With a firm handshake and a steady gaze, Greg Abt carries himself with confidence beyond his 21 years.
Perhaps that’s because the junior history major has held a laundry list of leadership positions: Eagle Scout, academic chair of his fraternity Sigma Nu, graduate of the U.S. Army Airborne School, leader in GSU’s Army ROTC program and Student Government Association (SGA) senator for the College of Arts and Sciences.
This experience, Abt says, will help him as he takes on his biggest leadership role to date. Abt was recently elected president of the Georgia State University SGA and will assume the post May 1.
“I feel ready for the task,” Abt says. “I believe I possess the leadership qualities necessary to rejuvenate this organization for the benefit of the entire student body.”
The native of Newnan, Ga., already has a long to-do list. His top priority is to establish a fall break and move the university’s spring break back one week. The SGA passed such legislation this year, but it lagged in the University Senate. Abt says he’ll “do all in his power” to petition university officials to make a GSU fall break a reality.
Abt also hopes to establish a new “Repeat to Replace Policy” that would allow students to retake a class that they had done poorly in and replace that grade with a new one. Again, this policy has been passed by the SGA but not the University Senate. Abt hopes to lobby administrators to get the policy implemented.
The "Repeat to Replace Policy" is currently being considered by the University Senate’s Committee on Admissions and Standards. That same committee would be the one to consider changes to the university calendar.
Targeting “wasteful spending” is another key goal for Abt. He intends to eliminate the SGA out-of-town retreat, and replace it with one in Atlanta to save money.
The freed-up cash could be used to promote school spirit with a T-shirt swap, Abt says. Students would turn in their old non-GSU wear for new Georgia State apparel purchased by the SGA. The old clothes would be donated to charity.
Students need to realize that although we are a diverse student body, we are all Panthers,” Abt says.
Awareness will be a key part of his agenda as well. He plans to start a campaign to make sure students are aware of the current safety and security resources available to them on campus, such as the escort service. Abt also proposes forming a committee to further investigate campus security and safety concerns.
Abt ran with 19 other students on the “Students First” ticket, campaigning on the need for greater accountability in the SGA. All but one student on his ticket won. Abt beat current SGA President Evan Elkridge by fewer than 200 votes.
Although pleased with his win, Abt is unsatisfied that less than 5 percent of the student body voted in the recent elections. He says he wants to increase the visibility of SGA and let students know the elected officials are here for them.
“We have an office that’s open 9 to 5, stop by,” Abt says. “We’ll hear every complaint and it will definitely be addressed.”
It’s evident Abt cares a lot about the university.Indeed, school pride is in his blood. His grandmother, father and older brother went to GSU. Now, he and his younger brother attend.
“I didn’t think of going to any other university than Georgia State,” he said.
For more information, visit http://www2.gsu.edu/~wwwsga.