Student Government president talks mental health, community engagement

Emily Lawless and Vice President Kyle MacDonald gave an address in the House Chambers.

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Student Government president talks mental health, community engagement

SG President Emily Lawless speaks a crowd of Student Government members, FAU police, and university employees. Joe Pye | Editor in Chief

SG President Emily Lawless speaks a crowd of Student Government members, FAU police, and university employees. Joe Pye | Editor in Chief

SG President Emily Lawless speaks a crowd of Student Government members, FAU police, and university employees. Joe Pye | Editor in Chief

SG President Emily Lawless speaks a crowd of Student Government members, FAU police, and university employees. Joe Pye | Editor in Chief

Nate Nkumbu, Staff Writer

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New Student Government President Emily Lawless announced her plans for the 2017-18 academic year at the annual State of the University address Thursday.

Around 50 people, including university police, members of Student Government, and FAU employees, attended the event held in the FAU House Chambers.

Lawless started her speech with a statement to new students.

“We are very happy that you chose FAU for this very important time in your life to become educated representatives of yourself and your family,” she said.

SG Vice President Kyle MacDonald discussed their plans for a mental health awareness campaign.

“It’s been a really big focus about mental health because for a long time we have been focused on physical health but not enough on mental health, like how are you feeling,” MacDonald said. “That is especially important in college because we neglect mental health when it comes to exams.”

Community engagement was addressed as well.

Lawless and MacDonald said they want to get students interested in local and national government. While encouraging them to be a part of the electoral process, they plan on having voter registration events.

SG Vice President Kyle MacDonald said he wants to increase voter registration among FAU students, as well as knowledge of local government. Joe Pye | Editor in Chief

Director of government relation and junior business management major Jon Carter said the Florida legislature turned down SG’s request for mental health initiative funding.

“We believe if we’re asking for funding every year and the legislature says no, then we’re not accomplishing anything,” he said. “We just want to go with a simple request, no dollars or cents, just awareness and a conversation with the Florida Legislature and the legislators about finding solutions.

SG also wants to lobby Florida to distribute Bright Futures scholarship money for summer classes.

The president then announced that four students, including VP MacDonald, will be part of a renovation committee for the Student Union.

SG contributed $1.7 million to the $30 million project, which will break ground in spring 2018.

Lawless said that the time she has as president is short but she feels she has everything in order for a successful year.

“Everything is fine. Everyone here at FAU from Dr. [Corey] King to Dr. [Andrea Guzman] Oliver are here to help me get things done in my time here in the next few months,” Lawless said. “I’m here to make students know what’s available here on campus and to get it out to them.”

Nate Nkumbu is a staff writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @FoureyedNate.