Q&A with Chris Ragsdale
Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 17:02
The Davidsonian sat down with the next Student Government Associate (SGA) President, Chris Ragsdale ’14. Chris will officially be inducted as the 120th SGA President on Thursday, Feb. 21.
Why did you decide to run for SGA president?
Ever since I initially joined the SGA, which was back at the end of freshman year, it has always been at the back of my mind, but I never thought it was something that I would be capable of doing or that I would be interested in. I’ve been on SGA for two years, and I really feel like I’ve had a lot experience with the different departments, whether they be student life or academics or admissions. Whereas at the beginning of SGA I might not have felt capable of [being president], now I feel like I’ve gained the skills and the experience to be successful at this job. I think there’s a lot that I can do, and Davidson has given me so much that this is almost the least I can do, to give a year of my time to work on Davidson.
In the SGA presidential debate, one of the things you mentioned you wanted to work on was developing the leadership skills of SGA members.
I’ve always felt like each year, new senators are brought and for the most part are great leaders, but we haven’t really focused on developing or equipping them with the resources they might need. For the first couple months of my administration at the end of this semester, I don’t really intend for us to be passing a lot of legislation or bills or putting on a lot of programs, we’re really going to spend that two months developing the group and equipping them with all the resources they need. For example, I want to bring in a lot of people I think could be influential to the senate, including speakers in the campus community and outside the campus community to provide advice. The SGA is going to be doing a lot of listening. We’re really going to encourage the senators to listen to students and try to get a better idea of what the students need. I think if we take that couple months to literally just listen and not do too much and just ponder and think and understand the different situations happening on campus, that will be really useful for actually doing more starting next semester.
Do you have any goals or areas you’d like to address on campus?
I wouldn’t say I have specific goals now, but specific focus areas. We really need to start looking seriously at student stress. We’ve been looking at it with Billy’s administration and I plan to continue those conversations. We need to re-evaluate some of our academic policies to make sure we have a healthy environment for our students.
Alcohol culture is something that we’re going to be talking about. [Reports from the Social Culture Task Force] will shape the way that we continue to look at alcohol culture.
Diversity is also something that we’ll look at—not just racial, but ethnic, religious, socioeconomic, sexual orientation, etc.
What would you like the student body to know about you?
I’m 100% open to talking about anything. If there’s an issue that a student feels strongly or passionately about, I would hope that they would feel comfortable enough to come up and talk to me if they see me in the Union or they see me in Chambers. Or if they don’t see me, just shoot me an email. I’m definitely more than willing to sit down with any member of the student body that feels strongly about a particular issue and listen.
Also, I might be student body president, but at the end of the day, I’m a student just like everyone else—I procrastinate on my essays, I like to go out on the Court on weekends. At the end of the day, I’m just a student, so any student should feel comfortable talking to me.
Other organizations you’re involved in?
I am a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. I am a tour guide for the Admissions Office, and I also work in the Annual Fund Office.
Who is a leader you look up to?
I think the leader I most look up to is my grandfather. He’s turning 90 years old in a few months, and I think I look up to him because he spent everyday of his life caring for other people and caring passionately and devoting his life to the betterment of the people and society around him. I couldn’t think of anyone better to aspire to be like.
What is the most interesting course you’ve taken at Davidson?
I’m in a really interesting course right now on research ethics [taught by Dr. Foley]. It’s in the CIS department, but it’s a requirement for the medical humanities concentration. We discuss essentially every ethical issue that comes up in research… We talk about research oversees, the effects of medical research, privacy laws. I’m very interested in going into the healthcare industry on the administrative end.
What do you circle on the ordering slip at the Union Café?
My New Year’s resolution is to eat healthier, so from now on, if you see me in the Union, tell me to order a Chicken on the Green. But I’m not going to lie, I’m a Davidson kid, so I’m always going to go for the ‘dilla.