Who will represent the Rams? Interviews with the SGA presidential candidates

Ben Carrington

In your own words, what is the role of the SGA president?

Firstly, you act as the primary advocate of the student body. Secondly, you are here to look over the Student Activities Trust Fund and make sure that is properly allocated and always looking out for the benefit of our students – making sure that clubs and organizations are also getting the resources that they need and that they’re fully supported by SGA. Also, acting as the chief liaison to the administration, and to the Department of Higher Ed. – like when we do the State House day.

Why do you believe you would be a good SGA president? What made you decide to run for this position?

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time now. I’ve been on SGA for – I believe next year will be my third year. I started off as a sophomore – a senator-at-large – and this year, I got the pleasure of serving as parliamentarian, which is an appointed position in which I worked with Robert’s Rules. I think in the past year I’ve been here, I’ve really expanded outside of my role. … I’m going to be holding a diversity and dialogues dinner session next Wednesday. Something I’m really trying to keep cognizant on this campus is keeping these dialogues going about being an inclusive campus and acknowledging diversity, acknowledging the problems we do have, and getting rid of the stigma of brushing it under the carpet by having these discussions and tackling them head on.

What would your main critique be of the current SGA president and what would you do differently?

I have a lot of respect for Kyle. I’ve worked with him for the past two years now and he’s been a really big mentor for me, as he held my position last year and I’m hopefully going for his position this year. One thing I do want to change is I feel that the whole student body isn’t engaged with student government, or they’re not aware of what’s going on in SGA. I also feel that as an organization, internally, there is a bit of a conflict between eBoard and senate and there’s a bit of a disconnect in terms of how we operate. So, next year, something I really want to do is getting on campus and talking with all of our students because these are the people we serve, first and foremost.

Do you believe SGA is representative of FSU’s student body?

I think SGA is representative. I think this year, we’ve definitely worked hard on recruiting, so we’ve gotten different demographics of students on campus that have been hard to reach in the past few years. For example, we pride ourselves on having more commuters involved in senate positions. We’ve also had some veterans serve – that’s another demographic that we don’t see typically getting involved on campus. So, I think it has become more representative as a body in terms of the people we’re serving, but I still think we can do more to engage our students.

What would your main priority be for next year if you were to become SGA president?

Making sure the senate and the eBoard can work as an effective organization as much as we can – making sure we’re as cohesive of a group as we can be. … Something I really want to do is a strict review of the budget, of how we allocate our funds, making sure that all the clubs are getting funded equally this year, and making sure that we’re getting student input on important capital decisions. For instance, we just funded a pilot program for hand dryers, and in my opinion, that was something that we should have gauged interest from the student body – that’s something we didn’t do. So next year, I want to make sure when we do do something like that, we get a 360, comprehensive idea from the administrators, from the students and from the staff.

 

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Adam Scanlon

In your own words, what is the role of the SGA president?

I think the role of SGA president is one that depends on the individual’s point of view. My view has always been that the SGA president should be someone who is a strong leader and who has a strong command of the issues. Someone that can work with basically anyone and can come together on an issue. Someone that people can report concerns to if they have any issues with anything or want to work on a project together. It’s something that I would like to do. I’ve always been someone who can work with other people and can get things done.

Why do you believe you would be a good SGA president? What made you decide to run for this position?

I think I would make a good SGA president because of my track record on getting things done. I’ve served on several governance committees. In meetings, I’m often the one asking the tough questions that need to be asked. I listen to what my fellow senators or people have to say about things, and I’m able to be impartial and critically assess issues. I often will compromise, but I’ve never fallen from my convictions. I think SGA has long been viewed as a group that just hands out money to people, and I’d like to see a culture shift – not just in this one organization, but a culture shift throughout the whole campus.

What would your main critique be of the current SGA president and what would you do differently?

Well, I think it has to do with a lot more than one individual person. I think it has to do with the overall system and culture in place. What I would like to do is work with other students and administrators to address long-term goals as well as short-term goals. One of the things I pushed for during my tenure on SGA is how much money was in reserves. For a long time, I haven’t been told an answer. But recently, we were successful in getting an answer on that. I would like to work with other students to see if they would like to spend that money on infrastructure or other things they felt were necessary. If you look at this year, we were able to allocate money towards hand dryers – for hygiene purposes – and handicap accessibility, and perhaps there arew more opportunities to do things like this.

Do you believe SGA is representative of FSU’s student body?

I think it’s something that goes beyond an individual person. It’s all about what kind of system and culture there is in place. I’d like to build a culture where no one’s afraid to voice their opinion. Whether it be through a meeting or through an outside party. If you disagree with me, that’s OK. I want you to disagree with me – that’s OK. I don’t want to be someone who herds sheep and tells them what to do. I think organizations are stronger when they have debate and can come to conclusions in a collaborative manner. This is what I’ve basically done my whole life. I’ve been on my town’s school committee for about a year and I often work with the other members to get things done, to make progress. I’ve always been a person that believes strategic planning is necessary, and getting things done on a weekly basis isn’t something that I’ve always abided by or enforced.

What would your main priority be for next year if you were to become SGA president?

I’d like to try to look at a culture shift. Maybe it starts with that financial piece, like I spoke about with the reserves. Maybe it talks about things that don’t cost money. I’ve heard a lot of things on campus – that people want the University to be more inclusive. I believe that SGA always has to show leadership on this front, and if that’s something that can be done through communication or through events or whatever, that would be great. I’ve seen this year particularly that there’s been a low attendance at events. I often hear people say, “I wish this school had this, or had this.” Well, what can we do to make it better, instead of just complaining about it? My view is always to get feedback and work from there.

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