana, like I said, is already working with OneLife students. April is just getting the word out wherever she can and talking to people about concerns. I think it’s just incredible that these people are so passionate about what we’re starting here that we don’t even have to tell them what to do, really. We just set them in the right direction, and then we’re like, “You’re set to go.” They know what they’re doing, and it’s just so encouraging.
MA: I agree. They were, all three of them, on the freshman cabinet this year and went above and beyond, and it just really stuck out. We’re excited to have them all on a team together. It has a lot of potential for next year and years to come
JF: Yeah, we’re hoping that we’ll have longevity… is that the word?
JF: Sustainability, too, for the SGA, what we’re setting up. We want to be more than just a one year fling kind of thing. We want it so that people can build off of it for years to come. That we don’t have to take steps back and be like, “No, we have to rethink this.” We want to be like, “That’s a great platform; let’s keep building off of it, let’s keep going with it. This is a great policy, let’s implement it for the years to come.” We don’t want things to just be our way. We want it to be done the right way even if that’s not our way. There are some things that I wanted to do that, definitely we can’t do because they’re not the right way. Yeah, I was disappointed, but I have to remember, and all of us have to remember, that the better interests of the school, and the students, and the faculty, and everyone here at LBC has to be our first priority.
Image Credit: KK Schultz