Author: Kaylee White
Dozens of Millsaps students gathered in the bowl on a recent Friday afternoon, dancing to music, chatting over food and playing games in the fall breeze.
At the end of a long week, students seemed happy to have the fun midday break.
“We love the DJ, and we love the Bunny Hop,” Julia Wicker, a junior at Millsaps, said before joining a growing number of students in a line dance to the song. Students enjoyed themselves as the afternoon wore on, all leaving happier than they came, having experienced the very first occurrence of a new weekly tradition started by the Student Body Association campus: Major Friday.
Major Friday, which began on the first Friday of November, is an event designed to offer students a place to have fun, relax and kick off the weekend in a good mood. The event was inspired by a weekly tradition at Jackson State University called the JSU Hotspot, an event where students hang out with music, dancing and sometimes food.
“We wanted that environment on campus, and that’s how it came about,” explained Kyla Thurston, a freshman SBA senator at Millsaps.
Major Friday is one of many things that the SBA is working on to create a more engaging and interactive environment on campus.
This event helps to fulfill some of SBA’s responsibilities, which include providing effective student governance, acting on student interests, maintaining a high quality of campus life and assisting the administration, faculty and staff in creating a healthy learning environment. The SBA is able to do this through the partitioning of these responsibilities among their three branches of government: the Senate, the Executive Board and the Student Conduct Council.
Despite their different responsibilities, all three branches share a common goal. SBA President Essence Davis said the main goal for SBA this school year is to “implement more fun on campus.” SBA plans to accomplish this by giving students more things to do on campus and in the Jackson area.
In addition to Major Friday, SBA began another initiative this year to help reach this goal of “fun.” If a group of five or more students wants to attend a local event in Jackson, they can request funding from the SBA. In addition, SBA is a lifeline for all organizations on campus and they work to support these organizations by providing the funds to host fun and educational events both on campus, locally, and even across state lines.
“The opportunities for fun, for education are endless,” Davis said. “If you come and ask for the money, nine times out of ten, we can do whatever you want to do on campus.”
SBA leaders said they’re hopeful the outreach efforts will encourage more students to get involved with the student government. A list of SBA executive board members and senators is on the Millsaps website, and students are encouraged to visit SBA Senate meetings, which are held every Thursday at 11:40 a.m. in Sullivan-Harrel 221.
At the end of these meetings, the Senate opens the discussion up to include constituent concerns, allowing anyone to bring forth concerns about what is happening on campus. The SBA also hosts a Town Hall at least once a semester, which is also used as an open forum for students.
“We want to make Millsaps a wonderful experience for everyone, and so any way that we can do that, we’d love to hear it,” says Molly Ross, the staff advisor for SBA.