A new student government staff emerges during a strange time


Photo by: Ryanne O’Donnell: The newly elected SGA staff will be inducted later this month. (Left to right): Cultural Diversity representative Mikee Olegario, Secretary Alexa Floyd, President Rashad Kirksey, Vice President Blake Moore, Chief of Staff Owen Leible, Public Relations Director Courtney Atkins and Parliamentarian Mary Dunn.

Despite the craziness that is the coronavirus and all the changes the disease forced at A-State, Student Government Association elections still took place the week before spring break as a new SGA staff was elected.

Junior Rashad Kirksey won the race for president and brought along with him his long-time friend junior Blake Moore as vice president.

The two have known each other since elementary school and both have a background in student government. 

“I think it’s very important when choosing a vice presidential candidate that you’re choosing someone that you know very well and that you work well with,” Kirksey said. “Because those two things right there are essential to making sure you’re the most effective in whatever you do. I’ve personally seen Blake’s work ethic and I know that he’s a hard worker. Whenever he sets his mind to do something it’s going to get done and not just get done, but get done to the best of his ability.”

Kirksey and Moore’s friendship really blossomed in high school and they came to A-State as freshmen together in 2017.

“We both were like minded,” Moore said. “We both knew we had a drive to help students in student government. I think just having similar goals and similar ideas for the university it helped to mesh, alongside having the long history together as friends.”


The push for a unity house for the National Pan-Hellenic Council stands as a big part of Kirksey and Moore’s platform. The NPHC is made up of nine historically black fraternities and sororities. 


Photo by: Ryanne O’Donnell Rashad Kirksey (left) and Blake Moore will serve as A-State’s new SGA president and vice president.

“That’s actually extremely important,” Kirksey said. “People find their true belonging in things that belong to them. They find their true meaning and a sense of purpose in actually having something they can call their own. This is something a lot of NPC and IFC sororities and fraternities have. Unfortunately, it’s a thing our NPHC fraternities and sororities aren’t able to do.”

Moore said one major reason a NPHC unity house is needed is because these organizations usually have to rent out spaces in the student union at a first come, first serve basis for their events. Not only do they have to rent these spaces, but sometimes the spaces they do get are not compatible with their events. 

In the future, a NPHC house could be used as a recruiting tool for A-State. 

“When it comes to recruitment and retention, especially of our African-American students, our NPHC greek life is very fundamental in ensuring we recruit and retain students of African-American descent,” Kirksey said. “So to make sure we maintain that and increase the amount of recruitment and the amount of potential we have among black students, I think it’s important to go back to building the right NPHC and to give them something they can call their own.”

A-State’s library is not open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Kirksey and Moore said they want to make the library open 24/7. 

“It’s important for the simple fact that a lot of students want a safe place to study on campus in a centralized space outside of their residential halls,” Kirksey said. “I’ve talked to our dean of students. I’ve had conversations with other administration on campus and they feel as if this is something that’s very doable.”

Moore said a 24/7 library is essential. 

“We’re all different (as students),” Moore said. “All students have different studying habits. For me, I know I work best at nightime, but not in my room. I get distracted easily. I’m just one example. I’m just one student who would benefit from 24/7 library access. Aside from that, a lot of major universities in Arkansas and surrounding states have utilized 24/7 library access. There’s rates that show students are performing better academically because they’re able to study in a more comfortable space for them.”

An always open library plays into another major issue on the newly elected staff’s platform. Kirksey and Moore want to bring more student jobs to campus. 

If the library is open all day every day, and flex areas to purchase food stay open longer, which is another platform issue, more students will be needed to staff these places. 

Moore said as not all students qualify for work study and as college becomes more expensive, more on campus jobs could help students pay for college. 

“Students should be able to work and work here on campus,” Kirksey said. “Not having to choose off campus jobs in order to sustain their lifestyle on campus.”

Kirksey and Moore do not really have one set location where they would like to see jobs created on campus, but besides jobs in areas of their platform, they said they would like to see jobs increase across campus in all areas. 

Other issues on the new staff’s platform include:

  • Pet friendly residence halls,
  • the creation of an on campus dog park, 
  • more meal plan variety,
  • a study room availability app and
  • a Red Wolf Center pool. 

Coronavirus and tornadoes 

The SGA election happened during a time of flux at A-State and the situation always seems to be ever-changing on and off campus due to the coronavirus. 

The newly elected staff will be inducted later this month. Kirksey said there will be challenges as this is something students have never really had to deal with, but he knows his staff is prepared and ready to move forward. 

In a time when a newly elected staff might be celebrating, a lot of students are dealing with moving out of their dorms earlier than expected, leaving their friends a few months earlier and just adjusting to classes online that were never meant to be online in the first place. 

“It’s definitely disheartening,” Moore said. “I’m not necessarily looking to celebrate. Just being on campus in itself is something I take pride in. I enjoy walking around seeing different people. When I’ve been on campus these past few days it’s been very quiet. It’s disheartening. It’s sad the semester ended this early but I definitely understand people need to take care of themselves by social distancing and being in safe environments during such an interesting and different time we’re in.”

Moore said he is a busy body and staying in the house has been hard for him. He said he feels in the fall semester students will be more appreciative of what they have. 

“Hopefully just a more appreciative attitude towards the benefits we have as students,” Moore said. “I feel like a lot of times throughout the semester a lot of students are like, ‘I don’t want to go to class or I’m tired of this, I’m tired of that.’ But you know, being kind of locked up in the house for all these months you realize all the blessings you have being able to go to a public university. Being able to have so many resources on the campus, intramurals, getting to spend time in the flex area, whatever it may be, I feel like a lot of students will be more appreciative.”

To make things worse during a pandemic, an EF-3 tornado tore through the center of Jonesboro March 28 and added another layer of hurt to the city. Returning in the fall for students could be even more significant than in past years. 

“I look forward to hitting the ground running,” Kirksey said. “I know there are going to be a lot of things our students have missed out on in this little bit of a semester we had left. I know there is going to be the excitement of a new semester. I know there will be new challenges for us, because that’s life. My staff and I will be actively working all over the summer very hard to make sure that our students, once they first arrive back on campus, that not only do they feel welcome, but that they know that their voice is being actively heard and that they have people who are pushing for their wants and their needs.”


Categories: News

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