It was her desire to create change and work with an organization that represents students that inspired Virginia Tech’s newly-elected Student Government Association (SGA) president to run for the position last spring.

“What motivated me to become SGA president was the fact that I, as a student, could create sustainable change on our campus that could better the student experience,” said Tanushri Shankar of Rockville, Maryland, a senior majoring in public relations in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

Shankar and SGA Vice President Danny Strock of Fredericksburg, Virginia, a senior majoring in human nutrition, foods, and exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, campaigned on the platform, "At the End of the Day, Students Matter." It was centered around the idea that students drive change on campus. Shankar’s first order of business in addressing the needs and concerns of the student body is to ensure equal representation.

“My biggest concern is making sure that all students are represented, no matter what their background or ideologies might be,” Shankar said. “Students deserve representation on our campus and the SGA is responsible for doing so. I hope that we are able to echo the voice of the students to create sustainable change at the university.”

Other plans include continuing work on the implementation plan for Pathways to General Education, which will soon replace the current Curriculum for Liberal Education, and contributing to inclusivity and diversity by working with InclusiveVT, Shankar said. “I also hope to work with the Division of Student Affairs and other university resources to create a climate of financial literacy on campus.”

At the end of August, the SGA held a planning retreat to gain more information about the students that serve in the organization and what they think are pressing issues on campus. From that discussion, the SGA will create goals and a plan of action for the 2014-2015 academic year.  

Among the objectives for this semester are:

  • Boosting sales of Hokie Effect T-shirts by revamping marketing strategies. Hokie Effect, established by the Student Government Association in 2003, is a program run by students to increase school spirit and pride on football game days. Each fall, two home games days are chosen as the Maroon Effect and Orange Effect games. 
  • Promoting sustainability on campus. This year, in collaboration with Dining Services and Housing and Residence Life, the SGA provided reusable-to-go containers to all on-campus students.
  • Encouraging student involvement through the Freshman Leadership Experience (FLEX). A branch of the SGA, this program is an opportunity for incoming first-year students to get involved in student government and other organizations on campus.

The new academic year also means a new location for the SGA office. After decades on the third floor of Squires Student Center, SGA is now headquartered in 123 Squires, adjacent to the information desk on the first floor. The new location gives the SGA more space and greater visibility in a high traffic area.

Shankar has a lot to be excited about in the coming school year, but it’s who she will be working with that has her most thrilled. “What really got me engaged with SGA is the fact that it is an organization that represents all students and it's filled with students working for and with other students. I'm looking forward to working with a group of extremely motivated student leaders and to help contribute to the student legacy at Virginia Tech.”



Written by Gus Wagner of Stafford, Virginia, a senior majoring in public relations in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.