The two parties running for next year’s SGA executive board started talking with students on campus this week before the voting process begins next week.
Rachel Lawler, junior exercise science major, current SGA parliamentarian and president for the SRYOU party, said the group aims to represent students and that the party is running on three main pillars, including inclusiveness, reliability and visibility to students.
“We stand for being visible to students and going to students rather than students coming to us,” Lawler said. “From being on SGA I’ve noticed that you don’t know student concerns unless you go to them.”
Lawler said one example was when she went to a social justice committee to represent SGA, and she noticed a lack of communication between the two groups.
“I was unaware of why SGA doesn’t go to more of the multicultural events and why representatives aren’t constantly going to their meetings, so it’s just a lack of communication that I as president would like to improve,” Lawler said.
Lawler said that she also wants to make sure communication with the administration is there and to keep that communication going with SRU’s next president in the future. Lawler wants to improve communication with the faculty union APSCUF as well.
Lawler said that even though she is an exercise science major and it may not show, she is passionate about government, having been active in student government since high school.
“I was in leadership roles and this campus just gives you so many opportunities to do so many great things and just fro year after year I’ve grown as a person,” Lawler said. “I think it would be a great opportunity not only just for myself but I know that I have a lot of support behind me as well and a lot of people have guided me to become the leader I am that I would just love to represent the students.”
Lawler said a big thing the SRYOU party strives to do is being more approachable to students as well.
“There have been so many conversations about SGA being a cult and people are afraid to talk to us and people are intimidated,” Lawler said. “I kind of understand that, so keeping an open environment and communicating with the other minority groups as to why they feel uncomfortable and how we can change that and ensure that we are going to the students. In order to make something change you have to kind of pull it out of students.”
The rest of the candidates on the SRYOU ticket are Riley Keffer, VP of finance, Scott Vogelgesang, VP of student and academic affairs, Lexi Foster, VP of internal affairs and Dallas Kline, VP of campus outreach.
The Your VOICE party, or Vocalizing and Obtaining Inclusion for Campus Equity, is the other ticket which will be in the running for the SGA executive board positions this semester. Your VOICE bases their campaign on five pillars. These pillars consist of safety, sustainability, accessibility, organizational development and building relationships.
The candidates are Malika Fields, SGA president candidate, Tabitha Giacalone, VP of finance, Chadwick Burdick, VP of student and academic affairs, Erin O’Connor, VP of internal affairs candidate and Tori Hill, VP of campus outreach.
Fields mentioned that the major goal this party looks to accomplish is the input and suggestion of students on campus. The goal is to get students who may not be as involved on campus a chance to help build the campus, and get a different perspective from these students, Fields said. The students on this campus have a variety of profiles, and their opinion matters to us, Fields said.
“We want to actively seek out student suggestions and concerns, and see what students want,” Fields said. “We want to see what will actually impact students. I want to be a little more aggressive about it and see what students who may not be student leaders, or just simply go to class and aren’t in any clubs think.”
Fields said how this party has candidates who might not have necessarily known each other but bring different personalities and ideas to the ticket. Fields discussed how they are different from the SRYOU party, and what each person can bring to the table.
“What makes us different is that we are seeking inclusion, and we specifically chose each other based off of that,” Fields said. “We were all maybe acquaintances or knew of each other before this process, and we used this process to really match all of our ideals and goals. We wanted to make one super ideal. I think that we all shine a light on each other’s positive aspects, and bring these things to the table.”
Fields said how several campaign events will be held throughout this time to talk with students and hear their ideas and views on topics.
“These events will be used to provide some food, games and get to know students on a personal level,” Fields said. “We want to get students actively involved and hear their questions and concerns they might have. On Monday we will be having a pep rally in the quad, with the WSRU Radio Station playing some music. We’re not really hung up on telling people you have to vote for me, it’s just a fun time to distribute information. On the day of the elections, we will be at Yumberries interacting with students there as well.”
Fields mentioned that the main reason the candidates are running is to help the students on this campus in a positive way. Fields said that it’s not just change that the party hopes to see, but improvements in campus unity and communication with SGA.
“We are all running and the points that we came up with were from the heart and actual concerns of students around us,” Fields said. “We really wanted to push that it’s not just us that wants this change, but more conversations being started and take it to another level. We want to make it a more cohesive unit.”
The Your VOICE candidates outside of SGA are involved with other organizations and clubs across the campus. Fields said how this can help the party reach more students across different aspects of campus.
“We wrote it all down and we roughly comprise of more than 20 organizations,” Fields said. “So, even if we might not directly know someone we know somebody who knows that person. I feel like that is gonna help us to expand with our organizations.”
Fields said the entire ticket is excited for this process even with the extra stress it may bring to the candidates.
“We are so excited for this,” Fields said. “It’s so funny because people will ask me how’s campaigning going and I’ll say I’m stressed, but we’re enjoying every moment of it. We’re all enjoying getting to know each other and our values, and what we want to see happen with SGA and the university as a whole.”
The SRSGA debate will be held Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. in Vincent Science Center 115, and both parties will be campaigning up until elections being next Wednesday.