National Conference Hosts Daemen Student Leaders

By | October 26, 2021

(L-R) Princess, Dour, Sieracki and Maclin

The National Leadership Conference on Student Government welcomed the executive board members of Daemen’s Student Government Association (SGA) to St. Louis last week.

Representing Daemen was SGA President Safernio Dour, Vice President Jenna Sieracki and Secretary Jules Princess; they were accompanied by Heather Maclin, director of student activities at the college. 

“As one of the only conferences of its kind being held in person this year, this event was a special opportunity to learn and grow from other schools around the country in a safe setting,” said Maclin. 

The students’ attendance at the conference comes as SGA heads in a new direction.

Learning from representatives from similar organizations from around the country aligns with an SGA goal to become recognized more as a governing body and serve as advocates for students, rather than as an extracurricular club or activity. 

“We want to maximize our role on campus,” said Sieracki, vice president of SGA. “We want to be a bridge between faculty and students.”

SGA leaders in the Gateway Arch in St. Louis

The sessions attended by Daemen’s delegation will inform a process already underway, in which SGA is considering changes to its bylaws and constitution. 

A special emphasis will be placed on becoming more inclusive and representative of non-traditional, transfer and commuter students, Sieracki said.

“The perspective we gained will help us hit the ground running as we resume business and make SGA a more impactful organization,” added Sieracki, an international business major from Amherst—and the third member of her family to attend Daemen. 

At the conference, Daemen’s delegation split up to attend as many sessions as possible and discussed issues with peer leaders, including social media strategies and how to facilitate productive campus discussions and initiatives promoting diversity and inclusion.

Other higher education institutions taking part in the conference were Kansas State – Salina, Texas A&M – Corpus Christi, the University of Missouri, Mount St. Mary’s University, and the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). 

Daemen officials are also aiming to make traveling to a national student government-related conference an annual occurrence. 

In 2019, SGA executive board members traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the American Student Government Association conference; in 2020, all SGA representatives attended the event virtually.

“It was an honor to represent the college and one of the more unique experiences I’ve had at Daemen so far,” said Sieracki, who has been an orientation leader, alum ambassador, tour guide and diversity ambassador. 

Daemen students also took time to explore St. Louis, visiting the Gateway Arch and other downtown attractions. They also bowled with a contingent of students from Louisiana State University of Alexandria. 

“The students had a lot of time to connect with other colleges,” said Maclin. “We look forward to seeing where SGA goes from here.”