As the year slowly comes to an end, it is time to welcome our new SGA President, Matthew Holgate, for the incoming academic school year of 2021-2022. Get to know your new President and what he plans to do for you this upcoming year.
Please introduce yourself, where are you from, what’s your major, what’s something that we should know about you?
My name is Matthew Holgate, and I am from Flagstaff, Arizona! I am a communication Major with a Tech and emerging media emphasis. I am also minoring in Journalism and Digital media, as well as attaining the anti-human trafficking certificate. Something that you should know about me is that this will be my fourth year serving in a student leadership position and I love the students at Vanguard University!
How was it winning your Presidency while you were in Arizona?
It was so different because I was not able to reach out to students in person like I would have wanted to, so I could hear their concerns and needs first hand. I felt so disconnected from campus, but then I realized that students are just a phone call or text away. It really helped that Phoenix McGee, my Executive Vice President, running mate was there though to hear concerns from students.
What do you plan on doing for the student body starting Fall of 2021?
My plan for the student body is to help create an environment that is inclusive and respectful of all their peers and administrators. I feel like God placed on my heart to make sure that all students’ voices are heard, and that I do my best to create an uncommon community. That means all students from different backgrounds and diverse cultures are able to come together and be a community. I want to set a standard of what it means to be a Vanguard Lion and that starts with students acknowledging the differences of each other, but also realizing we are one as a body of Christ. I want to start with bringing in more representation of students in SGA.
How will you advocate for students in faculty meetings?
I want to make sure that I am being authentic and that I want to be sure that the actual needs and concerns of students are being told to administrators. But really, I want to have the integrity to walk with transparency and authenticity when voicing concerns in faculty meetings.
What was the motive behind you becoming SGA President?
I really had no motive, but I felt moved to run for SGA President because I knew there were a lot things in this season that were not being talked about in SGA. I wanted to bring SGA into another level of how we run things. I wanted to be an advocate for all students and this is a beautiful platform to advocate and hear students. I told phoenix that there is 7 billion people on this planet, and I can make the lives better for the Vanguard students. That is because I will never be able to impact all 7 billion people, but for the students of VU, I can. I wanted to create change and diversity on campus so all students would love and be proud to be a lion as well.
What would be one of your big focuses as SGA President, for the year 2021?
One of my focuses for the Fall is getting SGA and Vanguard known to students, and to the community of Orange County. I would like to invite more voices to the table to talk about different things on how we can make our campus better for all students. I want to start by bringing in more representation which I have accomplished this past week adding 5 new house of representative positions! We will have an academic representative for all five divisions of academics as well as adding public affairs and multi-cultural representatives.
What do you think would be one of your biggest obstacles during the presidency, due to COVID?
One of my biggest obstacles is that we have students who missed out on their freshman year due to the pandemic, and then an entire new freshman class is coming as well! As a student leader next year we have to set the culture for two classes of new students. I see this as an obstacle to do, but I am also seeing it as an opportunity to hear from all students!
How would you bring inclusivity to Vanguard?
I am going to bring inclusivity to VU by adding more voices to our SGA House, as I have stated. I will also be bringing in a multi-cultural representative to help navigate the need for more inclusion on campus with multiple cultural groups represented on campus. As we know culture is not confined to race, ethnicity, and gender, but can be any culture. So I want to show that with that position.
What will you be doing differently?
I will be networking more with outside organizations to Vanguard known widely across OC. I want to emphasize the availability and resources that all students have access to on campus. Also, I’m hoping to network with on-campus organizations as well.
What do you hope to gain from your presidency?
I hope to see a cultural shift on the campus. I do not want to change things that are tangible, but I would love to see some sort of cultural change and from that, I will gain peace knowing that I will have left a mark on campus.