The Conference on Student Government Associations has recognized Arkansas Tech University’s Jacob Loomis as its 2021 national outstanding student government leader of the year.
“Jacob’s leadership focuses on the importance of the improvement of necessary services or programs provided for students on their campus,” wrote Dr. Keegan Nichols, ATU vice president for student affairs, in a letter nominating Loomis for the award. “Every day he reaches out to his fellow students to ensure they have the right services. He has made connections with administrators so he can serve as a student advocate. Jacob is one of those students you know you can trust with any task and that it will be done in a thoughtful and detailed manner.”
Loomis served in ATU Student Government Association throughout his four years at Arkansas Tech, including in the role of SGA president during the spring 2021 semester. He graduated from ATU in May 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science.
“It is a testament to all of the hard work I’ve put into student government,” said Loomis when asked about the award. “But it’s also a testament to what Arkansas Tech has taught me as a leader and the opportunities I’ve been given to succeed. This school has given me every opportunity I’ve needed.”
Those opportunities began before Loomis’ first day of class at Arkansas Tech. He enrolled in the ATU Freshman Leadership Academy during the summer following his high school graduation. As a result, he was connected with people and programs that charted the course for his ATU journey.
“(Freshman Leadership Academy) is what really gave me the knowledge and the base to run for the freshman senator position (in Student Government Association),” said Loomis. “The encouragement from all the friends I made really helped push me to run for that position and be able to get it. Once you get involved, it’s a lot easier to keep going and work your way up.”
It was all a new experience for Loomis, who did not serve on student senate during his days at Bryant High School.
“I didn’t set out to do it, but I ended up re-inventing myself coming in to college,” said Loomis. “As I got involved, I ended up being a very active (SGA) member after just a few weeks. By the second semester I was a committee head. I was able to get so used to it so early on that I was able to speak up and say what I had on my mind. That’s what helped me move up as fast as I did.”
As a freshman senator, Loomis worked with Jayson Simmons, then the SGA vice president, to develop a new student affairs committee.
“We set up concern boxes all around campus, and I would distribute those concerns and suggestions to the relevant committee head or the relevant executive board member,” said Loomis. “The ones that didn’t fall under a category, I took care of those. That was my first really active position.”
Loomis went on to serve as a senator at large during his sophomore year. As a junior, he served as SGA secretary of student development and took a leadership role on the organization’s recycling committee.
“I would say that was my favorite committee assignment,” said Loomis. “We did a lot and met with a lot of people to try to get more recycling bins on campus so we could become more sustainable as a campus. It was a challenging task. You have to be persistent and keep pushing through. You can’t lose hope for what you want to do.”
After serving as SGA vice president during the fall 2020 semester, Loomis was elevated to president for the final semester of his ATU experience during spring 2021.
He said maintaining the effectiveness and relevance of ATU SGA during the COVID-19 pandemic is among the most memorable achievements of his time in student government.
Before the arrival of COVID-19, Loomis advocated for an increase to the student fee supporting the ATU Health and Wellness Center, a resource that has taken on a leadership role during the pandemic by providing the ATU community with COVID-19 education, testing and vaccines.
“My leadership style is service oriented,” said Loomis. “It’s a hands-on style and it’s a lot of work, but it’s also more genuine. Other students can see that you are putting in the work and that you are working hard to serve them. SGA has helped me analyze and be self-aware of how my actions affect others, which allows me to reflect and see how I can do better.”