By Kimmie Collins
Feb 25, 2020
A natural-born Sycamore, junior Maddy Longyear has practically grown up in Indiana State University’s backyard. The Terre Haute, Ind., native shows her Sycamore pride each day, serving as the president of the 57th Administration of Student Government Association. Longyear is pursuing a degree in communications with a concentration in public relations and a minor in human resource development. Indiana State has provided Longyear with opportunities to grow and develop, and, in return, Longyear and her administration implement initiatives to enhance the student experience at State. Longyear hopes to leave a legacy of impact at Indiana State and in SGA, hoping to be a positive influence and voice for her fellow Sycamores.
What inspired you to run for SGA President last year?
SGA had never been something that was really on my radar as something I thought I would be interested in, let alone being president. But I just love Indiana State so much, and I’m so grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had. I was in a meeting for a different organization with Ashley Morgan, who is now my vice-president. We were just talking about things that we thought could be changed at the university, and our advisor looked at us and said, “Why don’t you run for SGA president and vice-president?” The next thing we knew we were campaigning. It’s just been the best opportunity to get to serve a university and students that I love so much in such a unique capacity.
Describe your day-to-day role as SGA President.
Every day looks different! I spend time up here on the sixth floor of HMSU with my staff- there are 15 of us up here in the SGA office working really hard for our students. I spend time with them, checking in and seeing if there’s anything that they need from me and that they are doing the things they need to be doing. We have good brainstorming sessions for upcoming events. I also attend a lot of meetings, anywhere they need a student representative. I tend to be the one who is the voice of the students in those meetings, which is a really cool opportunity that I am really grateful for. This morning, I was at the President’s Council, and I report at Board of Trustees meetings. I spend a lot of time in my office working with my staff or out on campus meeting with different groups.
What programs or initiatives has SGA begun during your term?
We’ve been really pushing to do a lot with sustainability, and we’ve been able to build a relationship with the Office of Sustainability. We have a huge campaign launching soon called Cupanion. It’s a sticker students can place on their water bottles to track their water intake and the energy that they’ve saved. We also have a huge event coming up this spring semester, a home baseball game against Indiana University. We are doing a huge Green Tailgate, where we are going to really promote sustainability and have fun cheering on the Sycamores. We also have a plastic-free pledge coming up, and we are hoping to get 6,000 signatures so that we can take steps to becoming a plastic-free university. We continue to advocate for mental health, and we have been meeting regularly with the Student Counseling Center so that we can best serve our students. We also have been working alongside athletics with The Forest to make that game day experience fun and exciting for all of our students.
Which initiative has meant the most to you personally?
One that has probably meant the most to me is our Blue Fridays initiative. Each Friday, a different organization hosts a Blue Friday. They pass out shirts, wish everyone a happy Blue Friday, and do a little activity at their table. It’s so much fun to have seen these organizations show their Sycamore pride each week.
What does SGA represent to you?
SGA, to me, really represents all of the students. When I’m sitting in a senate meeting or a cabinet meeting, I see these student leaders who care so much about the university that it’s hard not to be inspired. They bring in different ideas, and they see things differently. When I look at SGA, I really see the heart of Indiana State.
What is your leadership style?
I’m definitely a servant leader. I know that I could not think that I am doing a great job and could not be satisfied if I just spent my days in my office and sent my team to-do lists. I want to help them out. That means I might spend an hour in a meeting with my director of finance trying to understand budgets and how they work or maybe I’m spending two hours folding T-shirts so someone else on my team can focus on their task. I just really want to work alongside others while helping them grow.
Who do you look to as a model of a great leader?
I think Greg Bierly, dean of the Honors College, is the epitome of a servant leader. He is just so wonderful in the way that he cares for others. That’s what I try to be here in the SGA office. I want my team to know that, anything I ask of them, I will do alongside them as well. I think that Greg Bierly does a great job of learning and serving alongside of us while being a great mentor and leader.
What has been the most challenging part about serving as SGA President?
Definitely learning to ask for help. I like to take things on myself, and I don’t want to let anyone down, but just because you are in this role doesn’t mean that you have to carry everything alone. There are so many great allies and wonderful people here to help and advise and mentor you. Our advisor, Brooks Moore, is wonderful at dealing with my panicked phone calls. I’ve always been good at time management, but being in this position is a whole different realm of time management and added responsibility. I’ve had to learn when to say yes, when to say no, and when to ask for help. I think that the most valuable lesson I have learned is that you can’t do it alone.
What makes you a proud Sycamore?
I am so proud to be a Sycamore because of the ways that Indiana State has invested in me. I’m so proud to come from a university that cares about their students on a daily basis. They care about how your life is going, if you are getting enough sleep, how you are finding joy. Everyone here seems to be personally invested in the success of the students.
Why do you love Indiana State?
I love Indiana State because there are countless opportunities for me here. I am surrounded by a community that continues to push me to grow and learn and that will laugh alongside me. I am able to invest my time in worthwhile things that are going to help others. I’ve really been able to explore my passions here because of all of the opportunities. You hear it a lot: we have that small school feel with that big school opportunity, and I think that’s a perfect way to describe Indiana State.
What legacy do you hope to leave behind, both at ISU and in SGA?
I just want students to be able to look at our administration or my presidency and feel like they had a lasting impact. I want them to say, “This is something that made my time at Indiana State better. I felt valued, and I enjoyed my experience.” I hope that everyone has a wonderful college experience at Indiana State University, and I hope that I can play a key role in that.
What does BLUE mean to you?
To me, BLUE is home. It’s connection, it’s opportunity, and it’s growth. It’s everything that you could need from a college experience, from support to learning in the classroom to growing as a leader. It’s also a place to lay your head at night. BLUE has really just become my home.
Maddy Longyear originally chose Indiana State because she saw the impact the university had on her mother and her sister, who are both alumnae. Now, having felt that influence firsthand, Longyear is more confident in her ability to offer value to her future company. After graduation, Longyear hopes to be able to invest in the lives of others and looks forward to giving back to the university as a proud alumna.