While ballots for SGA elections were cast yesterday, Heath Barton didn’t have to worry, as his position was already secured after running unopposed for president.
Barton, a junior risk management insurance major from Opp, said that despite a lack of competition, he still would have been the best choice for the post, as his three main goals for the presidency aim to increase retention rates and help Troy “strive toward excellence.”
In detail, his goals for the next year are accountability to administration, pride for Troy and success on and off the field.
“Our administration serves as the backbone for our entire student body,” said Barton. “Our student body has a lot of good ideas, but our administration is the one that really pushes us and is able to accomplish those goals.”
Barton said that he hopes to “hold our administration accountable to our dreams and our goals as a student body.”
According to Barton, Troy’s retention rate is lower than it should be.
“It doesn’t give them that time to have the pride for Troy that they could have,” Barton said of students choosing to transfer to other schools.
Barton wants to increase Trojan pride in all areas of campus involvement and through other improvements, in the hopes that retention rates will go up.
“I know that every president says that, some to get the vote, but my goal this year is to truly be the voice,” said Barton of his plans to improve campus, “and go through the administration to make sure that our voice is being heard to show that we are improving.
“Whether it be through academics, athletics or your social life, we want to make sure that you succeed. As a university as a whole, we should be striving toward excellence.”
Barton said that after coming from a town with a population in the single thousands, known mainly for its location on a popular route to Florida beaches, he is excited both for his term to start and for the other doors that Troy has opened for him.
“Coming from a small town, I didn’t have a lot of opportunity,” he said. “Being able to come here and represent so much more than just Troy — I’m representing the students, the organizations, my town, my family. That’s been my goal since freshman year.”
As a freshman, Barton ran for Freshman Forum.
He moved up in the ranks from vice president of Freshman Forum to vice president of campus activities, and finally president.
“I just did all of these things to build myself up to run for president,” he said.
His year will be busy as he serves as president, delves into his major and prepares for a summer internship, as well as going on a mission trip to Africa before being flown either to the West or East Coast less than a week after returning.
As for the year in the student government, Barton hopes to see his goals become realities through the fostering of relationships on campus.
“To me, relationships are a really big thing,” he said. “I know it’s going to be impossible to form a relationship with every student on campus, but if that student is interested in having a relationship with SGA, then I am here for them. I am not just here to sit behind a desk. I’m here to be your friend and your fellow Trojan.
“There’s so many things we want to do through SGA, and without our students we couldn’t accomplish them. I’m not somebody that is higher up than you. I’m still just as much a Trojan as you are.”
He also hopes to continue progress on the new recreation center and increase campus involvement in organizations.
“We have over 200 organizations on campus, and if there’s not one for you, create your own,” Barton said. “We love passing bills for new organizations. Being able to have all of these will encourage students to stay. That’s why I decided to stay — I got so involved my freshman and sophomore years.”
As he settles into his new office, Barton said that he is ready to take input from the campus and serve as a relay between the students’ wants and the administration’s ability to make those happen.
“I want students to see how much I do love Troy and being involved. I feel like if someone else is going to see my passion, then that will spark passion in them to love this university as much as I do.”
Barton said that he is looking forward to next year as SGA president.
“I am definitely humbled by the opportunity to be president for the next academic year,” Barton said. “I am looking forward to working with all the winners and those who didn’t win, I hope they continue to work with SGA or the judicial court, stay involved in some capacity.”