For senior Jeremy Thompson, balancing life as head of one of the University of Mary Washington’s largest student organizations with the demands of a double major comes naturally.
A history and political science major, Thompson is known across campus, not only as president of the Student Government Association (SGA), but as a Washington Guide, stage production manager for Dodd Auditorium and a mentor to first-year students through the RISE Peer Mentoring Program.
“It’s an honor,” Thompson said of his SGA position. “We deal with so many issues on a daily basis. Our goal is to make student life better. At the end of the day, it’s a pretty nice thing to be able to tell the President and the Board [of Visitors], ‘this is what the students want or don’t want.’”
To make sure he knows the pulse of student life, Thompson holds office hours each week to hear student concerns and feedback. Every month, he has lunch with President Richard V. Hurley and invites other students to join them. As SGA president, Thompson also represents the student body at meetings of the UMW Board of Visitors, known as the BOV.
“It is good to be part of an organization much larger than myself,” he said. “I have to represent 4,500 students. It’s an awesome responsibility and very humbling.”
Thompson has even ventured outside of Fredericksburg to make sure UMW students’ voices are heard. Over winter break, he and the James Madison University SGA president met with the Department of Education in Richmond to discuss issues facing Virginia college students.
Cedric Rucker, dean of student life and faculty adviser to the SGA, noticed Thompson’s drive and determination on move-in day his freshman year.
“From the outset, he has dedicated himself to serving others,” Rucker said. “From his days in the [Student] Senate to his time on the executive cabinet [of the SGA], he has measured himself based on his capacity and ability to get students involved and have students voices heard on critical issues that influence their time at UMW.”
This semester, the SGA will hold a town hall meeting to make sure students are informed about and involved in the tuition process. Thompson will bring any student concerns raised in the town hall meeting to the BOV.
For Thompson, the ability to involve more students in campus decision-making and the chance to make a difference in the community make his fast pace and oftentimes busy schedule worthwhile.
“My goal has always been to help as many people as I can,” he said.
Thompson, who plans to attend law school after graduation, hopes groups like the SGA will help students make the most of their Mary Washington experience.
“It is so easy to get involved here,” he said. “I believe in the power of ordinary students to do extraordinary things.”