Jay Bryant: President-elect gearing to go

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Jay Bryant: President-elect gearing to go

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Jay Bryant, the incoming SGA president for the 2015-2016 school year, has been busy as he readies himself  for office, but he feels confident – both in his incoming leadership team and in the University administration.

“I feel great,” he said. “I’m really excited for our team … I’m excited about the future of the administration. I actually had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Brickhouse, the new provost, [recently]. A couple of students met with her, and she’s very open to new ideas, and she’s definitely a listening ear.”

Indeed, spring has been a busy time of the year for the upper echelons of SLU’s management.  In early May, the University will release its strategic plan for the future, and Bryant sees this as an opportunity for student input to be heard.

Bryant said: “The question is: why should [students] care about the future SLU? And I think that that’s a huge role that SGA will have, saying ‘here’s how you can better SLU for the future Billikens and also how you can be a part of this process to improve SLU in general.’”

This being said, though Bryant sees SGA has having a big role to play in voicing student input during the strategic planning process, he thinks that his experiences outside of SGA have actually been beneficial to his future role as president. Taking a year off, after two years within the organization have, he said, given him the fresh perspective of an outsider; having been involved with a chartered student organization this year – Relay for Life – he has seen ways in which SGA can better communicate with CSOs – and all students.

“This year has really been eye-opening,” Bryant said. “I have diminished that SGA tunnel vision maybe that I formed freshman and sophomore year. Now I know more of the communication needs that students want from SGA and vice versa … because when I was in SGA it [was like] we know all this information and the senators know all of this information, and it’s not that it was confidential information. It’s just ‘how do we push this information out to all the students?’ And so, my eyes have been opened to communicating more, especially about the strategic plan.”

Bryant, a communication major and marketing minor, hopes that ultimately his experiences – both inside and outside of SGA – will help him land a job after his career at SLU comes to a close next May; he has no immediate plans for grad school. But he has cherished his time at SLU, and he sees great value in the University’s mission – particularly its stress on searching for truth.

The pursuit of truth, Bryant said when asked what advice he, as SGA president, would give to an incoming freshman, “is so important for every student to understand: that they are in control of their own pursuit. And that means listening to both sides of the argument. It means disagreeing with others and finding common ground and working through that conflict—and listening to each other with both ears open. And so I think that plays into SGA as we are a governing body—listening to both sides … and making sure that all voices are heard through the different constituents that the senators represent.”

When he is not giving interviews, meeting with University administrators, or putting together his vision for the future of SGA, Bryant enjoys much that St. Louis has to offer.  He’s a fan of Imo’s pizza, and he enjoys going to the symphony at the Powell Symphony Hall, which is just steps from SLU’s campus.

And Bryant says that he feels very comfortable in a bowtie.

“I love bowties,” he said “and I will never ever have a pre-tied bow tie—always self-tied. I actually find bowties easier to tie … because you don’t need to worry about length.”