President leads by example

Haley Russell
Assistant News Editor

Allie Douglass/Contributing photographer

Jeremiah Johnson, SGA president, says his main goal is to reach all students on campus, starting with the International Student Organization and Black Student Council.

It wasn’t until a few minutes had passed that Jeremiah Johnson, senior from Hopkinsville, Ky., realized he had just submitted an application for student body president.
“It took me a minute to figure out what I had just done,” Johnson said.
Johnson had been a part of the Student Senate since he attended a Summer Orientation session his freshman year, he said.
He said he remembers the Curris Center Dance Lounge filled with Student Government Association members, all aiming to get freshmen involved.
Kirby O’Donoughue, secretary at that time and last year’s SGA president, suggested Johnson get involved with the SGA.
Beginning as a Regents College senator, Johnson was later elected Hutson School of Agriculture senator two years in a row.
After applying for SGA president last semester, Johnson said the campaigning he and other candidates did was minimal.
“I’m not one of those people that hangs up fliers every time I turn around,” he said. “I’ll hang up a sign or two, but I’d rather go out and actually talk to people.”
Johnson said once he had announced his candidacy, his fraternity, Alpha Gamma Rho, played a major role in his decision-making and campaigning.
“They’re always there, that’s just one thing,” he said. “They’ve just been my backbone throughout this entire process. A lot of times, I just sit and talk with them. They’re just that sound, solid voice for me to bounce ideas off.”
Johnson attributes his success as president to his fraternity adviser, Oid Robertson, and roommate, Curtis Dame, a graduate student from Rumsey, Ky.
Dame said Johnson became the leader he is today by watching other leaders.
“Jeremiah was one of those people who really learned how to lead by first following,” he said. “I know that might sound a little elementary in nature, but for Jeremiah, it wasn’t a problem. I think that’s what makes him a really good leader, because he’s not afraid to take orders and listen to people and have that open-ear policy.”
Johnson’s plan for SGA and the campus is unity of all students, he said.
“We’re going to make (SGA) more of a student body representation,” he said. “Right now, I feel like we’re only representing a few groups on campus and I want to represent everybody.”
As a student and a staff member, Dame said the unification of students is necessary in solving any campus problems.
“The problems that we as a student body face, are bigger than one man to solve,” he said. “It’ll take all of us.”
Unifying students will take involving all student organizations and clubs. Johnson’s particular focus, he said, is working with the Black Student Council and International Student Organization.
“That’s what I want to see, one big unified body,” he said. “That’s why I ran, because I want to do more work with those groups, because to be perfectly honest, if you look at the student make-up of SGA, Black Student Council and ISO, I don’t feel like any of those groups are reaching all of the students we need to.”
Another of Johnson’s goals is to let students know he has a transparent, open-door policy, he said.
“I want more students to realize that they can email SGA or me,” he said. “We can’t fix everything, we’re not miracle workers, but we do our best to represent all students in all aspects.”
Johnson’s leadership role is to teach by example, Dame said.
Said Dame: “He’s always front and center, not because he wants to stand out, but because he leads by example. He really makes waves with his actions more than his words.”
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