Written by Sara McClaran and Everett Kirkman
The Harding student body elected junior interdisciplinary studies major Megan Sledge and junior management major Laney Bell as next year’s Student Association (SA) president and vice president, as announced on April 8, along with sophomore medical humanities major Britney Njeri as secretary and junior accounting major Grant Moore as treasurer.
There have only been five female SA presidents in University history. The first was Susan Brady in 1977; the second was Susan Vaughn-Hassmann in 1990. In the past five years however, three have joined the list: Hallie Hite in 2018; Morgan Proffitt-Davis in 2020; and now, incoming president Sledge.
Sledge and Bell will also be the second-ever female president and vice president pair, the first being Hite and her vice president, Nora Johnson.
Sledge played a significant part of the current SA as the junior female representative, most recently succeeding in getting the Harding community garden approved by administration.
“I feel like the experience that I have on the SA and my leadership qualities gave me confidence to step up to the plate for this position,” Sledge said. “I went into this campaign with an open mind, knowing that God would put the right person in the position according to his plan. I had no idea what the outcome would be.”
Sledge said she is honored to be president and has learned a lot from working with current SA president Ethan Brazell. With this role, she will get to work with incoming University President Mike Williams.
“There are going to be lots of exciting changes in this upcoming year,” Sledge said. “Dr. Williams is going to bring a new energy to campus that I am thrilled to work alongside. My biggest dream for next year is that we focus on telling the story of Jesus and of our lives. I find so much power in our personal testimonies and from sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. My prayer is that we embrace this challenge and find ways to share these stories with the Harding community, the city of Searcy and anywhere else we may go.”
Brazell said the advice he received when he became president was to make the role his own, and he hopes Sledge can take that advice as well and lean into her strengths and her personality. Brazell said he got to see her tackle a lot of huge projects like the community garden throughout the school year, and he thinks she is going to do a great job as president. Bell, he said, is going to bring a lot to the SA because she has experience planning events and is very organized.
Bell was a part of the First Year Experience committee and was a summer orientation co-director for 2021. Bell said she chose to run for vice president because she loved planning events and knew the vice president oversees various SA committees.
“I really loved seeing how involved the SA was in the community,” Bell said. “I loved that they were always doing service projects. My hope for it is that we continue being as involved in the community as we have been.”
Njeri said she decided to run for SA because of how much she has loved her two years at Harding.
“I believe that Harding can continue to be a more loving and welcoming place for all students, faculty, and staff to continue to draw closer to the Lord while they also become better versions of themselves and it would be such an honor to help in that,” Njeri said. “By bringing an international perspective, I believe I will help to continue to unite the student body and the administration in the different ways that I believe need improvement.”