Learning at LPU happens everywhere students are gathered and our ASG leadership team takes seriously their role in building community and keeping students engaged and healthy.
Under normal circumstances, student life might host panels, workshops, worship gatherings, or movie nights to help build community on the Life Pacific University campus. Being together is an important part of keeping college students healthy and engaged, says Associated Student Government (ASG) President Maggie Mejia. Maggie and her team had a yearlong calendar in the planning stages when the COVID-19 curveball threw out everything that is normal.
The ASG planned panels on mental health and suicide prevention meeting a need among college students that was exacerbated when the pandemic struck. Helping students navigate FAFSA rules and processes is another theme that Maggie and her team address in workshops that went from in-person to virtual without much warning.
The pandemic curveball did not shut down student life, but rather, intensified the effort to gather LPU students in ways no one had before imagined.
“Our highest priorities this semester included rewriting our programming and shifting our social media presence as we prioritized holistic development and support for the student body based on real needs,” Maggie says. “ASG has implemented strategies to keep students informed and engaged during a season where we cannot physically be together.”
Students like Nellie Nous are quick to acknowledge the effort of ASG and the way students are being cared for during such an unusual season of college life. “I feel that ASG has adapted by pursuing community, and pursuing events despite everything that is going on in our world,” Nellie says. “The amount of effort ASG puts into events from the graphics to executing the events as a team, shows the resilience and heart of every member of the team. It shows how much they care about LPU and LPU student life.”
“The amount of effort ASG puts into events from the graphics to executing the events as a team, shows the resilience and heart of every member of the team. It shows how much they care about LPU and LPU student life.” - Nellie Nous
Harrison Williams acknowledges the work of ASG among his fellow students as the team transfers everything from in-person gatherings to online connections. “I think they have a good process of communication as far as guidelines and upcoming initiatives. For ASG, over-communicating is always the best way to go,” he says.
Kaitlin Ming says “adaptation” is a key word to describe the work of the ASG during the pandemic. “LPU Student Life social media has gone up and has been way more tailored to encourage students, get information out to students, and communicating the internal side of things,” Kaitlin says.
Vice President of Student Development George Bostanic recognizes the excellent work of the ASG and appreciates the way Maggie and the team worked closely with other University departments to supply resources and information to students. “At LPU we value holistic development, and we understand that learning does not just happen in the classroom,” George says. “The relationships and conversations that happen at events, in residence halls, in the courtyard, and outside of the classroom help us stretch and grow as an LPU community.”
“Each student matters,” George adds. “ASG seeks to be the student voice and in order to do that, they need to constantly assess student needs.”
George says the ASG strategically puts events together to help students feel connected, represented, challenged, encouraged, and valued. “Each student matters,” he adds. “ASG seeks to be the student voice and in order to do that, they need to constantly assess student needs.”
Maggie says the ASG works hard to step outside their comfort zone and learn from different experiences including a panel focused on Hispanic Heritage and a monthly student-led worship service called “Tehillah,” a Hebrew word meaning praise. “We really want to feature and encourage students to use their many gifts and talents in diverse ways for their own personal growth and the growth of the LPU community,” Maggie says.
“We really want to feature and encourage students to use their many gifts and talents in diverse ways for their own personal growth and the growth of the LPU community,” Maggie says.
Another priority for the ASG team is to listen to students and advocate for their needs. During the pandemic, some needs have become more prominent than during normal semesters and the ASG has adapted to those changes in student experiences, Maggie says. The example of faculty and staff are a primary source of motivation for the ASG team because of the care and concern shown to each student.
George says the ASG team has demonstrated tremendous adaptability and resilience in representing LPU and the student body. “The way they lead, serve, advocate, and care for our student body is truly remarkable. A lot of the work they do is behind the scenes but does not go unnoticed in keeping our students engaged, involved, and informed with the things happening in student life.” He says the responsiveness of the ASG team is largely because of the leadership of its president.
At the beginning of the year, Maggie shared her vision with the LPU community, inviting her team to join her in asking students: “How Can I Serve You?” During unprecedented times, such a question is not only needed but also essential in the life and health of LPU students. George and the University administration say the ASG team has fully embraced this mentality throughout this unique season.
“No one was expecting this,” Kaitlin Ming concludes about the COVID-19 era and she says the ASG team has gone above and beyond in their response and leadership of the student body. George Bostanic confirms that the ASG leadership serves the student body well and has “excelled in bridging gaps and breaking down barriers” so LPU students will thrive.