With his campaign over, Luke King can rest easy. That is, until he assumes his position as Gannon University’s 2013-14 Student Government Association president in the fall.
The campaigning and election were “nerve-wracking” for King, especially since King felt each of his two opponents was strong competition for the presidential race. King shared the ballot with his Pi Kappa Alpha brother Shane Cowan and said he felt Mike Krysiak’s background exceeded his own experience.
“I had a lot of nerves coming from a biology background,” King said. “I didn’t think that maybe this was the best role for me, but taking a step back and seeing how well I did in SGA this year, that really motivated me to get through the campaign process.”
While his specific plans for SGA are tentative, King said he plans on building a stronger rapport between SGA and the student body.
“I feel like there’s a very small percentage of the student body that really knows not only what SGA is, but what we’re doing,” King said. “I really want it to be a hundred percent.
“I want students to know what’s going on in student government and feel comfortable coming to us with their concerns and problems so that we can fix them.”
Kelsie Bunce, currently a junior SGA representative and newly elected 2013-14 vice president of public relations, said she and King plan to promote SGA so both students and SGA can be better aware of the other’s needs.
Bunce used “ambitious” and “motivated” when describing King’s strengths as a leader.
“When he sets his mind on something, he gets it done,” Bunce said. “I expect a very productive year from SGA.”
In regard to his administration’s aims, King said he plans to enact changes that positively affect the students.
“It’s something that’s going to improve the quality of life for the student body,” King said. “Hopefully it’s something that when I come back as an alumnus, I can look back and say ‘Wow, I did that, and it’s still here.’”
Between now and the end of the spring semester, King will meet with current SGA President Ange Coustillac to transition into the office.
Coustillac gave King the good news when the election results were in, and King said while at first he was “ecstatic,” he realized he had “some big shoes to fill.”
“I’ve seen how Gannon’s administration and faculty have really fallen in love with Ange,” he said, “and they’ve appreciated everything she’s done for campus. Honestly I’m not really worried about it, though.
“I think I’m going to have a different spin on SGA this year, and I’m really motivated and excited to have something tangible to look at the end of my year here, and say, ‘I accomplished this.’”
Coustillac will still be around next year, as she will serve as a graduate adviser to SGA while pursuing a master’s in business administration.
She said she’s confident in King’s work ethic and she is looking forward to seeing how the office will grow King’s leadership skills.
“He’s a very bright young man with a strong future ahead of him,” Coustillac said.
“This experience is going to help shape that future for him.”
According to King, remaining SGA members will see a different leadership style from him than they saw from Coustillac this year.
“She’s a very task-oriented type leader,” he said. “She knows what needs to be done and she’s not afraid to confront her peers about it. And she’s not afraid to force motivation to get things done.
“I want to continue the legacy that she’s left behind; however, I’m more of a socio-emotional type leader. I tend to make relationships with all of my exec board and all of my student representatives, and I want to help utilize their strengths so that they can not only gain the most out of SGA, but also help improve SGA.”
King described himself as an outgoing person, but for those students who have not met him, King reiterated the need for fresh communication between students and SGA.
“I love to say hello to people when I see them, even if I don’t necessarily know their name,” King said.
“I encourage students – freshmen to senior – to say hello to me, my executive board and my assembly, because truly the best way to foster improvement is to foster communication.”
This article by Dan Kubacki originally published in The Gannon Knight on Wednesday, Apr. 17, 2013.