More than two dozen student leaders from Tennessee colleges and universities discussed ways to support new adult learners arriving under the Tennessee Reconnect program and students with various needs when they gathered for the quarterly meeting of the Student Government Presidents Council on Jan. 25.
The Council gives Student Government Association presidents from the community and technical colleges comprising the College System of Tennessee, as well as the state's universities, opportunities to discuss policies and issues and to share ideas on initiatives and programs that benefit their fellow students. The Council is facilitated by the Tennessee Board of Regents' Office of Student Success, and its winter meeting was held at the TBR system office in Nashville, with some students participating remotely through teleconferencing.
Other items on the agenda included planning the second annual TBR Day on the Hill, set for March 20 at the State Capitol; reviewing the application process for the student member of the Board of Regents; an update by current Tennessee Board of Regents Student Regent J. Carlos Gonzalez Roman; the presidents' own community service activities; work on a Council brochure that will aid and inform future SGA presidents, and campus updates
Thousands of new adult learners enrolled at TBR community and technical colleges this past fall and in the current spring semester under the expanded Tennessee Reconnect program, which provides for tuition-free attendance for adults without a college degree or credential to work toward their Associate degree. The SGA leaders discussed ways to support those students, some of whom have either never attended college or haven’t attended in years -- including encouraging their involvement in campus activities, providing welcome week activities geared toward them, weekly mixers, and support workshops.
The student presidents also discussed ways to help other students with various financial needs, including creating clothing closets, food pantries and childcare assistance on their campuses.
In addition, the Student Government Presidents Council, as a group, does a service project each academic year. The presidents will report on the activities at the next quarterly meeting.
The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.