Southeast Missouri State University student publication

SGA names first ever regional campus student representative

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Upperclassmen at Southeast’s regional campuses pay for representation by contributing to the annual Student Government Association budget, but until this year, their voice has gone unheard.

Jessye Griffin has been named Regional Campus Representative to the Student Government Senate. A junior studying agribusiness and plant and soil science at the Sikeston Regional Campus, she attended her first meeting Oct. 24.

The position is non-voting, but that is something Griffin would like to change.

“I hope to give regional campus students a voice,” Griffin said. “We’re paying for it, we should have a say in what goes on.”

The New Madrid native said she was approached for the position after speaking at an open forum hosted by Southeast President Carlos Vargas. Griffin said Vargas heard complaints from regional campus students and asked about issues with student involvement.

“We’re trying to bridge the gap,” she said. “Instead of four different schools, we want to make sure we are working together. This is our first step.”

The three regional campus locations: Sikeston, Malden and Kennet, host some 900 students and offer at least 10 degrees that can be fully completed on site (including education, psychology, general studies and human environmental services).

“Some people think of the regional campuses as an expense, but they’re actually profitable [for the university],” Griffin said. “The Sikeston location alone brings in $600,000.”

Many regional campus courses are reportedly taught using Interactive Television (ITV) technology, which allows instructors to present live to them from another location. Students use microphones to answer questions and contribute to conversation, but Griffin said some students find it impersonal.

“It works well if everyone works together, but sometimes we are forgotten because [to the instructor] we’re just a tiny screen,” she said. “Sometimes we only get one side of the conversation, but it’s nice to have those courses available that wouldn’t be otherwise.”

Griffin said the regional campuses are a strong alternative to Southeast’s main campus, when previously they were treated as a stepping stone. They allow students to work full time and save money by living at home rather than on campus.

“The regional campuses took off faster than they thought they would, we account for about 10 percent of enrollment,” she said. “It’s something that needs to be caught up. We want to get it out there and get people thinking about it.”

Griffin said regional campus students have several changes in mind, including being able to meet their ITV instructors in person, better parking options and the introduction of student organizations.