The Student Association did not hold their regularly scheduled Executive Council meeting this week. Instead, SA President Michael Kimmer delivered a “State of the SA” speech to inspire the student body to become a part of a change on campus.
The speech began with a dramatic movie score as Kimmer stood at the podium. He started by stating that it may sound a little “ridiculous,” but that is exactly what was intended.
“We can all enjoy a little ridiculousness,” Kimmer said in the opening of his speech.
He spoke about revolutions.
“Revolutions come in cycles. This only makes sense because the word revolution can also mean one full rotation — one circular motion that starts at a certain point and encompasses the entirety of whatever object it is that happens to be spinning,” Kimmer noted in his speech.
Kimmer said that the events of the fall semester regarding diversity inspired students to unite.
He said if students use that energy, the campus community will grow to appreciate campus diversity.
“It is time to channel that same energy, and use it to power the engine that will drive the wheel and further this cycle of change,” he said.
SA Executive Council Vice President of Student Affairs Arin Cotel-Altman said Kimmer’s speech was “definitely a first for the SA,” as the SA had never seen a speech like his delivered before. She said the speech inspired her and most of the people who attended.
PSUC Vice President of Student Affairs Bryan Hartman also attended the State of the SA. He said that, while it was different and creative, it was also well-written.
Hartman said the speech is delivered once per semester, usually outlining, or providing a “report card” of the progress of the SA.
“I think some people come expecting more of that report card of what’s going on in the SA, and he chose to take a different path,” Hartman said. “It was more motivational about getting involved, versus what’s happening in the SA.”
Cotel-Altman said the new legislation was beginning to lose its momentum, and Kimmer’s speech helped to add more of that excitement back into the SA.
“If you don’t know Michael Kimmer, it comes off as odd, but just because it’s odd doesn’t mean it’s wrong,” Cotel-Altman said of the mixed reviews she had heard of Kimmer’s speech.
She also said Kimmer was one of the most creative presidents the SA has ever had, and his thinking works well with the rest of the SA.
Cotel-Altman said the main point she took from Kimmer’s speech was “not to give up, even if people tell you that you can’t do something.”
“We can pull people out of their bubbles, out of their comfort zones, and into the real world where they can be exposed to the experiences of other human beings. And they will find that, through building a strong sense of community, there is nothing to be afraid of, not now, not ever,” Kimmer said in the speech. “It is time to liberate ourselves from this fear, to think for ourselves and question and to inspire others to do the same.”
Hartman said he appreciates Kimmer’s “outside of the box” thinking.
“He definitely appreciates anti-establishment efforts, and I think he would describe himself as an anti-establishment person, and that’s what is framing some of his thoughts about the SA or what the SA could do on behalf of the students,” Hartman said of Kimmer’s political style. “He is definitely thinking outside of the normal box, and so that’s part of the message he was conveying, and I think that’s great.”
Kimmer demonstrated the importance of the upcoming presidential election and how it is influencing today’s students. While he said his political beliefs weren’t important to the discussion, he mentioned both businessman Donald Trump and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“What is important is that on all sides of the political spectrum, people are feeling the burning desire for change,” Kimmer said. “People are sick and tired of the establishment, and there seems to be hope in the air.”
He said that regardless of one’s politics, Trump has succeeded in getting people involved in the political process again.
“Whether or not he will actually succeed in building his wall, that remains to be seen, but he has succeeded in bringing down the ideological wall that prevents Americans from believing that their vote matters,” he said.
Kimmer remained optimistic through his speech, for both the present and future of the SA.
“The State of the Student Association is strong, and it is only growing stronger,” he said.
Email Marissa Russo at firstname.lastname@example.org