Name: Joelle Jarjoura
Hometown: Kingsport, TN
Major: Business Analytics
SGA Role: Government Affairs Co-Director
How did you first get involved in SGA? And why did you join?
I first got involved with SGA through the First-Year Leadership Council. I remember being nervous for my third-round interview, and when the group of applicants entered the interview room, we were all thrilled to learn we had been selected to serve on FYLC! Throughout my first year, FYLC provided me with a wealth of experiences, from leading a Health & Wellness sub-committee to understanding how bills are brought forth and debated in the Student Senate. The best part of this experience was getting to meet passionate first-year leaders on our campus. I have grown close with many of my FYLC peers and am constantly amazed by all of their accomplishments!
In what different ways have you served in SGA?
After spending time in FYLC, I discovered my favorite aspect of SGA was getting to collaborate among peers with whom I shared a similar interest. Sophomore year, I joined the Government Affairs Committee, which seeks to amplify student voices in the hallways of the TN State Capitol through building relationships with legislators. Through my involvement, I learned about state legislation that impacts the UT system and how civic engagement can play a major role on our campus. It has been a pleasure serving as the Co-Director of Government Affairs this academic school year and discovering new ways to engage students through virtual events. Hosting debates about controversial political issues, in addition to meeting with influential members of our local and state government, including Mayor Glenn Jacobs and U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn, have been some of the highlights of this semester.
What has been your favorite SGA memory/event?
My favorite SGA memory was traveling to Nashville last spring to advocate for student issues at the state capitol. The Government Affairs Committee had prepared for months leading up to the trip and studied a number of bills on the floor, including student campus carry and tuition waivers. I leaned on my fellow committee members throughout the day, as we developed plans for each legislator meeting and successfully navigated discussing a variety of controversial topics. On our bus ride home, I felt proud of the meaningful relationships we had developed with the lawmakers we had met!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
There are a variety of ways for students to get involved in student government. Whether it is First-Year Leadership Council, Student Senate, or one of the various Student Services Committees, I believe every student can find their home in SGA. Get involved, try out a few different committees, and discover your passions!