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Wednesday, Sep 22, 2021

SGA discusses new initiative to grow international student population on campus

Two speakers from the Mercer Atlanta campus attended the Student Government Association (SGA) meeting Oct. 22 to talk about a new initiative to bring international students to Mercer in the coming years.

The two speakers, Provost of the Atlanta campus Scott Davis and Senior Vice President of the Atlanta campus Kellie Appel, explained that Mercer is pairing with a company called Shorelight to meet their goals in raising international student numbers.

Shorelight is an organization that works with schools such as Auburn University and now Mercer to be what Davis called “mediators,” connecting the different schools with students who are looking to attend college overseas, according to Davis.

“It is hard for Mercer to reach out and make the connections needed to bring international students to campus, which is why we have enlisted Shorelight,” Davis said.

Davis said Shorelight can help Mercer draw in higher numbers of international students “since the geopolitical climate these days makes it so difficult, and you have to build a rapport with these students who are looking to go to schools overseas.”

Appel said that Shorelight does more than just recruit students.

“They actually add staffing and resources to really provide support systems for these students while they are here,” she said.

“This is part of a seven-part strategic growth plan over ten years, and the one part that we really want to focus on is these international students,” said Dean of Students Doug Pearson, who attends SGA meetings as the faculty advisor. “Right now, Mercer has a little less than 3 percent international student population, and we are looking to grow that to anywhere from 7 to 10 percent.”

SGA also approved five Bear Grants, including one for the new campus organization Mercer Film Society.

The Mercer Film Society asked for $870 to screen three films in the upcoming semester.

Junior Senator Chase Peplin raised questions about “paying for all three licensing fees up front with no trial or test runs.”

He said he was concerned because of the Film Society’s new presence on campus.

“We are charged as senators to look at new clubs and new organizations for funding with the strictest scrutiny possible. That is what we are charged with, and quite frankly, I don’t think I can justify this when we have no idea how it will turn out,” he said.

Some senators, such as Sophomore Class President Jadon Murad, believed that this was “a great opportunity for us to further education on Mercer’s campus.”

Murad’s thoughts were echoed by Sen. Genesis Cooper.

“We are paying for students to be educated, and that is the main thing we have to take into account,” she said.

Despite a long discussion, the Film Society was awarded the full amount.

SGA meets on Mondays at 6:30 p.m. in the Connell Student Center, and all meetings are open to the public.


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