Friends, family and faculty gathered under the afternoon shadow of the Lyceum for Associated Student Body’s 100th transition of power.
ASB executive officers of the 2016-2017 year relinquished their posts to their newly elected successors.
Michael Howell, 2016-2017 vice president, led the 100th ASB Senate in the oath of office.
With a smile and a handshake, the executive officers passed the torch to their successors. As the sun set on his presidency, 2016-2017 President Austin Powell spoke of Ole Miss as an unbreakable unity.
“In short,” Powell said. “Ole Miss is all of us.”
New ASB President Dion Kevin said he will join Powell in continuing initiatives like Everybody’s Formal that promote student involvement and inclusivity.
Kevin said he is looking into new programs to promote community service on campus. One possibility is a program designed to provide transportation to volunteering opportunities for students on campus.
“ASB can’t be everybody,” Kevin said. “I want to facilitate engagement in other areas, as well.”
Powell and Kevin also announced the incoming and outgoing administrations are collaborating in a $300,000 fundraising initiative for the ASB office suite in the new Student Union.
The name of every donor, students and alumni alike, will be etched onto a plaque to be displayed in the new Union. Powell said this is the very first naming opportunity for students. $100,000 from the initiative will be split between the Student Leadership Endowment, which supports all student organizations and the ASB Student Endowment.
Powell said he hopes the funds raised will wean ASB off of the university’s budget and allow it to thrive independently.
To donate, students may contact any executive officers from the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 academic years.
Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Brandi Hephner Labanc opened the ceremony by challenging the outgoing administration to reflect upon and appreciate its journey.
“I especially hope you’ve learned from the failures,” she said. “Those are the greatest opportunities for growth and leadership development.”
She said the campus has high expectations for ASB in its centennial year, encouraging the incoming leadership to be respectable, responsible and responsive Rebels.
Above all, she said, “Leave this campus a better place than you found it.”
“I charge you now,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said to the new executive officers. “With directing your focus and energy toward working with and leading the student community and to make this great university the best that it can be.”
Vitter said the ASB will continue to be a profoundly important institution in shaping the university’s future.
“You and your classmates represent the rising generation of informed citizens and scholars. You are the leaders among leaders,” Vitter said.