The Gatepost Interview: McKenzie Ward, SGA President for AY 2021-22

What made you want to get involved in student government?

So, I was not involved in high school at all. I really only worked. So when I got to college, I wanted to get involved as much as I possibly could. And my cousin, who had gone to Stonehill College, was in student government. So, I knew a little bit about university student government. I figured that was the best way to get involved from the center of organizations in the center of engagement. So, I originally only planned to go in as a Senator. I really had no future plans to join eBoard or anything like that. But, because of the guidance I received from the SGA President from 2019 to 2020, Matty Bennett, he really inspired me to take on bigger positions in SGA, and the rest is history.

Why did you decide to attend FSU?

I decided to attend FSU for a couple reasons. One, I chose FSU because I live only 25 minutes away. The availability to go home on the weekends was really great. But also, just the price of FSU is a lot cheaper than the other schools I got accepted into. But the number one reason I wanted to go to FSU is I didn’t want to be just a number in a classroom to my professors. I wanted my professors to know me by name, rather than just as another student. That’s why I like FSU, because it’s small enough that I have that one-on-one relationship with a majority of my professors.

What positions have you held in SGA and what did they entail?

I was a Senator during my freshman year. I was a voting member of student government and I sat on different committees to talk about the Constitution of student government. I also would do volunteering for different student government events, whether that be a table event or attending a movie night from last year right before COVID-19. Also, I was an open educational resource ambassador, so I was an advocate for open educational resources and making textbooks more accessible to students rather than having to pay exorbitant prices for textbooks. And this year, I am the Student Trustee, which means I serve on the Board of Trustees as a voting member and I serve as the communication between the student body and the Board of Trustees. I am able to speak for the students and ensure their concerns get a spot at the table.

Why did you decide to run for SGA President?

I decided to run for SGA president because I love SGA. SGA is a huge part of my personality when it comes to FSU. I believe serving as student government president, I can kind of bridge the gap between other organizations and students, and really help foster better relationships between everyone on campus. I also believe that as student government president, I want to be able to push forward a lot more of my initiatives concerning mental health issues, and also food and housing insecurity, which has been a huge part of SGA’s mission over the last few years. I really want to continue that work and build it out even further than SGA already has. 

What are some of the things you plan to accomplish during your time as President?

I hope to continue to do more anti-racist work within the University and trying to find different places in our institution that still contain a form of racism or bias and work with those offices to make them more inclusive of everyone, especially people of color. I also hope to spearhead more initiatives concerning food and housing insecurity since that is a huge issue with college students. A lot of students are not getting the support that they need. I believe that with the funding we [SGA] have, we can provide our students at Framingham State with more support when it comes to food and housing insecurity.

What is your favorite part about being on SGA?

My favorite part of being part of SGA is the essence of community that we all have. One of my favorite things about being on SGA before COVID-19 was being able to be in the office with the other senators and eBoard members and just talk about our days and catch up. There was a really chill environment before COVID-19. Now, it’s a little different, since only about three of us are in the office on a regular basis. Hopefully, next year, with guidelines easing up, it will be easier to have that sense of community in person rather than just online.

What else have you been a part of on campus?

So, like I said earlier, I took full advantage of getting involved on campus when I was a freshman. Not only have I been involved with SGA, but I am the Opinions Editor for The Gatepost, which is the student newspaper at the University. Next year will be my third year serving in that position. Last fall, I served as a peer mentor in the New Student and Family Programs Office. And this spring, and again in the fall, I served as the Foundations’ intern for the Peer Mentor Program. I’ll be able to guide first-year students acclimating to college. I also am a member of four different honors societies. I am a member of the first-year Honor Society, the Transfer Honors Society, Phi Kappa Phi, and the History Honors Society. I also work in SILD as a student coordinator of events, and I am the Newman Civic Fellow for FSU next year. I am also the open educational resource ambassador for Framingham State.

What advice do you have for students?

Get involved. It is so easy to get involved during college, especially at FSU. We have so many different amazing opportunities, whether that be joining a club, getting a campus job, or even just trying to find a group of friends on campus to really help you immerse yourself in the FSU community. I’m really hoping with the fall semester looking so bright with the COVID-19 vaccine that we will be able to have more in-person engagement occurring, which will be fantastic for everyone.