Students get involved in Freshman Forum

Inside the Freshman Forum meeting is a room full of approximately 30 freshmen working together to come up with new ideas and events on campus.

A branch of UNA’s Student Government Association, Freshman Forum allows freshmen to get involved.

“Freshman Forum is like an entry level for SGA so a student does not have to get thrown into SGA full force,” said Jordan Summerford, former Freshman Forum president.

Summerford had to attend executive meetings and report Forum developments to the SGA president. He also ran the group meetings and relayed final decisions on issues discussed in meetings.

Forum participates in social get-togethers, such as a retreat in mid October at the Christian Student Center. There, the members bond and participate in a wide range of activities.

“There are a good bunch of students with different ideas and inputs,” Summerford said. “Everybody listens to everybody.”

Former Forum Vice President KeKoria Greer said she felt privileged to work with her fellow students.

“I am glad there is a branch so that freshmen can put our heads together and voice our opinions,” Greer said.

Greer was responsible for developing ideas on how to spend the budget given by SGA Senate with the freshman branch. Last year, she reached an agreement with the group to spend part of the funds on polos for every student in Freshman Forum to wear.

“We wanted to invest in polos so Freshman Forum can have an identity similar to the polos worn by SGA,” she said. “The idea turned out great, and we were under the budget.”

Funds raised by the group are later used to support other projects and events.

“It is cool to see our money going toward something other than spending,” Greer said.

If members miss a significant number of meetings, they must appear in front of the judicial board, officials said.

“If a student misses three meetings and does not give an excuse prior to the absence, they can no longer be a member of Freshman Forum,” said former Forum Secretary Brianna Jordan.

Jordan was responsible for taking role and typing meeting notes.

Freshman Forum is broken into four committees. Each committee is given a specific task to complete. Last year, the Service Committee, led by Xzandria Toombs, came up with a service project called Sweep the Streets, in which Freshman Forum paired with additional groups, such as Alpha Phi Alpha, to clean up the streets of Florence.

“We got a lot of work done, and I (was) pleased with the turnout,” Toombs said.

They began on West Court Street and then branched out to other side streets and neighborhoods. Sponsors, such as Jacks, provided breakfast for the team, and the group was helped by Keep the Shoals Beautiful. The freshman team also received equipment from Waste Management.

“It was a great project to take on,” Summerford said. “It lets the community know that we are not sitting in college just to do nothing. We are trying to branch out to benefit other people, not just ourselves.”

Summerford said anyone can attend the Freshman Forum meetings.

“Meetings are open for anyone to come,” he said. “We would love to hear feedback and any kind of issue that is going on around campus.”