SGA president cites pandemic impact, urges support for student center
Mar 15, 2021
Claflin SGA President Marquel Sanders speaks about his year as student leader during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This year has been a really rough one,” Claflin University’s Student Government Association president said in reflecting on the challenges faced during a pandemic.
Marquel Sanders held a virtual news conference with multimedia students on March 9. During the Zoom meeting, he detailed some of the plans and priorities he and his administration have worked on in recent months.
Sanders cited the two-hour extended library time given to students.
“We had an SGA town hall meeting, and that was one of the things we wanted to get approved,” Sanders said. “Once Dr. Durant (vice president for student development and services) heard that, the library hours got extended.”
Sanders and his administration also has worked to develop educational resources to train students on the aspects of grant-writing.
“We can teach our students that they can learn how to write grants for their organizations.” That can help solve the problem of some organizations being unable to have events due to insufficient funding.
“We just try to increase organizational funding,” Sanders said.
Sanders said expanding student shuttle services remains necessary.
“We wanted to actually extend shuttle services by giving a better arrangement of options, especially on the weekends,” Sanders said.
He detailed plans to have shuttles provide students with transportation to restaurants and barbershops, but he and his administration were not able to pull it off due to the pandemic.
“That’s something we really wanted to do at the beginning of the administration, but because of COVID, that kind of took us away from that.”
Sanders said promoting a new student center on Claflin’s campus is a top priority. The center has been proposed by university President Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack.
The new center could be funded in part by a fee applied to students, not including seniors, he said. A referendum will be held to gauge student interest in the idea.
Details on the amount of the fee or when it would be put into effect have not been disclosed.
“This student center will be change for the university,” Sanders said.
“It will be a main attraction for students, a place for off-campus students to gather, a place for conversation, enjoyment and relaxation,” he said.
Sanders said he plans to hold a town hall meeting with students to promote the development of the student center. No details were provided.
“It can be something we look forward to,” Sanders said of the center.
The SGA president said commencement in 2021 will be in-person and held at the Orangeburg County Fairgrounds on April 24.
According to Sanders, the 2020 and 2021 classes will walk.
To abide by social-distancing guidelines, each student may bring up to three guests, though that number could be altered depending on how many graduates opt out of attending. Spacing between seats will be required to reduce the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Sanders is a graduating senior. He is a member of the Bulldog Battalion ROTC unit. He will be heading into Army for at least eight years, being commissioned as a second lieutenant.
In reflecting on his time at Claflin, he praised Warmack.
He sees the president helping Claflin grow.
“I really love our president and I can see our university reaching higher heights within the next five years,” Sanders said.
“Claflin has taught me so many things and what visionary leadership is all about.”
Sanders urged students to give back to Claflin.
“Just remember to give back to Claflin University because we are a private institution and it is one of our driving forces of funding.”