Gatepost Interview: Olivia Beverlie – Student Government Association President

What made you want to get involved in student government?

My freshman year, I was kind of bored and wanted to join a club, and I had been in student council in high school. So, I decided,  “Why don’t I check out student government?” and I went to their first meeting, and I just decided that, “Yeah, this is something I wanted to be a part of.” 

What made you want to attend FSU?

The funny thing is I actually didn’t want to go to FSU in the beginning. I remember, I was at a college fair my senior year of high school with my mom. I already kind of knew where I wanted to go to college. I thought I wanted to go to SNHU [Southern New Hampshire University]. And my mom was like, “Oh, but we should still go to this college fair.” And we saw a table about tuition, like reimbursement type of stuff, and how you can go to certain schools and get in-state tuition for your major. Framingham State was listed on there under criminology, and my mom was like, “Maybe we should just go tour. You never know – you might like it. And I was like, “Oh, OK. Whatever.” So, my mom made me go tour the school, and I fell in love with the campus that day. I was really excited about it. … Then, when I got my letter for financial aid, it was the best financial aid package I had got. It was just the best option for me to be able to live on campus, and also not be paying an exorbitant amount of money.

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment during your time in SGA?

I think my greatest accomplishment is probably within the work I did last year as student trustee – advocating for students and holding administrators accountable. I think I have to say my greatest accomplishment was holding successful Administrators’ Forums because we got a really good turnout for both semesters, and a lot of students were very happy with how it went. They were able to voice their opinions, and a lot of great things have come out of that. The CIE renovation kind of started as a student concern at Administrators’ Forum, and now SGA has been able to donate some money to help out with that. Now the CIE is getting completely renovated because of an Administrators’ Forum. And while it wasn’t me who brought up the concern, I was able to help students get to that point, and be able to voice their opinion in a good manner.

What changes has SGA had to undergo due to COVID-19?

First off, no more in-person meetings. Obviously, everything is on Zoom, which is hard for us because we’re very debate-centered and voting-centered. So, not being able to have that in-person communication is definitely difficult. We don’t have an open office anymore, which is kind of sad because we used to have to do office hours, and we would keep our door open so students could come in if they had questions or clubs could come in. So, that’s definitely been different. We haven’t had as much funding, obviously, to do because a lot of clubs are on like active hiatus, or they’re just inactive because they decided that’s what they wanted to do. So, we haven’t been seeing like any funding requests because of that. So, it’s definitely been different because on the club end of things, there’s not as much work to do. But there’s still so much more work that we’re doing at a University level in terms of policies and procedures. So, it’s definitely been like a shift away from club funding like we normally do, but honestly, it’s kind of a blessing in disguise because that’s what we’ve been wanting to do for a while. We don’t want to be seen as just a bank. It’s been nice that we’ve been able to focus our efforts toward other things.

What is your favorite part about being on SGA?

I would say the relationships I’ve built from it. I know that’s a cheesy thing to say about all clubs, but it really is the truth. I found my best friends by being involved with this organization – people that have honestly, truly changed my life, and changed my life path, and helped me do that. Every Tuesday night when we have Senate, I get excited to see my friends and other members of SGA because I just know that they’re my people. I have found my best friends through this organization, and I’ve convinced my friends who weren’t in the organization to join, and that kind of built our friendship a little bit stronger. So, as cheesy as it may sound, it definitely is the people, honestly.

What advice do you have for your FSU peers?

I’d say right now, especially with the way things are going, I just want everyone to remember how important self care is. It’s something that I’ve had to struggle with reminding myself to do. The world is a crazy place right now, especially within the last few weeks. It’s an election year, and human rights are on the line. So, it’s very normal to be stressed right now, even if you’re not a club leader. … I would say self care, and taking time out of the day to do something for yourself. I know we all get caught up in thinking homework is the most important thing at the moment, but just taking time to do something that makes you genuinely happy – whatever that is – making sure you’re taking care of your mental health. Take care of yourself because it’s the only way we can all get through this.