Polk State College serves 20,000 students each year and is home to three Student Government Associations spanning the Winter Haven, Lakeland, and Lake Wales campuses. Their officers have been hard at work this summer participating in leadership training and collaborating on ways to engage the student body for the 2023-2024 Academic Year.
The SGAs, in partnership with the Student Activities and Leadership Office (SALO), will host welcome week events this fall on both campuses to kick off a slew of activities this semester.
“Welcome week is our way to expose students to the opportunities; it allows students to engage with student-body electives as well as our peers, faculty, and staff,” said Aalayah Jones, President of SGA Lakeland. “It benefits students by opening some doors for them and allowing them to see that there is student life within the College.”
Welcome week on the Winter Haven Campus will take place from August 21 through August 24 and on the Lakeland Campus from August 28 through August 31. More information about specific events and activities will be available on the @psc.whsga and @polkstatesalolk Instagrams and the Polk State College SALO Facebook.
When speaking to the SGA officers across the campuses, they all had one commonality: they are driven to give back to their peers and the community.
“Polk State is an all-inclusive school that really cares about the students. There are a lot of people [here] who can help me with my future,” Lake Wales Campus President Mahki Williams said. “What I’m looking forward to most this year is helping students across all locations to be able to form a bond with each other, to be able to become better students, and to be able to chase their dreams.”
“What inspired me is being able to help my community, build up my school, and try to be a role model for younger kids,” echoed Michael Lindo, Vice President for the Lake Wales Campus.
“We are their voice. They give us the ideas. We cater to them,” explained Julisa Mendez, Vice President for the Lakeland Campus. “Student Government keeps everything united.”
“Polk State is an all-inclusive school that really cares about the students. What I’m looking forward to most this year is helping students across all locations to be able to form a bond with each other, to be able to become better students, and to be able to chase their dreams.”
President, Polk State Lake Wales SGA
SGA provides Polk State students with an active voice in administrative and legislative matters concerning the student body. SGA officers serve as liaisons between students and administrators, organize campus activities, represent students in state and national organizations, and provide advocacy on legislative issues.
“I wanted to be more involved with my college,” Lakeland Campus Student Engagement Specialist Rosario Gonzalez shared of her decision to join SGA. “It is very important for me to have a good school life and personal life, and this allows me to do both.”
“Polk State is a very growing community,” said Fenil Barot, Vice President for the Winter Haven Campus. “I get to meet wonderful people all the time and I get to connect with them on a closer level since it is a smaller community. I can get to know everyone better.”
“Everybody was so inviting and welcoming,” Winter Haven President Jonasia Hilliard said of her first SGA experiences. “I was fascinated by getting to know more people and getting to know Polk State as a whole.”
In addition to the SGAs, Polk State is home to more than 30 student clubs and organizations, housed under SALO. From the Black Student Union and Hispanic Club to the Speech and Debate Team and Art Club, there are a variety of opportunities for students to get involved.
Additionally, students who want to start their own club are encouraged to do so and should email email@example.com to learn how they can charter their own organization.
SGA officers offered some words of advice for their peers as the Fall 2023 Semester kicks off at Polk State College.
“My advice to students is to try your best not to get too distracted from your studies but also enjoy yourself while you’re going to school,” Winter Haven Campus Secretary Analicia Williams shared.
“Stay focused on your goals, reach out when you need help, and just have fun,” said Mario Aguirre, Student Engagement Specialist for the Winter Haven Campus. “That’s what college is for, learning and having fun.”
“Enjoy the campuses and enjoy all the events that are coming up, and just don’t be afraid to put yourself out there,” said Gonzalez.