Candidates running for the 2019-20 Student Government Association (SGA) Executive Rules Committee (ERC) pleaded their respective cases to the Shippensburg University student body Thursday night.
Each took to the podium in McFeely’s Coffeehouse to explain why they believed they should receive student votes.
The elections will reflect the newly-revolutionized Student Government Association structure.
The race for president pits junior political science major Aven Bittinger against junior accounting major Makayla Glass. During their speeches, both touted their breadth of involvement in student groups around campus.
Bittinger’s platform was centered around “large-scale” programming on campus achieved through collaboration with other big campus organizations, such as the Activities Program Board and Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA).
He also expressed his desire to create a new feedback system that emphasizes talking to students to gain insight into their perspectives.
More than anything, Bittinger explained that he believes the ERC needs new leadership, and that it will take each senator elected to the 2019-20 caucus to “forge change” and ensure they are acting as “true advocates” for SU students.
Makayla Glass touted her experience with student government at Kutztown University, and expressed her eagerness to bring elements of its organization to SU’s SGA.
Glass has been involved with SGA since she set foot on campus, she said, and has a drive to “strengthen SGA as a whole.”
In terms of policy changes, Glass wants to update policies on the sale of food and fundraising. In particular, she wants to eliminate the statute that prevents student groups from fundraising with homemade baked goods.
The remaining positions in the election are all new reflections of last week’s restructuring of SGA. As opposed to running for positions of vice president, treasurer and secretary, the candidates are competing for vice president positions subdivided into the specialty fields of finance, internal affairs, external affairs and student groups.
The victors of each race will be the first to hold the respective offices under these new titles.
Three candidates are running unopposed and only face a threat from potential write-in candidates.
The race for vice president of internal affairs features only Isaac Dietrich, a junior international affairs major and public administration minor. Dietrich’s platform followed suit with those of the presidential candidates and is centered around SGA doing more to advocate for students.
Currently serving as the Residence Hall Association’s (RHA) representative in SGA, Dietrich lives among the students he represents and believes Student Government can do more to “impact culture and make [SU] feel like home.”
The sole candidate for vice president of finance, Ramses Ovalles, was extremely critical of SGA and SU’s administration as a whole.
Ovalles called some of the departmental budgets assigned by SGA shameful, and explained that he believes SGA has done more to advocate for university leadership to students than represent students to the administration.
Ovalles currently represents MSA in SGA, and draws upon his background in finance from his tenure as treasurer of the Latino Student Organization (LSO).
Logan Wert, junior management and marketing major, hopes to bring her extensive background in social media management to the office of the vice president of external affairs. She emphasized collaboration with different areas of campus to bring in ideas and rebrand SGA to campus.
Spending the last year representing the Class of 2020, Wert said she has spent her time watching others and learning from them, and thinks it will prevent her from making mistakes as she takes on more responsibility.
The election for vice president of student groups is the only other race featuring two candidates. The first candidate is current SGA secretary Meredith Scarr.
Scarr has “been involved since the beginning [of her college career]” after serving as the class of 2021 representative and the co-chair of the class council committee. As secretary, Scarr has chaired the public relations committee, and sits on the budget and finance committee.
Scarr cited her rewriting of the SGA constitution and implementing SHIPLink, SU’s portal for student groups, as an example of the positive impact she can have on Student Government.
Taren Swartz, a triple major in French, international business and management, seeks to challenge Scarr for the position.
Swartz works at the information desk in the Ceddia Union Building, which she said has allowed her to meet and work with student groups on a daily basis. Like Scarr, Swartz believes she has been vital in helping student groups transition to SHIPLink, and said she “genuinely cares about the activities of student groups on campus.”
Officer elections will be held March 4-7. Students can cast their votes through the SHIPLink portal.