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The Blue & Gray Press | June 24, 2017

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Voter Info Night Educates Students About SGA Candidates and Issues

By HEATHER BRADY and KAT SAUNDERS

At Voter Info Night on Monday, the candidates for Student Government Association president presented their views about the role of SGA via an unlikely topic: a student’s request for a tetherball court.

The three candidates, Ashley Davis, Sam Miller and Chris Sions, all used the topic to bring humor to their speeches on what they believe they can contribute as president.

They used it to convey what SGA is able to do for students. Davis emphasized that she would not promise what she could not deliver, especially in light of the economic crisis, but that she would fight for what students wanted, including a tetherball court.

Miller responded to this comment with a remark about putting one up herself if she had to. Sions admitted that he had not reflected much on the tetherball issue, but followed the remark with a slew of student government issues that he was familiar with, as well as his perspective on them.

These candidates were among the 21 nominees for SGA positions that spoke on Monday night. The speeches were limited to three minutes for each candidate, and all were given the chance to speak, whether they were running opposed or unopposed.

“The event is about coming together and being transparent,” Jon Shields, co-chair of the Election Rules and Procedures Committee of the Student Senate, said. “It helps the candidates and it helps the students.”

While five students were unable to attend, two of the students, both studying abroad, e-mailed their speeches to be read by the event organizers.

The event was not held last year due to a lack of competition amongst candidates, but was reinstated this year because of the amount of nominees.

“We had a lot of contested positions this year,” Shields said.
Although six positions were uncontested this year, the five most prominent positions, including SGA president, SGA vice-president, JRB president, JRB vice-president and Honor Council president, all have at least two candidates campaigning for each spot.

The biggest themes of the night’s speeches were transparency of the actions of student government, as well as communication between student government, students, and the community.

The event, which was not intended as a debate, but instead as an opportunity to inform students of the candidates’ perspectives, drew a crowd of about 50 students.

“I’m really happy with the turnout,” Christina Giaimo, co-chair of the ERP, said.

Junior Hunter Ray attended the event to support a friend that was running, but also to make a more informed decision before election day.

“There’s a good selection this year,” Ray said. “It’s definitely more exciting. You get to see passion in person.”

Afterwards, candidates stayed for an informal “meet and greet” so that students could approach them in person.

“I thought the ERP ran a great event,” Molly Rose, a junior, said.
“There were a few candidates I learned more about,” Ray said, “but I haven’t made a decision yet.”

Last year, several major positions, including SGA President, were uncontested. This year, students are excited about the high number of students running.

“It gives you more variety,” Ray said. “People are actually invested in the school. You’re bound to find a candidate that speaks to you.”
Elections will be held via e-mail until March 26 at 5 p.m.

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