Student Profile - Quentin Jiles
Jiles named Lamar University SGA president
Quentin Jiles, Houston senior and social work major, was named the new Lamar University Student Government Association president for 2012-2013. Jiles has been president of Lamar's chapter of the NAACP. He is also a member of the Alpha Kappa Psi Business fraternity and is a student director of student development in the office of student affairs.
Jiles said he owes much of his success at the university to his involvement with student organizations such as the NAACP and the Social Work Student Association.
When I first came to campus, I really only stuck with my three closest friends,” he said. “But after getting involved in various organizations, I began to meet people at a whole different level. I got to meet people of different backgrounds and with various interests, and it made the whole experience fun.
“The most beneficial organization for me was working with the NAACP. A lot of people have a misconception that the NAACP is only for African Americans. But it is actually the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and we all have a color. So we didn’t really just target African Americans. We had whites, Latinos, and the Bangladesh Student Association all come to meetings — it was very diverse. It really made me aware of the different ideas and values of other cultures and better prepared me for how to interpret different perspectives of the world.”
Jiles said that through his involvement in various organizations, he has had the opportunity to hear what students think about the university and the quality of their experience. He said that his mission as SGA president is to be a voice for students and to help increase the quality of their college experience.
“I want everybody to feel included, feel like they are getting a quality education and feel like they are having a good time as well,” he said. “I love my school, and I want everybody to take pride in it.”
Jiles said his administration already has plans lined out for the coming term. One goal, he said, is to activate a multi-cultural advisory council to address various cultural issues at the university. The council will plan multi-cultural activities through the support of the student affairs office.
“At the moment it is made up of a few presidents of different organizations,” he said. “Our goal is to raise awareness about different cultural ideas and issues around campus so that everyone feels included.”
Jiles said he wants to set realistic goals that address student concerns. One mission of the new SGA administration is to promote healthy living. Jiles said he plans to discuss putting several vending machines on campus that only offer healthy snacks as well as setting up a Chartwells advisory board.
“We want to make sure that our students are getting the best quality food and customer service possible,” Jiles said.
Jiles said through his involvement with the multi-cultural advisory council and the Chartwells advisory board he is in a unique position to address various cultural diets and food alternatives for groups with diet restrictions.
“I like the idea of having healthy alternatives for people who may be vegan or from different ethnic backgrounds that may involve specific diet restrictions,” he said. “It is just another way that everyone on campus can feel like they are included as part of the university community.”
Jiles said that above all his goal is to serve the students and listen to their ideas.
“I will talk to anyone,” he said.” I want to make sure the students know that I do not put myself above them. At the end of the day, if your tuition goes up, so does mine. We are on the same level playing field — I am just a voice for you.”
Lanier LaVergne III, Missouri City junior, was elected as new SGA vice president. The marketing major was also vice president under Jiles of the Lamar chapter of the NAACP.
LaVergne said he plans to focus on getting students involved and informing them about opportunities at the university.
“I would like to get more students to attend SGA meetings,” LaVergne said. “This will raise the level of Cardinal Pride. Most importantly, I want to give back to the students.”
Charity Obeide, Missouri City sophomore, was elected secretary/treasurer. The political science major said he wants to bring a sense of unity and excitement to SGA.
“I want students from all different backgrounds and organizations to come and help Lamar be a better campus and school,” he said. “Students should get involved in SGA because this is not only the one organization where your voice can be heard, but it’s a place where you interact with students of all kinds and express your creativity for Lamar University.”
Jiles said the qualities of the new SGA officers should make for a productive administration.
“I think we are going to be a really good team, and I expect to have a really great year,” he said.
Jiles said after graduation, he plans to attend a graduate program to purse a PhD in social work. He said he plans to put his education to good use through a career as an investigator for Child Protective Services.
“My ultimate goal is to build an agency that can get children adopted out to great homes, and that is something that I feel that I will be able to learn through working with CPS,” he said.
“I have always wanted to work with children. When I was in the fifth grade, I saw this girl, who was in the second grade, crying. I asked her why, and she said that her sister wouldn’t give her half of the lunch money that her mother had given her for the both of them. So I took her in the lunch line and split my lunch money with her. After that day, she always sat by me at lunch, so I kind of adopted her as my little sister. I think that was the start of me trying to help people. To me, it felt good. So why not try to turn that into a career and do something that I really love?”
Jiles said the department of Sociology, Social Work and Criminal Justice at Lamar University helped prepare him for his professional future plans.
“They are always bringing in professional people to talk to you,” he said. “They also have volunteer days where you go to different agencies out in the community – one day it may be at Boys’ Haven, and the next, maybe a soup kitchen. It is a good feeling to be in the field doing volunteer work. It gives you an opportunity to give back to the community while you learn about your discipline. You get a chance to go to various places and see how the different social agencies work together for the benefit of the community. My department really helps prepare you for the field.”