Photo and Story by Caleb Revill / Contributing Writer
With the MTSU Student Government Association spring elections right around the corner, candidates for officer positions participated in a forum where they were allotted time to convey their qualifications and goals to a room of constituents on Wednesday.
SGA is MTSU’s student-run legislative institution. SGA representatives are voted on by students to represent important needs of the student body.
Two candidates each sat at a table in front of the audience and answered questions within a brief period of time. Vice President for Student Affairs Debra Sells presented the questions from a list compiled by SGA members to the candidates.
All those in attendance were encouraged to ask questions at the end of each debate.
Vice President of Campus Relations
The first two candidates to speak were Emily Webb and Timothy Bassett. Both are running for Vice President of Campus Relations. This position’s responsibilities include both the planning of events and the scheduling of elections.
Both candidates were asked to describe an event that they had planned.
Bassett spoke about an event that he organized with little notice and was able to make successful while Webb spoke about her experience as Vice President of Marketing organizing student appreciation week.
“Being on the executive board, I learned how to plan,” Webb said.
Both candidates were later asked about some of their goals pertaining to the position. Bassett noted the amount of foreign exchange students attending MTSU and suggested creating a “multicultural day” to celebrate diversity by having students prepare food that represents their culture.
Webb spoke about the problem of getting students more involved with SGA. She suggested that election stations could be prepared in the Student Union Building so that students could vote for SGA representatives in person.
Vice President of Marketing
The next two candidates to speak were Hermon Phuntling and Simone LeClaire. They are running for Vice President of Marketing.
The candidates were asked about their experience with social media.
LeClaire said that she primarily uses Facebook to share and promote events that are occurring on campus. She also said that she was interested in incorporating Facebook Live for SGA events. As the Freshman Council Vice President, Phuntling explained that he handled the social media for his current position.
LeClaire and Phuntling were asked how they planned on marketing SGA.
“Reaching out to students and showing them what we have to offer on campus,” Phuntling said. He also mentioned that he has graphic design experience and would utilize those skills for the position.
“I want to draw more attention to applications for SGA,” LeClaire said. She continued to say that many students do not know that there are positions available in SGA.
Executive Vice President and Speaker of the Senate
April Carroll and Monica Haun were the next candidates to speak. They are running for Executive Vice President and Speaker of the Senate.
Each candidate was asked how they would communicate with a large and diverse senate.
Carroll stated that she was the Public Relations Committee Chairman in spring of 2016, and she learned how to communicate effectively with both traditional and nontraditional students.
“I like to help senators as individuals and to help them grow individually,” Carroll said.
Haun said that she worked for MTSU’s outdoor recreational program where she was able to meet and work with many diverse people during outdoor trips. Creating an environmentally friendly MTSU campus by adding more paper recycling bins was one of Haun’s goals.
Both candidates agreed that the SGA Freshman Council needed to be reorganized. Haun wanted to focus on a weekly curriculum for the Freshman Council, along with adding legislative goals for freshmen, while Carroll wanted to bring back the Freshman Council retreat, where team building exercises could be conducted. Carroll also wanted to implement a mentor program for the Freshman Council.
Lastly, SGA presidential candidates Peyton Tracey and Courtney Brandon spoke.
Both candidates were asked about how they would be involved with students on campus.
“You must be a servant first, the hands and the feet of the organization, not just the face. You have to lead by example,” Tracey said.
Brandon said that it took passion and being a positive role model for the students. She also wanted to help teach students how to make changes at MTSU by voting.
“If we’re not listening to the students, then we’re not doing our job,” Brandon said.
“I think that SGA has the unique opportunity to make sure that students get more involved,” Tracey said.
Spring voting takes place from April 10 to April 13, and all students are encouraged to vote online. You can vote here, once the voting period begins.
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