The new Student Government Association (SGA) president was a shoo-in for the role.
Steven Lomax (sophomore, political science), previously holding a position as the director of internal affairs, ran uncontested as he was approached to run by the former president of the SGA, Alexander Fefolt (senior, history/pre-law and political science).
“After the elections closed, I called my mom and told her of the news,” Lomax said. “She was overjoyed and excited at the news and expressed how proud and amazed she is at the student leader I have become in my college experience.”
Lomax has experience with leading and directing student senators of their responsibilities and connecting them with offices or personnel on campus as needed.
He additionally worked with the executive board on their maintenance and advocation of student interests like the Pass/Fail policy and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program.
With a familiarity in student advocacy, Lomax first hesitated to apply for the position because of the magnitude of the president’s influence.
“At first, I did not recognize myself to lead an organization and the student body simultaneously,” Lomax said.
“After self-seeking reflection, I determined that this was the right path to continue toward, and the vision I have for students and the university could manifest through the role of president.”
With his position as president, Lomax appointed officers to other positions like public relations, director of internal affairs and director of external affairs, which is still vacant.
Lomax gave a speech of gratitude towards the officers and senators graduating in May.
“During my debate night speech, I remarked that I believe in ‘fostering an environment of diversity in action,’” Lomax said.
“What this looks like from my perspective is allowing and encouraging a university model of inclusive decisions that [implement] and provide growth and connection to all students attending IUP.”
The qualifications to apply for president require 12 weeks of attendance in meetings as well as meeting GPA, conduct and university conditions.
Candidates for SGA positions are selected through a university-wide student ballot in which students choose the one most suited for each position.
The election lasts four to five days on Crimson Connect, and then those with the most votes are announced. They were sworn into their new positions April 27, the last general assembly meeting for the SGA.
Fefolt commentated on Lomax taking this responsibility and his advice to the new president.
“Steven is an experienced and skilled leader, and I look forward to seeing him excel as the IUP student body president,” Fefolt said. “The hardest part about leadership on that visible level is being comfortable with making mistakes.
“But if you can use your mistakes to improve yourself and your abilities, you will go grow into a more experienced leader.”
Lomax spoke highly of Fefolt’s help in transitioning him to the new leadership role.
“The guidance and support from my predecessor, Alex Fefolt, was tremendous,” Lomax said. “In the start of the fall semester, Alex began to ask and prepare me for the role he knew I could achieve.
“I could not thank him enough for the foundation he laid.”
On the topic of his leaving, Fefolt talked about the difficulty of saying goodbye to those he became close to during his time as a prominent figure in the organization.
“It’s bittersweet to leave SGA after three years of being heavily involved with the group,” Fefolt said. “During that time, I have gotten close with the other members of SGA and our advisers, and I will miss working with them to support IUP students.
“I’m very proud of the legacy that we have created together over these past three years.”
Fefolt spoke to those wanting to accomplish similar feats but being unsure of where to start.
“For students who are working to enhance their leadership abilities in student organizations, I would advise [you] realize the potential and power you have in your voice as a student,” Lomax said.
“Acknowledge what your organizations core values are and who you represent, so that the reward of hard work and determination is not lost.”
Lomax warned that change requires time, but slow progress is still progress. The tough times that come are the defining moments, so it is important to be passionate about what can be done for others.
As the SGA acts as a voice for the student body of IUP, Fefolt offered advice for students from the perspective of someone that created a legacy with this organization.
“I would just add to the students reading this article that you can make your time at IUP so much more fulfilling by getting involved,” Fefolt said. “Find a student group or activity that connects with you and get involved.
“Trust me, it will be the best decision you can make in college.”