[Ntso] Open Letter from the President.

John & Frances Fennessy roughneckbooks at hotmail.com
Wed May 3 14:14:28 CDT 2006

Good morning to all,

  	I would like to take a moment and thank everybody who took the time to 
vote; participation by an organization’s membership is what keeps it healthy 
and viable. This is very important as right now there are some very large 
questions facing the non-traditional students at Sam Houston State.
     	Over the last many months, there appears to have been a swing in the 
thinking of the administration pertaining to non-traditional students. Bear 
Kitten Academy has been closed, family housing has been discontinued, and 
last year the funding for our own organization was pulled in the middle of 
the year. How then do we get the message to the administration that we will 
not be delegated to the back shelf? By being active.
  	This is the pledge I make to you as your new president: I will explore 
every avenue to keep non-traditional students and their needs prominent in 
the administration’s thought process. But, I will also need your help. An 
organization is simply a faceless name without participation by its 
membership. I am the first to understand the complexities of your time 
constraints. We are all in the same boat; time is a commodity that there is 
never enough of. That having been said, I think that during the course of 
the coming academic year we all might find a little for our fellow students.
	To this end, I have begun the process of finding some of the necessities 
for the organization. On Tuesday, my wife (former NTSO President and 
Co-Founder) and I met with the incoming SGA president (who himself qualifies 
as a non-traditional by virtue of leaving for military service before 
returning to college) and found out several avenues for restoring the 
funding to NTSO. We were also very pleased to learn that there are no less 
than 3 (and very soon possibly more) non-traditional students on the student 
senate. Our own in coming Vice-President Ava Battle is among them. We were 
pleasantly surprised to learn that the incoming leadership is very excited 
about the possibility of closer ties with NTSO and believes quite strongly 
that non-traditional students cannot and should not be overlooked by the 
administration. When I asked what he needed from us his answer was very to 
the point: Participation. There are currently many senate positions that did 
not get filled during the recent elections; he would like to see some of 
those filled with NTSO members.
	We all have concerns as to the direction of the university for the future. 
This is the best way to ensure the viability of the non-traditional student 
on campus. As with any business, working within the system is how priorities 
are set, goals are met, and the business (or in this case organization) 
continues to grow and prosper. Currently we are on the outside looking in; 
we now have the opportunity to move inside and affect change from the center 
itself. This is not only for the future non-traditional students to come. 
How many of us could gain valuable knowledge by gaining experience working 
within the system? Chairing or being members of committees, learning the 
process of writing legislation and working closely with others to attain a 
projects goals are all aspects of the real world that when we leave here 
will stand us in good stead and provide a leg up in our future careers. In 
this instance, I think you will find the “time” that you find to participate 
could very well be “time well spent.”
	NTSO has always been and will continue to be an organization for fellowship 
of its members. We have unique needs and wants that sometimes don’t fit into 
the picture of what a university is. Changing that perception is not going 
to happen overnight, but we must begin somewhere. I, for one, am tired of 
standing outside looking in; I ask you to join me in taking NTSO to a new 
level of participation and commitment that can have no other effect than to 
bring the positives of having a viable non-traditional student base to the 
administration’s attention. This is how we effect the changes that we so 
dearly want and need.

John Fennessy
President NTSO
STDJRF14 at shsu.edu

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