Georgia State and SGA wave ‘Goodbye’ to Terry Fye

Former Georgia State Alum and Student Government Association, Terry Fye, recounts his time in SGA. Photo courtesy of Terry Fye

“Do well, be great and remember it’s all about service, guidance and authentic student leadership,” Terry Fye, an alumnus of Student Government Association, said.

Fye served on four SGA administrations across three Georgia State campuses — Atlanta, Clarkston and Dunwoody. His accomplishments include helping build a Panther Wall of Fame at the Clarkston campus and contributing to the Flower Initiative across all Georgia State campuses. 

Attending Miller Grove High School in Lithonia, Georgia, Terry Jerome Fye Jr. was not involved in Miller Grove’s student council, nor did he aspire to join Georgia State’s SGA. 

After becoming the first Mr. Perimeter of the Georgia State homecoming court in the fall of 2016, Fye began to consider participating in the organization that now highlights his career at Georgia State.

“I became the first Mr. Perimeter of the Georgia State homecoming court and I was approached by the speaker of the Senate at that time, Lesly-Veve, asking me if I was interested in joining,” Fye said. “At first I wasn’t, but then I saw that this was an opportunity for me to really do some of the things I wanted to do as Mr. Perimeter with more of an official base.”

During his final administration in SGA, Fye simultaneously served as Atlanta speaker pro tempore, vice-chair of marketing for the election commission and the bylaws committee chair.

Fye served multiple roles in SGA, but his favorite role as a member of student government was as the Dunwoody campus’s speaker of the Senate.

“I will always have a soft spot as speaker of the Senate on Dunwoody because that was my first time really leading a team. I enjoyed the team and my [executive vice president] at the time,” Fye said. “Also, if I had to say a close second, it would be speaker pro tempore on the Atlanta campus. That’s kind of when a lot of my knowledge and inner workings kind of came together.”  

He joined SGA’s 87th administration as the senator of Government Affairs on the Dunwoody campus, jumpstarting his student government career.

From then on, Fye’s accomplishments accumulated over the course of three years and four student government administrations.

Panther Wall of Fame

“The biggest problem that a lot of Perimeter College SGAs have, and SGA has in general [is] … school spirit and school pride,” Fye said. “Something that I thought the Panther Wall would do is let students know Perimeter College and SGA cares about you.”

Fye and the organization wanted to honor students by putting their names on the wall while displaying their short biographies, artwork and accomplishments.

Georgia State’s Perimeter College SGA members wanted the project to be “student-led and student-appreciated.” The once unpainted wall is now painted blue with plans to add silver decorum that says “Panther Wall of Fame”.

The Flower Initiative 

“I don’t want to take the entire credit for this because this was actually something started by the wonderful, smart, intelligent women of SGA on the Clarkston campus,” Fye said.

The Flower Initiative is a push to bring accessible feminine hygiene products onto all Georgia State campuses.

“As a guy in the program, at first I’ll have to admit I was kind of weirded out because you know, it’s period stuff and as a male, I had to do a lot of homework with female anatomy and learning about it,” he said. “But then, I discovered so many issues that women go through when it comes down to access.”

Fye believes that this issue is “not just a woman problem.” His sister recently turned thirteen when he was approached with The Flower Initiative. Fye knew his sister needed his support and this encouraged him to extend support to the women at Georgia State.

“I remember hearing my sister groan for the first time in her room and me knowing that after that, from now on any time I hear her groan once a month, I’m going to have to go and get chocolate,” he said. “That’s the reason I wanted to join this program and help with The Flower Initiative.”

The SGA members were so close to having a pilot program before the beginning of quarantine and remote learning, however, all of the research and marketing materials transferred over to SGA’s 91st administration.

“I have hope for the next administration. My biggest advice to President Thomas, EVP Martinez and EVP Kyle, specifically, is to not allow [their] senates to lose faith,” Fye said. “Do not lose the momentum that you have because the biggest thing you are going to be dealing with this semester is lack of morale.” 

Fye advises SGA’s 91st  administration to stay connected and motivated through remote learning.  

“Just because you can not see the students whether or not you are at home or on campus, you have to be willing to make it happen and be willing to work harder than anyone else out there,” Fye said.

He campaigned to become the university-wide president, but realized his place is “better off being behind the scenes supporting and challenging the executive whenever it’s needed.” 

“I did pursue president once, and that was when I was going up against Franklin Patterson, who actually became president and signed the ballot,” he said. “Ultimately, as a Perimeter College student, it’s just very difficult to become president in such a large university.”

Looking back on the 2018 race, Fye is “glad” he didn’t win.

“I was not prepared at that time and being president, you have to spend a lot of your time working with upper administration,” he said. “You don’t have as much freedom to operate independently which is something I very much value.”

Outside of the Student Government Association

“I’ve always recognized that I was never a good student back in high school, and so I recognized in college I had strengths in only certain classes, but my strengths could be put better in skills,” Fye said.

Student Government Association was one of six extracurricular activities that Fye participated in. He worked to maintain his grades while also staying involved in the Atlanta community. 

Along with SGA, Fye occasionally worked as an administrative assistant at New Beginning CNA Training, a school for nursing assistants. He also participated in the Dunwoody Play Crafters. 

Later, he joined the Clarkston Drama Club while in SGA at the Clarkston campus. Going into his senior year, he was a New Student Orientation leader for Georgia State’s Perimeter College. He also volunteered his time to Hands On Atlanta, an organization that connects people with schools and nonprofits in need of volunteers.

In the future, Fye said his dream job would be to return to Georgia State working as an associate professor. He also wants to be a state senator or representative.

He credits Georgia State and SGA for the experience that he has received and he encourages every student to get involved on campus.

“You don’t need a title, a role or even an official stipend position to help your university or to make a change … I’ve enjoyed my time at Georgia state, it’s been a fun ride. Thank you all for the opportunity to be a student,” he said.