For Immediate Release
Date: August 22, 2006
BLOOMSBURG— Joshua O’Brien, president of the Community Government Association at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, didn’t plan on joining the student government organization as a new freshman.
“It wasn’t that I picked CGA, as much as CGA picked me,” said O’Brien.
He attended the activities fair, like all freshman, and the students at the CGA table started talking to him about getting involved. “Before I knew it, I had given up information, filled out a paper and I was a member,” recalls O’Brien.
A graduate of Dauphin County Area Vocational Technical School and a native of Harrisburg, O’Brien was ready for the challenge of CGA after serving as president of the Vocational Industrial Club of America (VICA) in high school. The group involved all students in the school and often participated in competitions.
“VICA was a lot like a CGA for our school so, if anything, it helped prepare me for my involvement in CGA,” said O’Brien.
During his first year of CGA, O’Brien won the position of freshman class president and, last year, he served as parliamentarian during former CGA president Nathan Conroy’s administration. Now a junior majoring in political science and communication studies, O’Brien believes the time is right for a two-term CGA president to keep consistent leadership at the student government level when BU President Jessica Kozloff retires in December 2007.
Although he was pleased to be part of Honeysuckle Student Housing, a CGA project that constructed apartments near campus for more than 400 students, O’Brien said he has two different priorities for his term: encouraging more student involvement and improving the university police headquarters.
“There are a lot of commitments as CGA president, including board memberships and meetings, but I’m hoping to have help with some responsibilities so I can focus my time and effort on student involvement,” O’Brien said.
He explained that the CGA Senate generally opens each semester with full representation, but meeting attendance dwindles as weeks go by. He hopes to get students involved and keep them involved, perhaps with a system requiring every organization funded by CGA to have a representative on the Senate.
O’Brien would also like to see construction of a new university police station on a vacant lot CGA owns beside Elwell Residence Hall. “This isn’t a new idea,” he said. “I’m bringing it out of the ashes and dusting it off to get a better look at it.
“We could expand the police station and give greater service to students” by providing increased privacy for both victims and those accused of violations, he said. The police station, currently located on a one-way street, also would be more accessible for students while enabling officers to respond more quickly to emergencies.
CGA takes up a majority of his free time but before taking the reigns as president O’Brien was involved in the political science student organization and the College Republicans.
“Off-campus I’m still involved in campaigns,” O’Brien said. “Without politics there wouldn’t be a reason to breathe.”
Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 8,000 students and offers 58 bachelor’s, 16 master’s and one doctoral degree.