Indiana State University Newsroom

Elections won, bonds formed in 2015 student government campaign

April 17, 2015

Presidential campaigns involve months of sleepless nights and grueling work – even when it comes to student government campaigns.

When the dust settled from Indiana State University’s recent election, the highest number of students in three years had cast their ballots and the team of Vernon Cheeks and Shannon Anderson came out on top.

Cheeks is a junior from Chicago majoring in sport management. Anderson, Cheeks’ vice presidential running mate, is a sophomore from St. Charles, Ill. majoring in business administration. They met when Cheeks, who had been involved in student government since becoming vice president of the Sycamore Leadership Coalition, wanted to run for President for 2015-16 but found himself without a running mate.

A friend recommended Anderson, saying, ‘You'd be a perfect fit for each other,’ “and it was history from there,” Cheeks said.

Cheeks described Anderson as ‘exceptional.’ He was impressed by her campus involvement, being a President’s Scholar and an active member of Sigma Kappa sorority among them, and her organizational skills.

“She has three different planners—she keeps me in check,” he said.  

In turn, Anderson called Cheeks one of her best friends. They inevitably bonded over the course of their campaign and discovered that their strengths and weaknesses created a powerful whole.

“I’m good at the internal affairs and he's really good at external affairs,” said Anderson. “He's a leader—he's just super cool and people are drawn to him. He's really great at motivating people. He's inspirational, and he can get things done—and I can organize it. He's been pushing me out of my comfort zone, and I've gotten him on Microsoft Outlook.”

Cheeks and Anderson acknowledge that not all students are aware that they can vote, and the president and vice president of the student body have dramatic influence on campus. They spent countless hours campaigning - on social media, visiting student groups and other avenues, but candidates are not allowed to campaign within 15 feet of a classroom.

Almost 1,600 students voted—and when the results came in, Cheeks and Anderson cried.

“It was just kind of a relief,” Anderson said. “It was just—we put so much effort into this campaign, we worked so hard. We didn't get any sleep at all. We didn't eat. We both were crying because it was finally all worth it. All that hard work finally was all over. And it was just so amazing because it was just a great award and we're just so honored.”

Cheeks and Anderson’s futures will be impacted by their experiences in leadership. Cheeks worked with the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four in Indianapolis. He recently finished an internship and is set to be an offensive lineman coach for the freshman football team at Terre Haute North Vigo High School. After completing his bachelor’s degree in 2016, he plans to remain at Indiana State to pursue a master’s degree in sport management.

“SGA has already had a huge impact on my life which will help me throughout my career,” said Anderson. After graduation, Anderson wishes to pursue her MBA while working in sales—a field which Anderson feels SGA prepared her for by pushing her out of her comfort zone. In addition to the public speaking skills on the campaign trail and presenting to dozens of organizations and hundreds of individuals, “I have been able to accomplish things that I never would have fathomed a year ago.”

Cheeks and Anderson are excited about their newfound responsibilities and the opportunity to act on their goals, which include further engaging residence hall students with homecoming, Spring Week, and other events to jumpstart campus involvement of new students. As an Academic Peer Advocate in Cromwell Hall, Cheeks spent much of his time dining and working out with students, which can lead students to be involved with various aspects of campus life. Other plans include further work with the Union Board to diversify involvement opportunities, increase student safety by providing more lights on campus and increase police presence in Lincoln Quads, and create self-defense programs for students at the Student Recreational Center. 

Anderson is deeply excited about the opportunity to make a greater impact on campus where her understanding of groups’ inner-workings will benefit the student body.  “When I joined SGA it kind of opened up a new door for me to this new world where I can make a difference on a bigger level,” said Anderson.


Photo: - Vernon Cheeks of Chicago was selected by the student body to serve as the 2015-16 Student Government Association president. (ISU Photo Services)

Photo: - Shannon Anderson of St. Charles, Ill. is set to serve as the next vice president for Student Government Association. (ISU Photo Services)


Writer: Kristen Kilker, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, or 812-237-3773