By Rose Jeremie
ROME, Feb 23- This past weekend JCU student government hosted its Second Annual International Student Government Conference (ISGC), that brought together a diverse group of English-speaking Universities in Europe and the Middle East to discuss how to improve their universities.
Participating universities included American University of Kuwait, American University in Bulgaria, Franklin College in Switzerland, Glion Institute of Higher Education, Les Roches International School, and the American University of Rome.
As stated on the ISGC website, “the primary focus of the International Student Government Conference is to foster methods of cooperation among student governments of each representative institution.” The ISGC covered a variety of topics including the role of student government, sustaining progress accomplished by student government, incentives and team-building within student organizations, and working for their student constituency.
The conference had the foremost American perspective on student government as head of the American Student Government Association, Butch Oxendine spoke to students via Skype. Mr. Oxendine said that the primary role student governments should take is advocating for student issues. He stressed that in order for student governments to help make their universities a better place, they have to share the concerns their fellow students have with the trustees and the administration. He also emphasized the importance of student governments as “the liaison between the administration and the students,” and recognition from both sides is essential for a progressive student government organization.
JCU Business Professor Pietro Paganini delivered a motivational speech during the opening ceremony. He highlighted the concept that student government leaders are the leaders of today. Student government is a landmark organization because of its ability to demonstrate motivation, passion and commitment. He said student government members should make it so students understand that they exist first and foremost to serve the needs of the student body. Student governments are the primary medium for student change and they must be taken advantage of in order to bring about that change.
The conference demonstrated the capacity of student governments to enter into cross-cultural borders for the promotion of the interest of all students. JCU President Franco Pavoncello summarized the conference very well when he stated that “this International Student Government Conference allows for active members to perfect change, become true participants of their university, illustrate the value of grass-roots organization and highlight the value of student organizations in general.”