MTSU’s new Student Government Association president brings a wealth of experience to her position, but she didn’t always think that would be possible.
Senior Delanie McDonald, like her brothers Collin and Connor, was homeschooled in Carthage, Tennessee, by their mother, a former public schoolteacher. While their education was superb enough to earn for all three McDonald siblings MTSU’s top scholarship, the Buchanan Fellowship, it didn’t include involvement in the kind of organizations found in most high schools.
“Coming into college, I didn’t think there would be leadership opportunities available to me because, I thought, ‘I don’t have that experience. I’ve never done that before,’” McDonald said.
Her mother made sure her homeschool education was highly structured with instruction in specific subjects at specific times and nighttime homework. Even so, the transition to college classroom instruction at MTSU was a bit of a culture shock.
“Once I got through that first semester, I was good to go,” said McDonald. “I just had to get used to it.”
Her leadership experience at MTSU includes the Freshman Council, the SGA Senate and executive vice president. After discussions with Danny Kelley, assistant vice president for student affairs, and Deb Sells, vice president of student affairs and vice provost for enrollment and academic services, McDonald found the confidence to run for SGA president.
McDonald would like to use her new position to convince students that SGA hears their concerns and can be a force for change.
“I would love this year to spend time as executive board members and as senators and freshman councilors, which is over 100 people, to just, you know, teach more students about student government,” McDonald said.
She said many students are unaware of the resources the organization has available. For example, student government can provide student groups with up to $5,000 to stage events if they engage SGA as a partner.
Other assets McDonald wants to emphasize are the accessibility and openness of university administrators in dealing with SGA representatives.
“Those students are going to sit on committees with the most powerful people in this university,” McDonald said. “They have the opportunity to voice their opinion about the changes they want to see on campus and what the students around them are saying.”
McDonald, a public relations major, remains close to her family. Her mother, Lorrie, and father, David, a retired dentist, still live in Carthage. Brother Connor is in law school at Belmont University in Nashville.
Oldest brother Collin McDonald captured headlines in 2016 when he piloted his Maule MX-7-160 airplane from Long Island, New York, to Long Beach, California, retracing the flight path of aviation pioneer Cal Rodgers. Today he works in construction technology and teaches flying in Lebanon, Tennessee. Both brothers are MTSU alumni.
Delanie McDonald lives off-campus with her two-year-old Yorkie, Lucy, who makes frequent trips to campus with her. McDonald’s only regret is that she can’t take Lucy to tailgate parties because she finds the noise to be a bit unnerving.
McDonald’s office is in Room 306 of the Student Union. She can be contacted at 615-904-8265 or email@example.com.
— Gina Logue (Gina.Logue@mtsu.edu)