MU will be hosting the 2014 Southeastern Conference Exchange next January. Having attended the event for the past two years, 2014 will be only the third time the university has been part of the exchange.
The exchange is a chance for the student governments of SEC schools to gather, bounce ideas off of one another and talk about how their systems tick. Representatives are selected from each student government body and meet annually at a host school, most recently Texas A&M.
At the most recent exchange held last weekend in College Station, Texas, Missouri Students Association representatives asked for the bid to host the next edition of the event and received it with ease, MSA President Nick Droege said. A presentation of MU and the city of Columbia was unnecessary after other SEC schools left the decision to hand the reins to MU uncontested.
“We had enough time down there to talk to the other representatives and their advisers about who wanted to host the conference, and we put our name out there early,” Droege said.
Now that it has been announced that MU will host the next conference, it means back-to-back new additions to the SEC will have had the opportunity to display their schools to a different group of institutions. The introduction of MU and Texas A&M to the SEC has been a large proponent as to why each school has been selected, Droege said.
Despite having to host to a slew of still-unfamiliar universities, Droege said he is excited about the prospect and is prepared to show the rest of the SEC’s student representatives what MU brings to the table. Points of emphasis at the conference will be the connectedness of MU and its strong foundation of tradition, Droege said.
The conference has also fueled the creative power of MSA and its president. After attending the conference the past two years, Droege came up with the idea of Tiger Pantry when he attended his first exchange. Other pending policies such as emergency loan and business attire lending programs took root at conferences. Droege used both of these ideas as campaign platforms this past semester.
Director of Student Communications Jimmy Hibsch and Maneater staff member, fresh from his first conference in College Station, said he shares with Droege the creative bug that comes from the direct interaction with fellow representatives.
“Just being in that environment with so many student leaders who care so much about their school — it’s almost toxic to not want to come back and be the best student government you can be,” Hibsch said.
Having just been appointed as part of Droege’s cabinet, Hibsch said being new to MSA and the student government process has made the experience all the more exciting. He and fellow cabinet members came away with a number of ideas that far exceeded their expectations, Hibsch said.
Despite having just recently learned that the next conference would be at MU, Droege and his cabinet have began preparing for the January date. By the end of March, applications will be released for a committee designated to planning the upcoming event, Droege said.
“We really want to get people on that committee from all over campus, not just MSA,” Droege said. “It’s important to make sure that we’re putting all those people who are so great and so prideful of our university in the position to show the top leaders (of other schools) what we have to offer.”