I was in Utah on a ski trip when I heard that we were not returning to campus after spring break. Immediately, I switched into Student Association mode and began calling the other executive officers and our faculty advisors. Before long, we in the Student Association Council and our advisors agreed these circumstances called for a reassessment of our priorities. With the representatives no longer on campus, it would be impossible for the 12 SA committees to continue pursuing their projects and proposals. More importantly, the current circumstances rendered many of our projects temporarily moot. For example, the Technology Committee’s initiative to put printers in the lobbies of dorms is much less relevant if all attention is now devoted to helping students vacate those same dorms.
I would be lying if I said this wasn’t disappointing or even frustrating. Projects we had worked passionately on for months had to be put on hold just when we had been racing to complete them before the transition into a new SA administration. Still, we didn’t have much time to grieve these potentially forgotten projects. The responsibilities of the SA did not stop when we left campus.
We laid out our new objectives as the following: assisting students (as well as the rest of the Harding community) in this transition and maintaining the most essential SA functions remotely. The first objective required that we focus on current dilemmas — working with the Office of Student Life to help students move out of campus residence halls as well as coordinating with the provost to educate students and faculty about online class etiquette and protocols. While these all dealt with current issues, the scope of our other objective focused more on the future of the Student Association.
In one of my first virtual meetings with Dr. James Huff, one of the SA faculty advisors, we agreed that our most fundamental responsibility for the time remaining was conducting a fair and accessible election. We held interest meetings via Zoom, spent hours communicating with all interested students and relevant administrators and staff, and updated our intent to file forms and candidacy petitions to Google Forms so candidates could run for office from all over the world. As I write this, our online election for the SA Council of 2020-21 is underway, and our advisors have informed me that voter turnout is excellent considering our situation. I am glad to say the torch is nearly passed, and the Student Association of our great school will outlast this pandemic.
Moving forward, we will continue doing what we can to support the students and administration during this challenging season. Until the end of our term, we will carry on the types of tasks I already mentioned, and we will almost certainly gain more. The most encouraging part of our situation is this: everyone wants to help. A class of public relations students has dedicated the rest of their semester to helping us keep the student body connected via social media, and I have seen other remarkable acts of kindness and generosity done by people at Harding and in the worldwide community recently. All in all, while none of this is what I ever expected for my closing chapter at Harding, I have witnessed encouraging blessings throughout it. I find solace in Mordecai’s advice to Esther that perhaps our generation was raised for such a time as this.
Michael Krupka, SA president, April 11