VERMILLION, SD-- Junior political science major Josh Sorbe became president of the Student Government Association on March 20.
Running with senior Madison Green as vice president, the ticket won the February 28 election with 63.5 percent of the more than 1,500 student votes cast, the highest turnout in recent history.
“In the hyper-polarized political climate we live in today, I wanted to ensure that students of all backgrounds are well represented when policy decisions are made at the Regental level,” Sorbe said.
“With a dozen and a half bills aimed at higher education introduced in the South Dakota Legislature this year, the SGA president has an important role in this policymaking, representing the voice of the students of the state’s flagship university.”
A native of Brookings, South Dakota, Sorbe ran on a platform of advocacy, advancement and achievement. His administration already has implemented several initiatives, including hiring a student media director to live-stream SGA meetings and to broadcast them live on local and social media; and inviting the area’s representatives in the state legislature to meet with USD students prior to the beginning of the legislative session.
Sorbe’s agenda as SGA president reflects his main interests in political science: education, public health and government accountability/ethics.
In addition to his SGA duties, Sorbe is a member of USD’s men’s swimming & diving team and earned All-Summit League honors as part of the 800 free relay team that placed second at the league championships and broke the school record. In 2017-18, Sorbe was one of the 10 student-athletes that earned Academic All-Summit League honors. He also has a second major in economics.
“When I tossed around the idea of running for SGA president, I received unwavering support from my coaches, mentors, professors, and most importantly, my family and friends,” Sorbe said. “The support system I have is what makes the balance of demands possible--and coffee.”
Sorbe said that his experience as a student-athlete helps him as a campus leader.
“My young age and involvement in athletics, in my opinion, only diversifies my perspective of the university and strengthens my ability to lead as SGA president," he said.
In his two years at USD, Sorbe has received two academic scholarships from the Farber Funds. The Funds also have subsidized two internships.
In the summer of 2017, Sorbe interned for Ryan O’Connor, deputy county manager for Ramsey County’s (Minnesota) Health and Wellness Services Team. O’Connor is a 2006 graduate of USD’s Department of Political Science.
Sorbe’s duties in Ramsey County included working with community stakeholders on juvenile detention alternatives and public health initiatives. Sorbe presented his findings and recommendations to county officials.
During the summer of 2018, Sorbe serves as the legislative affairs intern in the D.C. office of U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, who represents Minnesota’s first district in the nation’s capital and is a candidate in the 2018 gubernatorial race. Sorbe’s responsibilities include writing legislative memos, communication with Rep. Walz’s constituents, and developing public relations strategies.
Sorbe said that the Farber Funds are part of what attracted him to the Department of Political Science and USD.
“The Farber Fund helps to offset the financial burden of government internships and ensure that a student’s financial status does not determine their ability to succeed,” he said.
“I recognized the alumni support, the dedicated faculty, and the community that is created with the Department of Political Science,” he continued. “And I knew I wanted to be part of that.”