Cameron Keen starts most mornings of his senior year in 8 a.m. meetings since being elected University of Georgia Student Government Association president in 2017.
Even a half an hour before the Apirl 4 ceremony to inaugurate the newest SGA administration, Keen was caught up in another meeting.
“It’s really different every single day, which I think is my favorite part,” Keen said. “Most of my time is spent with meetings … A lot of it, which is almost the most important aspect, is also just listening to students.”
Keen estimated he spends around 40 hours a week with his work as president, including external communications, public speaking, executive board meetings and discussing matters with Vice President Roya Naghepour and Treasurer Kal Golde every day.
“The day in the life [of SGA president] — I’ll tell the new group and I tell other people — usually just expect 8 a.m. to midnight days and crazy everyday,” Keen said.
But in another week, these meetings will be out of his planner and passed onto SGA President Ammishaddai Grand-Jean.
This week after elections is an “intensive week” of training for the new administration, Keen said, and then they’ll step back to let the next group lead.
“You have to be really flexible and understand going into it that it’s never going to be predictable and there’s always going to be something new,” Naghepour said. “I think that’s the beauty of it. I don’t really know how to have a stable schedule or a stable bedtime.
The two stressed they’re always available for questions, with Keen heading to UGA School of Law and Naghepour finishing up her undergraduate degree as a senior next year. Naghepour said they will still have some roles to fill until the end of the year.
"We're here to serve students," Keen said. "That's it. That's our only goal."
Ignited from the beginning
Keen said when his winning ticket was announced in 2017, one of the former executives pulled him aside and said, “The honor’s over, time to get to work.”
“It was clear we would be going head first, all-hands-on-deck venture,” Keen said. “It’s definitely been a great one.”
The Keen and Nagehpour said they finished their Ignite platform, specifically focusing on making mental wellness resources more accessible for students.
“I think we’ve made an actual, significant impact in regard to student mental wellness on campus,” Keen said. “I think we’ve helped students recognize where to go first in times of need and really started a conversation about mental wellness.”
The administration hosted a SGA Mental Wellness Week and added two icons to the UGA mobile app, 24-hour Emergency Care and Wellness Resources.
In addition, Naghepour and other SGA members talked to representatives in Washington D.C. in March, specifically advocating for mental health legislation as well as advocate in favor of a federal open textbooks grant.
"We're here to serve students. That's it. That's our only goal."
“SGA gives student perspectives not only on a university level but also on a state and local level,” Naghepour said.
The administration has strived to make SGA a platform to be the voice of students and other organizations as well, promoting UGA events from different groups on their social media accounts.
One of Ignite’s platform points was to establish an Inter-Organizational Council in SGA, and the first meeting happened in 2018 with around 30-40 campus organization leaders.
Naghepour hopes the next administration continues this initiative, which she considered one of her passion projects.
And though their administration is ending, UGA students should keep an eye out for the Deck Check feature on the UGA mobile app which will show students whether or not a campus parking deck is at full capacity. This project is in its final stages and will be one of the last initiatives for the 2017-2018 administration.