Gov. Greg Abbott has appointed Zoé Smiley, a second-year graduate student from Kingwood, as the new SFA student regent. Smiley is working toward her master’s degree in student affairs and higher education and began her term on the board in June.
A new student regent is appointed each summer. He or she must be enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student at SFA at the time of appointment and throughout the term. The student regent must also remain in good academic standing and maintain at least a 2.5 GPA.
According to the rules and regulations of the Board of Regents, “The student regent has the same powers and duties as the members of the Board of Regents, including the right to attend and participate in meetings of the Board of Regents, except that the student regent may not vote on any matter before the board or make or second any motion before the board.”
Although Smiley will not have a say when it comes to voting, as student regent, she will represent the student body when asked for student input from the Board of Regents.
“My dad was really great friends with [late SFA President] Dr. Baker Pattillo. They were childhood friends growing up. One of the last things I told Baker was that I had applied for student regent. So to follow in Baker’s footsteps is something that I really aspire to do. It’s cliché to say it means the world, but to help live out the legacy he left here at SFA is an honor that’s indescribable,” Smiley said.
As a student on campus for five years, Smiley believes she is well- equipped to understand student climate and needs and to speak for the student body.
“There can be pressure to have the voice of the students on your shoulders, but I think my time here at SFA has prepared me for this position. I’m a very open person, and I work with students and parents on the daily, so I think I would be a good person to have that voice and to be there for people.
Smiley detailed some of the main concerns she’s heard during her five years on campus.
“I know that SFA is trying to be a Hispanic-serving institution, so helping serve just a more diverse group of students is something SFA is striving to push and to be more accommodating for people of different backgrounds.”
Parking is another issue on campus, but Smiley said administrators are pushing hard to find new and innovative ways for everyone to have a place on campus.
“If students are looking for a campus that’s going to give them the opportunity to stand up for what they believe in, I think SFA is the place to do it because we give our students so much opportunity to be their own people and to start organizations and to stand up for what they want. If you want a school that’s going to back you when you’re in the right or want to stand for something that you feel is unjust, I think the school does a great job at you being able to do that,” Smiley said.
As a student regent, Smiley encourages everyone to voice their opinion.
“If you feel that SFA is lacking in an area, tell someone about it. We don’t know if you don’t tell us. We can only assess so many things by ourselves and what we can do, so if you’re a student and you have concerns and you want a change to be made, take it to someone, bring it to someone higher. If you want to make a change, it can be done. Twitter can only do so much.”
Dr. Hollie Smith, assistant dean of student affairs for programs and Purple Haze Association adviser, nominated Smiley for the position and encouraged her to apply.
“She’s very positive and has a lot of school spirit. She’s a well-rounded student. She’s involved and she has good academics. She’s professional, and she also wants to have a career in student affairs, so the experience she’ll get sitting in on the meetings and having that administrative observation is something that’s going to benefit her professionally as well,” Smith said.