Java with Jo Aims for Student-President Connection

By: Brandon Clark | Contributor |

Photo by: Andrew Bryant | Photographer

South’s Student Government Association (SGA) sponsored an event with President Jo Bonner on Feb. 3. Members of the SGA said the goal of the event was to allow Bonner to connect with the students of the university in a casual atmosphere.

“President Bonner started a month ago and hasn’t had many opportunities to connect with the student body and when his presidency was announced, we wanted to get started,” said Michael Roque, Student Affairs chairman of the SGA. “Our SGA president, student coordinator and I worked together to see if this [event] was something we would want to do and it definitely was. I think the turnout turned out really well and a lot of questions, concerns and conversations were able to take place here”

Before the president spoke, students were given raffle tickets for a chance to win South Alabama merchandise, and were offered an assortment of treats, including hot chocolate, coffee, fresh fruit and Einstein Bros. bagels. 

Before an open forum discussion, President Bonner gave remarks to the students in attendance where he credited the success of the university to the success of each one of its students. He also conveyed a message of improving students’ experiences at South.

“Whatever we can do to help your experience as students be more meaningful, be more rewarding, all you have to do is let us know,” said Bonner.

In the open discussion, many student leaders and students of other organizations inquired about a variety of topics, such as President Bonner’s goals, South’s recruitment rates, specifically for minorities and a call for increased minority representation on campus. 

At the conclusion of the event, President Bonner expressed gratitude for allowing him to host the event and hinted at the possibility of a Pasta with the President event to continue furthering the interests of the University of South Alabama.