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Jones brings fresh outlook to UNCP student government

May 26, 2004

Venessa JonesStudent Government Association President-elect Venessa N. Jones brings a fresh perspective to the office.

Before her election this spring, Jones was not involved with student government at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. However, Jones is very involved in campus life.

"I got into a little bit of everything, but I was not into politics," the junior marketing major said of her college experience.

Jones campaigned all over campus, asking students what they wanted from their next SGA president. She built her political platform on what students said they wanted from their leaders.

It worked. Jones was elected in one of the University's most competitive elections with the biggest voter turnout in recent history.

"I have listened to my peers, and they think that unity is important - on campus and off campus too with the community," she said.

Jones said she will continue to listen to her constituents.

"I think the rule is that the SGA president is supposed to be in the office five hours a week," she said. "I plan to be in the office all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays."

"I want students to come visit me and share their ideas," she said.

Jones, who lives in Raleigh but is a graduate of Douglas Byrd High School in Fayetteville, said building school pride through participation is her primary goal as SGA president.

"More participation means more pride," she said. "I want to see more students at basketball games and at more weekend activities."

"I want to involve the fraternities, sororities and other clubs, who are the main focus of campus social life, in planning activities on weekends."

For her part, Jones said campus life at UNCP is very rewarding.

"I commuted my first semester, and when I moved to campus, I was able to be more intimate with the students," she said. "I like UNCP because it is a small school atmosphere where everybody knows you and says hello."

Jones was a peer advisor, orientation leader, a member of Students in Free Enterprise and a member of the campus NAACP chapter.

Now, it's time to return the favor to the student, she believes.

"I have been to a lot of meetings since becoming president-elect, and I've learned a lot," Jones said. "Meeting with the Association of Student Governments, I learned that other schools face the same issues and what they are doing to handle these issues."

Jones will also go to summer school so she can take a lighter course load in the fall. This way she will have more time for student government duties.

"Being SGA president is very time consuming, so I am making time," she said.