Student Governing Association intern program aims to create new leaders

SGA leaders meeting in the Center for Student Involvement. (Archive photo by Carter Schaffer | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State University’s Student Governing Association intern program, open to any K-State student, educates students about SGA and focuses on self-development and identifying leadership skills, Payton Lynn, junior in educational studies and intern coordinator of SGA, said.  

“It provides an opportunity to get into the program without the commitment of having a big position or something,” Lynn said. “It is really low stakes and gives a lot of great learning opportunities for those new students.” 

SGA represents student voices to campus administration, allocates more than $14 million for student-based services, leads the student judicial process and creates policies and initiatives to serve the student body, according to a K-State Today article. 

Evan Porter, senior in political science, said the internship program teaches students about being a part of SGA.

Allowing students to have a free trial of SGA lets them decide if they are interested in investing the time and energy it takes to advocate for students and allocate student dollars, which in turn produces a group of highly engaged individuals,” Porter said. 

The intern program has two phases. The first phase focuses on how SGA works, explaining the structures and responsibilities. The second phase is about self-development, focusing on leadership skills and identifying campus issues to be passionate about, according to K-State today. 

Lynn said SGA is unlike any other program at K-State.  

“SGA is less of a club that you join, and a lot more of a specific, enhanced student experience. The amount of change that we can do at K-State has really blown my mind since I started in student government,” Lynn said. “I’ve met with President Linton on several occasions to talk about things that students care about, and we got to see that when we go and talk to administrators, they listen and care about what we have to say.” 

Lynn said the opportunities she received through SGA changed her life forever.  

“We’ve been able to see changes already reflected on campus and I think that is what really makes the student government stand out to me, because without being a part of it, I would never have had the opportunities to meet nearly as many people to make the connections that I’ve made with administrators and university staff and faculty,” Lynn said. “I had my voice heard on campus, and that is something that is incredibly unique about our organization as compared to any other student organization on campus.”

Lynn said SGA’s work provides services for the student body. 

“We allocate a lot of money to different entities around the university, like student services. We are the ones that provide the funding for the Union, Lafene, the Rec Center, things like that. And then in addition to the funding aspect of our work, we do a lot of advocacy to campus administrators and different people around campus,” Lynn said. “We’ll do like sexual assault prevention, advocacy, things involving food security on campus, things like that.”

Ethan Brown, junior in marketing, said he is thankful for the SGA intern program. 

“It can help you make friendships and grasp a better understanding of university funding and decision-making in a fun and exciting environment,” Brown said. “Through SGA, I have been blessed to meet and work with some amazing people, many of whom are now great friends, on some awesome projects that improved and extended the longevity of all of our campuses. I think that to be able to serve at this level is really neat, and I could not be doing it without starting in the intern program.” 

Abby Ganley, freshman in engineering, said she did not know about the intern program.

“I have never heard of the SGA intern program, but hearing what they provide for Kansas State is really impactful,” Ganley said. “It never hurts to try new opportunities to get involved in the role of leadership.” 

Lynn said the SGA intern program provides new experiences and unites students. 

“It made me want to keep coming back because I was around these people who were just as passionate and just as excited to serve the student body as I was and being able to grow closer to those people. And then continue to make changes and advocate on behalf of students with those same friends that I made,” Lynn said. 

Lynn said trying new things can help you find your place at K-State. 

“Put yourself out there and give yourself the benefit of the doubt. I have always said that you are never going to regret joining so many things or being too involved,”  Lynn said.  “Find those things that you care about and be passionate about. Do something with it because that is what has made my college career so far and it is 100 percent worth it.”

To learn more about the Student Governing Association intern program, visit K-State today.