With the 2023-2024 academic year underway, the 61st Administration for the Student Government Association is officially in office. So, what better time than the present to meet the duo at the head of the table?
New Sycamores, meet Nick Bement and Chase Pondel, your SGA President and Vice President.
They believe in putting you first and ensuring that every ISU student makes the most from their time on campus. The two have hit the ground running and have already checked off a significant milestone for students regarding mental health advocacy. Above all else, they’re here to listen to your ideas.
Nick: Junior from Terre Haute, majoring in Legal Studies with Minors in Political Science and Sports Marketing. Currently serve as the Ritual Chairman for Pi Kappa Alpha.
Chase: Senior from Gibson City, IL majoring in Fine Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design with a minor in Art History. Currently serve as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chairman for Pi Kappa Alpha.
What made you decide to run for SGA in your role?
Nick: I ran for SGA President because I wanted to change the culture around ISU into an engaging and involved student body. I truly believe that students at State want to make the most of their time here and when the opportunity arose to run alongside Chase, I knew we could help be a catalyst for change.
Chase: Coming to Indiana State, I had the goal of getting involved as much as I could during my four years here. After joining the Sycamore Leadership Coalition and becoming Vice President during my first year, I knew SGA was where I wanted to dedicate my time and efforts. I joined our senate the following year with the intention of later joining the executive branch. After serving a year on the 60th Administration’s executive cabinet with Nick, we concluded that our experience and unique strengths combined would make us a great pairing to run for President and Vice President.
How did you guys meet and how did you guys know you’d be such a good duo to work together as President and Vice President?
Nick: We met through our fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha. We had no clue that we were both involved in SGA, Chase as a Senator and me as a member of SLC, the freshman program that SGA helps sponsor. Chase became my mentor in the fraternity and our friendship followed.
Chase: Nick and I balance each other well. Whereas Nick is more legal and governmental-minded as a Legal Studies/Political Science student, I am much more creative and free-thinking as a Fine Arts Major.
Tell me about your campaign list and goals.
Our campaign centered around putting Sycamores First, through three platform goals: Represent, Rebuild, and Respect. Each of these platform goals had initiatives and opportunities placed in them to better the Sycamore experience. Representing Sycamores through putting on events that you want to see and helping the Sycamore community is our goal. Rebuilding Sycamores means ensuring that each student knows the power of their voice, through the building up of our different colleges’ Student Advisory Boards. Respecting Sycamores means advocating for mental health awareness and inclusivity in SGA and on campus.
If you haven’t mentioned it yet, I know mental health advocacy was a big priority for your campaign. Tell me what you accomplished and how significant it is to have more readily available mental health resources for students.
Mental health advocacy was a priority during our campaign and will be a priority during our term. This summer we worked with Parking Services to help get mental health resources on the back of all incoming freshman student IDs. Any freshman that went through orientation after June 5th has the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline as well as the ISU Counseling Center phone numbers on it. For upperclassmen, SGA is currently working on a plan to give cards with mental health resources out to anyone who wants one. These will continue on a rolling basis, so in 3 years every student on campus will have this. It’s so important that everyone has these resources with them at all times because you never know when a crisis situation might occur. Putting them on IDs is a fantastic idea because everyone has to have one, and everyone carries it around with them at all times.
What can students expect to see from you this academic year?
Students can expect to see a change in the atmosphere surrounding the student experience. We will be doing our absolute best to put on fun events, make your year enjoyable, and advocate on your behalf. However, all is for nothing if you, the students, don’t get engaged and involved!
Any advice for the incoming freshmen?
Nick: During your first few weeks you will be told many times to get involved around campus whether that be in student organizations, clubs, intramurals, Greek life, etc. The most important thing is to put yourself out there and find your place on ISU’s campus! Above all else, make sure you make the most of your time here at State!
Chase: All freshmen should know that they have much more free time than anticipated. Aside from being in class, the rest of the hours in a day are up to you. Being at a university is the perfect opportunity to make connections and try new things. I highly encourage each student to be involved in at least one organization.
If students have comments or concerns how can they contact you?