A Message to New Students from Joshua Eddinger-Lucero, SGA Executive President 2018-19

Being a part of the EDGE Residential College at Hughes Hall provided me with an invaluable support network, as well as greatly impacted how involved I would become on campus. Having a faculty member that lived in the residence hall was highly beneficial when it came to learning about campus, asking questions about classes, and for me, in particular, getting involved with the Bear Essentials Food Pantry on campus. My Resident Master in EDGE@Hughes was one of the co-founders of the on-campus food pantry. During the first day of my Freshman Year Seminar (FYS) course that he was teaching, Professor James mentioned a volunteer opportunity that was available to us – the Bear Essentials Food Pantry. I was looking for a way to get more involved on campus and thought this would be the perfect way to start – I was right. For two years I was volunteering weekly at the food pantry and had the opportunity to serve my campus community and get to know other students, faculty, and staff at UCA.

The positive interactions I had in EDGE@Hughes and volunteering for the Bear Essentials Food Pantry led me to get more involved in other campus organizations. Being involved in the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) allowed me to connect with other students and professional in the field of Family and Consumer Sciences, as well as occupy local, state, and national AAFCS Student Unit leadership roles. Furthermore, I became a President’s Leadership Fellow and was also elected to the Student Government Association (SGA). As I approach my senior year, I have the great pleasure of serving as the Executive President to the SGA and the National Chair for the AAFCS Student Unit.

Without EDGE@Hughes and the network I built through volunteering at the Bear Essentials Food Pantry I’m not sure how my UCA experience would have played out. I imagine that I would have still become involved on campus, but maybe not to the extent that I have. As I prepare for the next phase of my academic and professional life, I know that I will forever have a strong network of people to help and support me. The skills, resources, and abilities that I have been afforded as a result of being a part of EDGE@Hughes are invaluable and have led me on the path that I currently travel.