When Nick Wellkamp says he goes to bed between 1 and 3 a.m. after a typical day, it is easy to assume he is quite like the rest of us college students. But then when he says he gets up the following morning between 7 and 8 and estimates that he attends between ten and twenty meetings a week (“although,” he said, “that may increase here soon as the semester ramps up.”) it is apparent that this undergraduate seems to have a lot more on his plate than the average collegiate. He is SGA’s undergraduate student body president, making his one of the most influential voices on campus.
Elected president last spring in a race that led to a run-off in which he prevailed by over 500 votes, Nick said his duty as president is, first and foremost, to be “the spokesman for the student body in all student relations and affairs with the Tech administration,” meaning that he is accessible and accountable to over 12,000 undergraduate students.
Lest it is forgotten, he is also the chief executive of SGA, responsible for all activities of the executive branch. When he was asked to name some responsibilities included in his position, Nick said he meets “with students, staff, faculty, and administrators about a variety of different issues. Some meetings are SGA meetings, while many address specific campus-wide issues or events, such as recycling, fan behavior or the GT Night at Six Flags.”
Nick even meets with some famous faces around campus, such as the Dean of Students, John Stein, who also serves as the advisor for SGA; Dr. William Schafer, the Vice President of Student Affairs; and even our interim president, Dr. Schuster. On his executive board is even his competitor in the election run-off, Brian Tyson, who serves as the Director of Communications, a public relations post which Nick vowed in his presidential platform to create.
Nick is a fourth year double-major in IE and PUBP. Currently, he is taking twelve credit hours—“so that I have as much time as possible to devote to SGA”—two of which are 3000-level IE courses, one a 4000-level economics course and the other history.
When he isn’t in class or doing upper-level course homework, Nick said he and this year’s SGA are in the process of fulfilling his campaign promises. He is trying to make campus more sustainable during his presidency by pushing for “single-stream recycling” and implementing “Game Day recycling.” He plans to address the sports ticketing issues by furnishing an online system “to replace Ticket Return for basketball this year.”
Wellkamp will push for an online football ticket system as well: he is “working on an updated website design that will be up within the next few weeks.” Improvement of on-campus parking and transportation are also on the agenda for Wellkamp: he wants “a fairer fine structure” and is lobbying “for the installation of digital bus tracking screens at all stops.” Additionally, he would like to see physical activity alternatives to the current health class requirement. Nick also said there are plans for an SGA Awareness Week in September.
There is more to SGA than the oft-consulted Course Critique tool offered on their website. Using student activities fees paid for SGA’s services to the student body, SGA has created freShGA, a freshman leadership organization, SGA’s online Book Trade and Xchange services, which allow students to buy books, offer carpool rides and swap housing with other Tech students and Georgia Tech Night at Six Flags, this year on Sept. 28 which offers discounted tickets to ride Goliath (or any other ride) with only other Tech students.
For students who desire to be more involved on campus, Nick said, “joining a committee is the best way to get involved. We have twelve excellent standing committees that address campus issues.” Some of those committees include Cultural Affairs, Information Technology and Athletic and Recreational Services.
Nick said that when he was coming in as a freshman, his goals were “to meet people, make new friends, make good grades and find ways to get involved, make a difference and have fun.” Chatting about what he does in the little free time that he has, Nick said, “I enjoy reading, sleeping, working out, going out to eat, watching movies and hanging out with friends.”
He even lives in a fraternity house on campus. Yes, it may seem on the surface that Nick Wellkamp is a regular, fun-loving, disciplined and hard working Tech student; however, no other regular, fun-loving, disciplined Tech student wields the power to exchange HPS 1040 for “Ultimate Frisbee 1101.”
For information about how to contact Nick Wellkamp or how to become involved with SGA, visit www.sga.gatech.edu.