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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

SGA President Arjay Quizon thinks big

Nothing about UNC Pembroke’s Student Government Association (SGA) President Arjay Quizon fits the mold.

In 2009, he became the first international student to become SGA president. He literally walked off a plane from the Philippines to enroll at UNCP.

In 2010, Quizon became the only two-term president in SGA history. In his first term in office, he expertly played an important role in one of the most critical years in University history with the selection of a new chancellor.

Arjay addresses Spring Commencement

Arjay addresses Spring Commencement

Black Line

The countless hours reading resumes with the Chancellor Search Committee hurt his grade point average, but only a little, Quizon said.

“I missed a bunch of classes,” said the chemistry major. “It was my own fault though; I got lazy.”

If not in the classroom, Quizon was learning a lot.

“I learned a lot last year,” he said. “Students complain a lot about school, but I got to see how this University works, from the inside.

“It works pretty well,” he said.

Quizon’s minor is in business administration, and he has an idea about working in higher education after graduation.

“I would like to go into higher education administration in the student affairs area,” he said. “I would like to work here.”

The second-term SGA president has another year in office and more work to do before his graduation in 2011. But his legacy is already secure.

“I have a good team, and I’m pretty optimistic,” Quizon said. “We recruited freshmen and sophomores to serve in the senate last year, and it’s paid off with only two new officers out of 14 this year.”

Arjay, center, listens with the other members of the Chancellor’s search committee and trustees as new Chancellor Kyle Carter is announced in Durham, N.C. On the far right are Dr. Carter’s wife, Sarah, and daughter, Heather.

Arjay, center, listens with the other members of the Chancellor’s search committee and trustees as new Chancellor Kyle Carter is announced in Durham, N.C.  On the far right are Dr. Carter’s wife, Sarah, and daughter, Heather.

Black Line

Last year, Quizon rewrote the constitution, which he said needed updating.

“On a trip to Miami, I wrote the constitution,” he said. “We wanted to make sure that when we’re gone, things would continue to go well.

“That’s our legacy,” he said. “A strong SGA.”

Other than continuing to build the SGA, Quizon and his team have other goals, big ones.

“Our major initiative is to raise the GPA campus-wide by point three points (0.3),” he said. “If we do that, we’ll all take a day off to celebrate.”

That goal would mean that the entire student body’s GPA would rise from C+ to B­-.

“It would require advertising and effective communication,” Quizon said. “It may take more than a year, but if students want the day off, they will work for it.

“It’s a lofty goal, but you have to think big to be big,” he said.

Quizon exudes maturity beyond his years whether he’s talking about small goals or extraordinary things. He also has a deft sense of humor.

“I’ve always looked older than my years; even when I was 14, I was mistaken for much older,” he said. “I do joke a lot, and I socialize a lot.”

It was not always the case for an 18-year old in a new country.

“I felt different here for a year,” Quizon said. “I had no friends until I came to UNCP; here it is easy to make friends, and the SGA helped me adjust.

“I was quiet until my sophomore year; now I’m outspoken,” he said. “When I walk across campus, I have to go the back way or I’ll never get there for stopping to talk.”

If he was a mold breaker in his first term, Arjay Quizon sounds more and more like an SGA president.

“It’s turned out well,” he said of his first year.

When asked recently to forward two names to participate in the nationwide search for UNCP’s next chief academic officer, one of those names was his own.

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