Man Behind the Mascot: Introducing SBA President Trey Vernaci

by Alex Melnick
arts & life editor

Trey Vernaci sat across from me in a Murrah study room, and says in mock solemnity: “I’m going to fail this paper, I’m going to fail this course… I’m going to fail life.”

Trey in the Yucatan/ Photo by Trey Vernaci
Trey in the Yucatan/ Photo by Trey Vernaci

Then he cracked a grin. Whatever Vernaci ends up doing with his life, it will certainly not be a failure. The junior political science and Latin American Studies student is an unstoppable juggernaut, renowned around campus for his enthusiasm. He’s an active member of 1Campus 1Community, a former Wellspringer, a respected member of Lambda Chi Alpha, an employee of Resnet, and also the man behind the Major Millsaps Mascot suit. With all those commitments, it seems counterintuitive that Vernaci would also run and be elected as student body president.

However, the key to Vernaci is his immense desire to help others, fueled by his cheerful yet manic drive to succeed. Whatever he does, Vernaci’s probably in it for the community. Vernaci was sworn into his office of president of the Student Body Association Dec. 8 and cannot wait to start engaging in dialogue with his peers about how to improve the campus.

The Purple & White: What made you want to run for SBA President?

Trey Vernaci: When I came freshmen year, I saw that a lot of my Challenge leaders were involved in SBA. I thought, “Well, it looks like these students are pretty prominent on campus, and it looks like they’re doing cool things to make Millsaps a better place.” I immediately decided I wanted to do that. The first semester of freshmen year, I ran for Senate, and through Senate I saw the potential that SBA had. As a senator, there’s a lot you can do but … it’s kind of limited. So I decided to go further. I ran for Treasurer, and got it. The year after that, I ran for Vice-President and I got Vice-President. So then I thought: “Well… There’s only one more step.” I had put three years into SBA and I have a lot of ideas on how to make Millsaps better. I ran in hopes of reviving the SBA and better addressing student concerns.

P&W: What would you like to see happen while you’re in office?

TV: My top three goals are communication, transparency and a better presence on campus.

I feel like a lot of students just don’t know what SBA is doing or what’s happening on campus. I think that SBA needs to serve as a liaison between students and the institution as a whole. It would be nice for SBA to strengthen those lines of communication and get students out to events.

As far as transparency goes, it’s along the same lines. Students don’t know what SBA is doing, so SBA needs to be a lot more transparent about what they do and what they even can do.

The one thing that I think is extremely important to both these goals is reestablishing the presence of SBA. I feel like since I’ve been here [2012], SBA has slowly seen a decrease in its presence on campus. SBA is 24 students, with 19 senators and five executive board members that represent the entire student body. Those student’s positions mean something. Students need to know that these students are there, and that these students are here to represent them. I want to try to make SBA more known so people can get involved.

P&W: Any projects in the works currently?

TV: I think that projects typically are manifested in the concerns of students. Currently, because of SBA’s lack of involvement this semester, there haven’t been many ideas brought to the table. This can be changed. There are no projects currently on the table. However, I think that the dining program changes were a big thing that happened that is all a result of student concerns. Semantically, the SBA isn’t just the president or the senators—it’s all the students. I want students to tell me what they want to happen, so we can work together to do it.

Students that have any comments or concerns can contact Trey Vernaci through email or his Millsaps box: 151474