/Meet the 2024-25 SGA VP 
SGA Vice President Caleb Jernigan. Photo courtesy of Jernigan.

Meet the 2024-25 SGA VP 

By Cady Inabinett, Editor in chief 

The end of the school year means the start of a new chapter for Montevallo’s Student Government Association. Representatives for the 2024-25 school year were elected in late March, bringing some new faces into key roles. 

Several executive and senate positions were featured on this year’s SGA election ballot, but only two of those races were competitive. In the race for SGA President, current SGA President Colton Rodano faced off against Mattie Cleckler. Meanwhile, in the race for SGA Vice President, Caleb Jernigan ran against Jack Dahle. Rodano and Jernigan won in their respective races. 

For Jernigan, election results came at a very busy time of year, as Jernigan, SGA’s current Director of Social Services, had been planning UM’s annual volunteer service event, The Big Event—which took place on April 6. That hasn’t stopped him from preparing for his term as vice president, though.  

When asked how he was feeling post-election, Jernigan said, “I’m feeling good. I’m feeling great. I’m currently—currently, I’m swamped with working on The Big Event and all things like that. But I’m really excited to get started. I already—already have a list of current Senate appointments I’m thinking of filling with people.” 

Currently a sophomore, Jernigan has been involved with SGA since his freshman year, when he served as the Freshman Senator. He said during the past two years he has been involved with SGA, he noticed a lack of passion in the organization—something he said compelled him to run for vice president. 

“I saw that there wasn’t really a lot of passionate people in SGA. It was very stagnant. People would just show up, just sit around, vote yes on everything and not really put in any input or anything,” said Jernigan. 

Combatting member disinterest is one of Jernigan’s biggest aims as vice president.  

“I want to try to be able to hold a full senate for an entire year, and I think I will be able to accomplish that,” Jernigan said, adding, “Also, I want to make people passionate and advocate for things that—for things that SGA does. Like, parking, WiFi, all that stuff, you know, that’s usually stuff people are passionate about. But, I want people to, like, think about the smaller things like just having a park bench somewhere or, like, I don’t know, putting up charging stations at the SAC or something like that.” 

The vice president’s main role is to preside over SGA’s senate. One of Jernigan’s goals as vice president is to make sure the senate is truly representative of Montevallo’s student body. 

“My top priorities are to have a balanced senate that reflects the student body itself. I want every single voice on this campus to have adequate representation on our senate,” he said, pointing out that he would like to see more senior, graduate student, international student and student-athlete senators. 

When asked why he thought those groups were underrepresented on SGA, Jernigan said, “I think it’s a wider disconnect than just SGA, I think it’s with most of campus.” 

Jernigan pointed out that these groups often have competing priorities, saying athletes often have strict practice schedules and seniors are often focused on graduating.  

Getting more people involved with SGA isn’t the only way Jernigan plans on bridging this gap. The vice president-elect also wants to make sure students who aren’t involved with SGA have their voices heard as well. 

When asked if he felt the average student knows or cares about SGA’s functions, Jernigan replied, “Not at all,” adding, “Which is a very depressing answer, but I think it’s very true.” 

To combat student apathy towards SGA, Jernigan wants to create more opportunities for students to learn about SGA by updating SGA’s current town hall format. 

Currently, SGA hosts town halls that Jernigan described as, “very small scale,” that few people participate in. During his vice presidency, he said he hopes to promote town hall events more on SGA’s social media and encourage more discussion at the meetings. 

“I want to bring answers to questions that people maybe don’t want to ask, or maybe don’t know what they need to ask,” Jernigan said. “I want people to go out there, explain their job, explain what they do, explain how they’ve been doing for the past couple of months, explain what they’ve done with SGA, explain how they address student concerns and then open up to questions, because I think that maybe that would answer a lot of people’s questions or get people to ask questions.” 

Jernigan pointed to outreach as a problem for SGA this year, saying that he hopes to find a dependable PR Chair for the upcoming year. He points toward strengthening SGA’s social media presence as a key tool for connecting SGA to the rest of campus. 

“I think that we can reach those people that we don’t usually reach, usually, through social media and other means, which we have definitely been on the wrong foot on for the last year,” said Jernigan.  

He later added that, through SGA’s social media posts, he wants more students to get to know their SGA representatives, saying, “I want the average person on this campus to know who represents them, how to contact them, and for them to almost know them by name.” 

As for other issues Jernigan is looking forward to addressing during his vice presidency, he pointed towards legislation regarding campus housing as a big focus. 

“Housing seems to be a big issue that we’ve been hearing about all year,” he said, highlighting issues with mold in Main and Tutwiler Halls and temporary power outages as issues that have been brought to his attention. 

Rodano and Jernigan will serve alongside the newly elected SGA Treasurer Hagen Hagood.

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Cady Inabinett is the editor in chief of The Alabamian. She’s majoring in English and double-minoring in political science and peace and justice studies. She enjoys reading, watching movies, caring for houseplants and generally just being pretentious in her free time.