August 23, 2010
Student Government Association President Steven Flowers sees a difference between his Indiana State University classes and college.
"You have to go to class. You have to go to college," the ISU junior said. "Once you go to class and get the academics down then you go to college. You join an organization, you get a job on campus in something you're passionate about or you join intramural sports."
It was in "going to college" that Flowers found a possible new career for himself.
When Flowers enrolled at Indiana State, he entered as a criminal justice major.
"I've always wanted to be a police officer," he said.
Then he went to college. He joined the Freshman Council. He spent the summer of his freshman year working on Barack Obama's campaign, first as a volunteer then as an intern. After the summer he began an ISU organization in support of Obama's election.
"The school let me work on a passion but still be able to work on the campaign," he said.
Through his college activities, Flowers decided to add a second major of political science.
By "going to college," he knows that students can be opened to the broader world such as when he participated in ISU's Alternative Spring Break during the spring 2010 semester. It opened his eyes to problems that others face.
"Something like that can lead to a new career or lifestyle change," he said. "The thing is to empower students to go and do that."
From his time on the Freshman Council and then as a sophomore working with that council as executive director of freshman affairs, Flowers understands that learning takes place in more than the classroom.
"Experiential learning is a factor of the SGA office," he said. "We have advisors but in essence it's only students. It's our own classroom. We learn from our failures and successes. In a program such as this you learn so much."
After being elected president by the students, Flowers, and other SGA members, developed several goals for the coming year. First they want to instill in students a sense of school spirit and bring about campus unity. They hope to do that by continuing Blue Friday where students, faculty and staff wear blue on Fridays to show school spirit.
"We'll have a gear exchange where you can bring your T-shirts from another university and you'll get an ISU T-shirt," he said.
He also wants to partner with the Terre Haute community in order to give students a more complete college experience. A position has been created in which the person will work with city officials, attend city council meetings, and promote the students needs.
"I want to do more to engage students," he said.
And to engage them in the college experience at a place he never intended to attend. As a high school student, he planned to go away to a university instead of the one in his hometown. But then he began spending time on Indiana State's campus with friends who had already graduated from high school.
"I fell in love with the campus," he said. "It has the hometown feeling, the community feeling but it has all that the big schools have to offer. That's what I loved about it the most: it's the perfect size and it has lots of opportunities."
"Going to college" - seizing those opportunities - instead of just attending classes, has impacted Flowers life. He still wants to be a police officer, but he's begun thinking about attending graduate school to study student affairs.
"It's shaped my views, who I am," he said about student affairs. "It's helped me understand how a university operates."
Contact/Writer: Jennifer Sicking, Indiana State University, assistant director of media relations, at 812-237-7972 or Jennifer.Sicking@indstate.edu
From his time working for Student Government, Steven Flowers understands that learning takes place in more than the classroom.