After seven long months of being in office, the Student Body President and Vice President have finally had their inauguration. 

Stone Cox and Hannah Barrios, elected in March, have been hard at work to help provide a safe and inclusive environment for the Fall 2020 semester. On Sept. 24, they were officially inaugurated into their positions. Because of COVID regulations, the ceremony could not be held until now.

The pair took the opportunity to reiterate the platform they ran on, which is to extend the boundaries of student government to reach a much wider range of students at LSU.

“Our campaign name was REACH,” Cox said. “Our goal was to empower each student. So, we wanted to make sure that every student felt like they had a place in student government and they felt represented.”

Now that COVID guidelines are starting to decline, Cox and Barrios are able to begin to focus on things they hoped to accomplish months ago.

“We work with administration; we work with students to see how we can improve the way classes are run, how we’re gonna do things on campus, how events are held, how we can make connections still being apart,” Barrios said. “We were working on that all the time; we were always thinking about how we can make things better.”

The year 2020 has brought a series of new challenges, such as COVID-19, social injustice in America, and natural disasters such as hurricanes Marco and Laura — which have all directly impacted LSU students.

“This year is unlike any other that our school, our students, or our world has had to face,” said Barrios. “COVID has changed every aspect of the way we live our lives, and the injustices and racism that our black community faces every day are more prevalent to us than ever before.”

Cox and Barrios plan to use their positions to turn discussions into action.

“It’s easy to talk about what you want to happen — to be able to say, ‘This is what we want; this is what we envision.’ — but implementation and action is difficult,” said Cox. “Ideals are phenomenal. That’s what we should strive for, but implementation and doing those ideals and carrying those out and doing the day to day and walking the walk that you intend on doing is hard.”

Even though they have already been in office for the majority of their term, the inauguration was important to Cox and Barrios because it legitimized the work they’ve been doing. It also highlighted how important student government is to LSU.

“Student government is important because it’s the voice that the administrators turn to to hear how students are feeling,” said Cox.