President’s Student Leaders Advisory Committee Builds Connections with USM Executive

Fri, 2022-09-30 16:00 | From: David Tisdale

USM President Dr. Joe Paul, foreground, holds the first meeting of the President’s Student Leaders Committee Sept. 22 in the Aubrey K. Lucas Administration Building Conference Room.
(USM photo by David Tisdale)

The newly formed President’s Student Leaders Advisory Committee at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) provides student organizations in the school with a direct line of communication to the Office of the President of USM.

The committee recently held its first meeting with USM President Dr. Joe Paul in the conference room of the Aubrey K. Lucas Administration Building, where various student organization leaders and the president shared information and ideas on how to advance the college student experience through collaboration on academic and extracurricular initiatives.

The group plans to meet every two weeks and will serve as direct points of contact between the student body and President Paul.

“Students are what our (university) is all about,” said Dr. Paul when discussing the committee’s purpose. “They are, as Simon Sinek (author and inspirational speaker) would say, our ‘why’. When we engage, listen and respond to our students, we become a better university. »

Ashley Lankford, president of the USM Student Government Association (SGA) and Aaronda Owens, who is president of the Residence Hall Association (RHA) and the Student Involvement Ambassadors, think the committee is a great concept and an important step forward for the entire USM student community.

“Allowing us as student leaders to speak on behalf of the student population directly with the president of the university is a great concept,” said Owens, a criminal justice specialist from Mobile, Alabama. “We can express opinions, concerns and discuss the changes that we as students would like to see at the university.

“I am honored to be able to speak not only for myself, but also for my peers at USM in this role, and my hope as a leader on this committee is that I continue to be candid not only in expressing my opinion, but inspiring new ideas for the university to implement.

Lankford, a native of Satsuma, Alabama and a graduate student in the School of Media and Communication, said Dr. Paul’s establishment of the committee shows USM students that he truly cares about their needs and wishes. hear direct feedback from various student leaders on student life at the University.

“This committee gives us the opportunity to share some of the most pressing needs that our students face on a daily basis that would otherwise go unnoticed,” Lankford continued. “I’m proud to say that we are already seeing the direct impacts of these conversations, and I look forward to seeing the positive impacts that flow from the discussions in future meetings.”

Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Dee Dee Anderson believes that hosting meetings with students through the committee is a great opportunity for USM administration to hear about students’ experiences at inside and outside the classroom. “Through these informal conversations with Dr. Paul, ideas and solutions will develop to help students reach the top,” she said.

For more information on student life at USM, visit

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