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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Vice president of student affairs candidate visits campus

Wade Feielin — THE BATTALION
VPSA candidate Daniel Pugh meets with students at a meet-and-greet Thursday. 
Wade Feielin — THE BATTALION VPSA candidate Daniel Pugh meets with students at a meet-and-greet Thursday. 

Daniel Pugh, a candidate for being Texas A&M’s next vice president of student affairs, held a meet-and-greet on campus Thursday evening to give students a chance to meet him and voice their concerns.
Pugh has held the position of vice provost for Student Affairs at the University of Arkansas for the past six years and said creating opportunity for students is one of the most important functions of the office.
“I think there are opportunities for the students and the university to do some additional partnering with regards to how we support one another, especially for the students who leave us,” Pugh said. “With a 92-percent retention rate, A&M is still losing 800 students a year out of that first year class which is way too much.”
Pugh said improving retention rates requires the university to look at how to further engage and embrace students as well as find at-risk students early.
“If we can collectively save 200 students, we’ve gone from 92 to 94-percent retention,” Pugh said. “We just created more alums, more A&M graduates. That’s the story behind it. The data points are one thing but the reality of it is we just connected someone with their dream.”
Communication senior Anne Marie Freeman asked Pugh how he would get in touch with underrepresented groups at A&M.
Pugh said he has done a lot of work with historically underrepresented groups in his time at Arkansas and touched on an initiative in the works to provide resources and support to African American males.
“It is directed for a population that doesn’t have any other support systems,” Pugh said. “Our freshman African-American male retention was 73% while the whole university was 84%. That’s unacceptable — we’ve got to invest in that population. So we’ve created this program we’ll be rolling out next year for them to work with mentors and possibly create live-in communities as a means of doing that.”
Overall, Pugh said the office of Vice President of Student Affairs is about giving students a voice.
“There’s a uniqueness here that others look in and try to emulate,” Pugh said. “At the end of the day, that’s what the role is about. It’s about representing the student voice and making sure that we’re bringing that to the forefront with the president, with the president’s executive or the cabinet, and dealing with the community to make sure the value of the student is clearly seen.”

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