Organization Spotlight: Student Government


Jonathan Espinoza

From left to right: Landry Morren, Student Body President, Zach McMeans, Student Body Vice President and Ben Gilliland, Student Body Chief Justice.

Jonathan Espinoza , Co-Editor

Student organizations are a vital component to the success of many major universities.  In an effort to highlight the many diverse organizations across the campus of West Texas A&M University, The Prairie will begin spotlighting student groups to provide insight regarding their structure, goals and motivation to make a difference on campus.  To kick off the series, Landry Morren, Student Body President, Zach McMeans, Student Body Vice President and Ben Gilliland, Student Body Chief Justice sat down for a Q&A.

The Prairie: What has been the most interesting thing that has happened to you while a member of Student Government?

MORREN: It was pretty interesting for me to get to go through the (WTAMU) presidential search process and be on that committee.  I got to read all the letters of intent and vitae that were sent in by the applicants and helped narrow it down to the 12 that were interviewed.  Even though I didn’t necessarily get a vote on the committee, they asked my opinion and took it into consideration when choosing who the finalists were.

What motivates you to make Student Government succeed?

MCMEANS: I want Student Government to succeed because of the students. That’s why the three of us are here. That’s why Student Government is here.  We are, and we try to be, the voice of the students.  I want to see us succeed so we can continue to make this a better university for our students, and I think student governments of years past, you can see the improvements they’ve done, and I am excited to see what the future is for WT.  That’s what makes me come in every morning.  That’s what makes me excited for work.  That’s why I’m here.  That’s why we’re here.  That’s why Student Government is here, to make sure that we keep improving this campus for our students and giving them a voice.

What is something that most people do not know about Student Government?

MCMEANS: I don’t think they realize that we actually have some power on campus.  When they think of Student Government, they think it’s just a group of senators that meet.  I don’t think they realize that we can act upon their concerns.  I think that a lot of students don’t realize that we just don’t want to hear their complaints, but we can act on them and actually change policy and things like that at our university.

Who has been your most influential mentor up to this point in your life?

GILLILAND: For me, it’s Cameron Tipton.  When I was a freshman, I was at the Wesley (Foundation), where we were both leaders at, and he was like, “Hey, have you ever thought about joining student government?”  I had told him before I was involved in student government in high school but told him I never really thought about that because I had work on Mondays.  He told me there was a position called an Associate Justice, so I did for my freshman and sophomore year, and when it came time, I ran for president, got beat by Landry and then applied to be Chief Justice.  Without Cameron, I never even would have considered it.

What are the 3 songs that appear at the top of your most recently-played list?

MORREN: No Problem – Chance the Rapper (Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz)

Classic Male Pregame – Lil Dicky

Sucker for Pain – Lil Wayne, Logic, Ty Dolla Sign, Wiz Khalifa and Imagine Dragons

MCMEANS: Drivin’ My Life Away – Eddie Rabbitt

Twist the Knife – Dolly Shine

The Front Porch Song – Robert Earl Kean

GILLILAND: Walk the Line – Johnny Cash

Over My Head – The Fray

Iris – Goo Goo Dolls

Right now, in this moment, what is worrying you the most?

MCMEANS: The future. Both of them are graduating in May, and I’m looking at graduating next December, and I have got no clue what’s next.  That’s stressful.  I have no clue, and that’s what keeps me up at night.

What kind of lasting legacy would you like to leave when your time is done with Student Government?

MCMEANS: Mine is kind of different than last year’s.  I’m not looking to leave like a football stadium or really anything like that.  In fact, my legacy, as weird as this sounds, is if people don’t remember me, but they remember our Senate and they remember this organization.  And that they remember this year was where their voice heard, this year being the year where they were able to make a difference, where students were put first.

What are some big things that can be expected from Student Government?

MORREN: One thing that we are trying to do is possibly purchase or lease the Varsity Theater through the university and have it be something that is like student ran, led and a place where students can go.  It necessarily wouldn’t have to show movies. It’s another place to have live performances, to go and have other forms of entertainment.  It would be almost like another student center, but off campus.  That’s one of the big things we’ve been working on all summer. Our first goal was to get the meeting (with the owners), and so they have agreed to the meeting. We just haven’t set a date, and then, we’ll go from there.

Fill in the blank: Student Government is _________?

MCMEANS: I would say Student Government is a megaphone.  It’s a megaphone for our students.  When they have problems, they come to us, and we make their voices heard.  When they have accomplishments, we make those accomplishments heard.  Our teams, we want to recognize them and the successes they have, the problems our students have.  We’re their megaphone.  We’re their voice to the higher-ups on campus and their voice to the rest of the student body.