Moving to college can be a terrifying thing for freshmen. In a transition from years under the roof of parents to being totally alone in a new environment, nothing is certain except the uncertainty of what comes next. With nowhere to look except towards the staircase leading up to a busy Crow or Fitzpatrick Hall on move-in day, the possibilities of what comes next are truly endless. Who will be there to help? Who has been through this before and knows the ins and outs of the freshman experience? The answer lies no further than a freshman Resident Assistant (RA).
Dr. Steven McClung grew up in West Virginia, in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains. Now, as the newly hired Dean of the School of Business and Industry at Jacksonville State University, he is preparing to settle in at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
With the Fall semester here, freshness is in the air — fresh faces, new classes, new experiences and fresh Student Government Association representatives.
Ulises Herrera, President
Herrera, a first generation college student majoring in Marketing, is JSU’s first Hispanic SGA President. He is from the small town of Cleveland, Ala. Outside of his responsibilities as SGA President and being a student, Herrera loves Starbucks, meeting new people and hanging out with friends. As President, Herrera wants everyone to know that he is here for the university.
“No matter who you are or what your problems are, I am here for you,” said Herrera.
He wants to hold the administration accountable along with advocating for student needs. His campain focuses on three main areas: address student issues through open forums, bring back a sexual assault awareness campagn and continue to unite the administration with the student body. His advice for students is to “reach out and get involved on campus” and “step outside of your comfort zone.”
Jerod Sharp, Vice President of Student Senate
Sharp graduated fourth in his class from Sylvania High School. He currently serves as a town councilman of Sylvania, Ala. He was the Vice President of SGA as well as class president in high school. Continuing his association with the SGA, he was accepted into Freshman Forum and served on the Student Activities Council. Sharp also served as a Freshman Forum Mentor, Parliamentarian for the Organizational Council and Governmental Relations Committee Head.
Being in charge of the student legislature, Sharp hopes to promote “Senate Delegates,” where organizations on campus nominate a delegate to attend formal senate meetings to see what the student senate is all about. Sharp is in charge of the SGA Code of Laws, updating the living document after a bill passes and he works along the other four SGA officers. He is also a brother of Sigma Nu.
Will Bowen, Vice President of Organizational Affairs
Bowen attended high school in Chelsea, Ala. and is a transfer student from UAB. Bowen transferred to JSU after his freshman year and now he is a senior majoring in Business Management with a minor in Spanish. He is a member of Pi Kappa Alpha and has represented JSU at the Collegiate Legislature.
“I really look forward to this year and seeing all that we can do,” said Bowen.
In his position, he plans to grow the Cocky Connect system, bring new changes to the Organizational Council and advocate for student organizations on campus to further their development. Bowen enjoys hanging out with friends and learning how to play the guitar.
Desmond Thomas, Vice President of Student Activities
Thomas, a senior Business Finance major from Tuscaloosa, began his involvement and deep love for JSU during his freshman year. He got involved with Freshman Forum and it sparked his involvement in many other leadership opportunities such as being a JSU Ambassador, Student Senator, Freshman Forum Mentor and Collegiate Legislature Delegate.
“I am super grateful for the opportunities and blessings that JSU has given me,” said Thomas.
This is Thomas’s second year in office, and he wants to take events “to the next level.” He plans to focus heavily on student-centered events.
In his free time, Thomas loves to go on adventures with his friends, eat and sleep. He hopes that if anyone ever has any questions, they will send him an email or stop by his office.
Kathleen Seibert, Vice President of Public Relations
Seibert is a junior Communication major with a concentration in public relations. She is from Smiths Stations, Ala. and throughout high school, Seibert cheered for two years and then joined theater for her junior and senior year. She was a member of the National Beta Club and National Honor Society.
Once at JSU she joined Delta Zeta and she currently serves as her chapter’s Vice President of Philanthropy. She also has taken part in Freshman Forum, has served as a delegate for JSU at the YMCA Legislature for two years and she plans to serve as the Senate Clerk in 2020. Seibert is also a member of Zeta Phi Eta and JSU’s Honors Program. She loves to read and travel, and is an avid theatre fan and has recently gotten into podcasts.
Football school? Basketball school? Marching band school?
How about ultimate frisbee school?
JSU’s Ultimate team- known as Firebird Ultimate- is making some noise across the region on the ultimate field. The team, still in its infancy as a program, competed in and won their very first sanctioned tournament earlier this month at UAB.
For program founder Andrew Record, this is the culmination of three years of hard work and team building to reach this very point. “This year we finally felt like we were ready. We had beat some teams that were sanctioned earlier and realized we could really start competing.”
Record, set to graduate in May, was part of a pick-up group within the Southerners when he got the idea to start an organized university team.
“I did as much to educate myself on the sport and get better, because I had hadn’t really played competitively before. After that the biggest thing was just recruiting. And that’s the hardest thing to do in any sport, is to get people to commit.”
Firebird started out in a developmental league for their first two years. These years saw the team playing mostly B-teams and other upstarts. After a non-sanctioned tournament in Samford in the fall which saw JSU Firebird finish second overall, the team realized they were ready for the next level.
That brought them to UAB for their first sanctioned tournament: The Magic City Invite. Entering play as the dead-last #12 seed, JSU upset #1 seed UAB 11-4 in their first game of pool play. JSU would finish pool play undefeated, taking down Middle Tennessee State, Berry, Alabama, and Ole Miss en-route to the four-team playoff the next day. In bracket play, JSU would then defeat North Georgia and Mississippi State to claim the tournament title.
Seven major wins over two days and a first-place finish, all in their first taste of sanctioned play? Not bad.
For Record, this is just the stepping off point for a program with a very high ceiling. To be performing at this level in only its third season is pretty significant. “It’s a big deal for a team this young to be defeating teams that have existed for five, ten, twenty years already, and I think we can keep building upon that.”
JSU Firebird will compete in a sectional tournament this weekend, that will see them face off against teams within their section—teams like Alabama, Auburn, UAB, and Mississippi State. A high finish there will see them move on to regionals where they will matchup with teams from all over the southeast.
With Record’s graduation next month, the program he’s shepherded from the beginning will be passed on to someone else’s hands. In fact, he’s already named two new captains this year in order to prepare them to fully take over next year. One of those captains, Luke Thomas, looks to help the program succeed well into the future.
“Success is not necessarily just from winning, but also seeing the program grow.” he says. Success, he says, starts off the field with recruitment. He also wants to see the team make deep postseason runs and compete in larger tournaments. Under his leadership, he wants to see the team continue its upward trajectory in both wins and recruitment.
JSU Firebird has already initiated one move toward growth: A women’s team. Captained by Emily Yeend, the women’s team is new as of this semester.
“In the fall, the goal is to at least attend one tournament just for fun,” Yeend says. She says that in the past, girls at rookie week can be overwhelmed, and that one goal of the women’s team is to have prospective female players less likely to be intimidated. “I’m trying to get girls interested in playing, because a lot don’t even know what it is.”
If you’re interested in joining the JSU Ultimate team, keep an eye out for their rookie week announcements at the beginning of the fall semester. Rookie week is an opportunity for new players to come out and play with other new players to ease in to the game. If you’ve never played before, don’t let that turn you away. According to the JSU Ultimate website, most players don’t actually learn the game until they reach college.
For more information on the sport and the program here at JSU, jsuultimate.com has an FAQ section with more resources.