Freshman Forum gives voice to incoming students

By SGA Beat Writer Jessica Livingston

Looking for leadership in a college experience? Do not miss out on Freshman Forum, an entry level legislative leadership opportunity the University of North Alabama provides.

Freshman Forum is the entry level branch of the Student Government Association. The branch gives a voice to the freshman class.

Marissa Deal, former University Council Freshman Forum Advisor, said over 150 students apply for Freshman Forum each year, but SGA executives only select 40.

“Even though the application can be daunting, we have an incredibly relaxed interview where we are trying to learn the best you,” Deal said. “Freshman Forum gives incoming freshman skills that will help them transition from high school leaders into college leaders.”

Freshman Forum meets every Wednesday at 4:30.

Freshman Forum advisors for the 2017-18 year are Jonathan Barnett and Trent Trammel.

SGA Senate and University Program Council members selected the advisors to ensure students have advisors with a range of experience. Trammel was in Freshman Forum last year, and this will be his second year in SGA.

This will be Barnett’s fifth year in SGA. He said he wanted to be an advisor to leave students with knowledge from all the years he has seen.

Former SGA President Sarah Green said Freshman Forum prepared her for every organization she participated in at UNA

“It gave me a good foundation for the rest of my time in college,” Green said.

Members plan campus-wide events and make decisions about how different committees will spend a portion of the university’s money.

Former Senate Freshman Forum advisor Mollie Schaefer said Freshman Forum is what got her adjusted to her first year in college.

Schaefer said Freshman Forum is a good way to meet people while also becoming a campus leader.

“My advice is don’t be scared,” Schaefer said. “Just be yourself. I think I came in really fearful about joining. I thought, ‘I’m not an SGA person. That’s not who I am.’ So it’s a really great place to test yourself as person.”

Senior Dominic Summerhill said Freshman Forum was his way toward leadership opportunities at UNA. He applied for Freshman Forum 4 years ago in 2013 and has been in SGA every year since.

“It is the best way to network and build your resume for college leadership experience,” Summerhill said.

Sophomore Sam Thompson said Freshman Forum is something all students can benefit from.

“I never in a million years thought that I would get into Freshman Forum,” Thompson said. “When I did, I met some really amazing people. It’s a great way to step out of your comfort zone.”

Thompson said SGA looks for diversity in Freshman Forum members.

“No matter what your background is, don’t be afraid to apply,” Thompson said. “They’re looking for someone just like you.”