While standing backstage, the Pensacola Christian College Student Body officers can hear chorister Adam King (Sr., AL) leading nearly 4,100 peers in attendance through “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Excited nervousness had set in a long time ago. Soon, the extra adrenaline will be used to keep their energy up throughout Student Body Meeting as they share exciting announcements, sing special songs, and put on relevant skits.
What Are Student Body Meetings?
While chapel encourages students four days of the week, Wednesday’s meetings promote Unity, one of the Four Pillars of Panhellenic, through collegian meetings, class meetings, and student body meetings. Student Body programs and events influence students within the context of campus life at PCC.
“The meetings are different from chapel or other meetings because it’s an opportunity for the PCC student body to come together in unity and enjoy a variety of programs,” said Vinny Lieb, Student Activities coordinator who sponsors Student Body. “Sometimes they are meaningful, such as the Mission Project. Other times they are fun skits and parodies in the context of PCC life that only we understand.”
Together, the student-elected officers decided early on their theme for the 2021–2022 school year: Be Renewed (Eph. 4:23–24). “The last few years have been anything but conventional, to say the least. However, this year we felt as if the Lord has given us a clean slate,” said Ethan Granata (Sr., WV). “We wanted to encourage students, to return back to living a life that is on fire for God and is modeled by Christ.”
“And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
Planning a Meeting
When planning a Student Body Meeting, the officers begin by using Ethan’s devotional as the foundation and base announcements and skits around events or holidays on the student calendar. It’s not long before they’re contacting students and friends about participating in the meeting. “The team is honestly really great,” said Ethan. “They are fun to be around and are all eager and excited to make sure each program is the best it can be. Everyone contributes and gives valuable insight, and with all the great ideas put together, it is often exciting to see what is produced.”
The group meets every Monday night for several hours to go over plans, scripts, and details for the upcoming meeting. “[Planning for a meeting is] a lot of work, but it is so enjoyable,” said Maddie Alcorn (Jr., TN), Student Body secretary. “Being able to work with a team and collaborate ideas with each other has taught me so much! It has taught me to work well with others in a great environment.”
Throughout the process, Vinny Lieb, Student Activities, and other departments lend a hand to bring the officers’ vision to life. “Student Activities has a wealth of knowledge that we are constantly tapping into,” explained Bryan Paul (Jr., NC), Student Body president. “We also branch out to other departments around campus that are always willing to help and get involved. Many of the faculty and staff we work with have been a part of Student Body and have great experience.”
Time Well Spent
As vice president, Alyssa Shirley (Sr., NC) appreciates the unique opportunity to use her talents as a Student Body officer. “I remember my very first Student Body Meeting as a freshman. The officers were engaging, fun, relaxing, and God-centered in all that was done on stage. I remember thinking then, ‘That must be fun to be an officer. I bet I will never be good enough for a position like that,’” she recalled. “God can and will use you for a great purpose, whether that’s as an officer in Student Body, class, or collegian; as a prayer leader; or maybe just as a godly friend.”
As pianist, Yesung Kim (Jr., South Korea) assists Chorister Adam King in choosing songs and special music. He also plays during skits when needed. Overall, Yesung is grateful for the encouraging atmosphere the other officers and staff inspire while together. “It has been a leadership experience where I get to see a lot of the behind the scenes and the preparation that goes into these meetings,” he said. “It is both fun and challenging. Fun in the sense of getting to lead the whole student body, but it is time consuming and requires a lot of preparation.”
“So many people help us make these meetings the best they can be, but they don’t look to be recognized or rewarded,” said Bryan. “So much goes into the planning process and approval stages, and all the people involved are great people to work with and are the unsung heroes of Student Body. They do not plan the meetings for us, but they do help make our vision possible and, most times, give us more tools and opportunities to expand our vision in ways we didn’t think were possible.”
With most of the year finished, the Student Body officers only have but a few more weeks left to go. They’re glad their peers have continually chosen to serve others through Student Body initiatives like the Mission Project and the upcoming Serve Pensacola projects. “When it came to our school life last year, we were very limited in what we could get involved with,” said Ethan. “This year however, we wanted students to get involved and take advantage of the opportunities the Lord has given us.”
And they did just that.