Pickett releases administration’s strategic plan

SGA president wants to raise the standards of students through eight initiatives and overcoming 10 challenges


SGA Treasurer Blake Dulin, SGA President Jaylon Pickett, SGA Secretary Essynce Henderson and SGA Vice President Devin Smith

“SGA (Student Government Association) is about business this year, and that is why we designed a strategic plan,” said Student Government Association President Jaylon Pierre Pickett. “We put the plan in writing to show the student body the vision of what we are trying to do, so that we can get students to believe in it.”

Using the slogan, “Governmental Excellence Without Any Excuses” Pickett, along with his executive officers, went public with the strategic plan last month for the upcoming academic year. The plan presents seven presidential initiatives and 10 challenges that his administration will address.

One of those challenges that he feels his administration must deal with is the issue of the inconsistent Wi-Fi.

Given the widespread and increased use of technology on the campus, Pickett has spoken with Alabama State University President Quinton Ross Jr., Ed.D, about how to ensure that Wi-Fi connectivity is more efficient and effective across ASU’s campus.
Pickett said that Ross has partnered with Montgomery Internet Exchange to increase the pipeline from three gigabytes to 10, which should allow more students to connect to WiFi.

Known as the “People’s Champ,” Pickett identified students having enough financial aid as a major challenge. He said as more students speak to him about their issues of finding money to remain in school, he connected the lack of financial aid to the decline in enrollment. However, Pickett says that he has a plan to assist with this problem.

“This year Miss Alabama State University and SGA will set up the Second Chance Foundation,” he said. The Second Chance Foundation is designed to help students who have no other financial alternative and they find themselves about to be purged from classes, but want to remain in school.

“I’ve been talking to the ASU Foundation about setting up an account for these students and our strategy is to reach out to our alumni, students and staff to donate to this cause.”

The senior marketing major also believes that students often leave the university because they feel frustrated due to a lack of organization and poor customer service. He says his administration will focus on those two challenges.

“A lot of students leave this university because of customer service and disorganization,” Pickett said. “We want to hold conflict resolution forums, where anyone who has a conflict with the administrative staff can complete a Government Incident Form to get their complaints officially recorded and addressed.” He said that these forums will be conducted in a way that accountability will be shared equally between students and staff.

Another area that Pickett said that his administration will address is the Freshman Orientation course. He believes that the course should be changed from one hour to two hours and that more emphasis should be placed on the university’s history and traditions.

“I’ve been meeting with the University College dean and various teachers in the Freshman Orientation Division to add an hour to the couse so that more emphasis can be placed on university traditions and history,” Pickett said. “We believe that this is the answer to our lack of school spirit and pride. We want to revamp the course and make it more meaningful to our students.”

Pickett also believes that his authenticity will help him to become a better president and serve the students better.

“There is a difference between leading by example and leading a group of people for the same cause,” Pickett said, explaining the importance of leading by example without completely changing who you are to do so. “I want the student body to know the ‘real me.’ They knew exactly who I was before I was SGA president and I will remain that same person I was – just in an elevated manner.”

Joining Pickett are his four executive officers: SGA Vice President Devin Smith, SGA Treasurer Blake Dulin and SGA Secretary Essynce Henderson. However, Pickett said that he needs more students to help him run an effective government.

“We are trying to find actual student leaders to help run SGA efficiently,” Pickett said. “We have a lot of ideas, a lot of plans but it’s hard to do with only 15-20 people. We are still forming our leadership team as we speak, but it is really about getting everything organized.”
Outside of these issues, the Pickett administration wants to focus on the student body’s connection to SGA.

“Getting students to believe in the vision of SGA will probably be our most difficult challenge since many students believe that SGA is a joke,” Pickett said. “However, I believe that just following the basic provisions of the SGA Constitution, that haven’t been followed in the past, will build confidence in our administration. Things such as making sure I deliver two State of the Association addresses each semester, implement the president’s cabinet, so it’s not just the four elected officials doing all of the work, and recognizing the power of our Student Senate as the lawmaking body, are just basic things that will help our students believe in SGA again and the power of SGA.”

Understanding the students he represents, Pickett was clear about wanting to continue to be the person that the student body believes in because they (the students) have seen his improvement from where he started to where he is now.

“I ran for SGA president because I saw that the student body needed a different type of leader,” Pickett said. “In the past we have had leaders, but they couldn’t really lead because they were not in the trenches where the students were.”

“You have to understand our students. Everyone has a different background,” Pickett said. “I am one of those presidents who will understand their backgrounds and connect with them. If you do not connect with the student body, emotionally, they will not believe in anything you’re doing.”