SGA at CSM: Consensus, Cooperation, Compromise


Student Representatives Practice Civility As They Discuss Affordability Issues

            The College of Southern Maryland’s Student Government Association (SGA) and Student Association (SA) officers are in full swing planning for activities, advocacy and programming as fall semester begins for the 2012-13 academic year.  

            CSM’s SGA officers are Thomas West of Loveville, Kayode Bello of Waldorf and Tia Dickerson of Lusby.

The La Plata Campus SA is represented by Bello, president; Donta Varney, vice-president; Bianca Morris, secretary; Alexis Crawford, treasurer; and Chris Allahiari, Rebecca Roach and Cameryn Williams, representatives. The Leonardtown Campus SA is represented by Thomas West, president; Venice Miller, vice president; James Berkin, secretary; Kory Geans, treasurer; and Nataly Cruz-Castillo, Dorothy Moran and Tavia Tate, representatives. The Prince Frederick Campus SA is represented by Tia Dickerson, president; Amanda Higgs, vice-president; Jessica Falcone, treasurer; Nathera Coates, secretary and Connie Barrow, representative.

            Representatives work as liaisons between the students and college administration, promote student involvement and plan extracurricular student activities such as the fall festival and spring fling. They also represent CSM students and their concerns to Southern Maryland delegates and state legislators during Student Advocacy Day held in Annapolis each February.

            “When our student representatives advocate for full funding of community colleges they are playing a vital role in keeping tuition affordable for their classmates. The compelling stories they tell our elected officials about overcoming hardships, perseverance and goal attainment is invaluable,” said CSM President Dr. Brad Gottfried.

            “Student representatives build connections between students, faculty and administration. They help keep administrators grounded and focus on why they serve in education by assisting in implementing change based on the needs of the students,” said Student Life Coordinator Jennifer Lesesne.

            All registered students are members of the SGA, and the SGA executive board consists of the three campus SA presidents and two representatives from each campus SA. The SGA has principal responsibility for the oversight of the three campus SAs as well as establishing policies for the allocation of student activities funds collected through the student activity fee. The Three SAs coordinate programs and activities at all campuses. Upcoming are fall festivals at each campus. Information on the SGA and SA is online at

            “The SGA continues to encourage student involvement within the community, and to gather and share common student concerns to the faculty,” said West. “I believe it is important to be involved in the SGA because it is the voice of students and it teaches valuable leadership skills necessary to be competitive and successful in the workforce. The SGA is also responsible for planning events and activities to make college more enjoyable to all students.” 

            CSM honored student leadership, involvement and commitment during its spring SGA awards banquet. The President’s Cup was awarded to Ricky L. Washington, of Waldorf, the college’s outstanding student leader based on a demonstrated ability to motivate and lead others, active involvement in the college’s extracurricular programs and giving of time and talent to better the college community and beyond. Washington served in leadership roles in the La Plata Campus SA, the Student Activities Committee and the Service Leadership Club, and he represented CSM at Student Advocacy Day three times.  

“In spring 2010, Ricky’s campaign slogan for student association elections was ‘Challenge the Process’ and challenge he has done, particularly for himself,” said Lesesne. “He was selected from among hundreds of applicants to serve as a counselor for troubled youth in California during his 2010 summer break, he provides volunteer tutoring to college students and neighborhood children in math, and works as an unpaid intern for the Charles County Government. Ricky was inducted into the CSM chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success and is pending approval to be a recipient of the National Excellence Award; which qualifies him to apply for a $3,500 scholarship to further his educational pursuits,” said Lesesne.

            The Vice President’s Cup was presented to Grace Ann Stewart, of Hollywood, the student who most significantly contributed to the college community. This award is designed to recognize the important work done by students behind the scenes. The major criteria for this award are dedication, commitment and involvement. Stewart dedicated her time to serve as Leonardtown’s SA president and vice-president, SGA president, and student assistant for the SA office at the Leonardtown Campus.

“Never ‘jumping’ to be in the limelight, Grace has risen to the occasion to deliver two graduation addresses, address the incoming freshmen the Leonardtown Campus’ Kick-off to College event and assist the Admissions Department with an Open House,” said CSM Student Services Senior Executive Director Regina Bowman-Goldring. “Grace has been very supportive of initiatives that assist students. She is often seen manning the tables at campus events. She assisted in the process of developing the proposal for the Students Helping Students fund; designed to aid students experiencing challenges to completing their academic goals.  She has played a vital role in initiating several major gifts to the Leonardtown Campus; including a marquee for the campus.”

According to Bowman-Goldring, Stewart upholds the student code of conduct and takes “no prisoners” when a student is not adhering to them. She is truly committed to the work that the Leonardtown SA provides and that of the college in general. 

            For information on student life at CSM, visit