Freshman Student Government Association candidates took to the stage in McFeely’s Cafe last Thursday to convince the student body why they should be elected as one of the next freshman SGA senators.
Six first-year students are competing for two positions as representatives of the class of 2023. The candidates include Mia Randall, Ian Thompson, Ashley Smith, Andrew Hare, Riley Brown and Sasha Bretous.
Only members of the class of 2023 are able to vote in the election, which began on Monday and will last until Thursday at 4 p.m.
Randall said she wants to be an ear and a voice to her constituents.
“I look forward to meeting more people on campus and getting everyone’s vision on what they want and what they struggle with,” Randall said.
Randall explained her feelings of isolation and wanting to be inclusive, as she was one of only four other African-American students at her high school. “If anyone is feeling alone or different, I understand — I got you,” she said.
Randall said her experience in raising $7,000 in school supplies and leadership in youth softball also qualified her for the position.
Thompson, who serves as the Political Science Club vice president and Commuter Student Association treasurer wants to inform students of university resources and stress management.
“We’ve all had the experience, where you have an exam tomorrow, a paper due the next day, homework from three different classes and to top it all off, your friend wants you to hang out,” Thompson said.
During Smith’s speech, she talked about community, diversity and connection.
“We, as a university, can make a difference in our local community,” Smith said.
Smith also plans to promote programs that can help students find interests they are passionate about.
During her speech, Smith said she participated in National Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America, Future Teachers of America and fundraising committees at her high school.
Hare spoke next, wearing his ROTC uniform to the podium. Hare used his time at the podium to tell those in attendance to find their voices and help others find their own.
Hare spent his time focusing on the inherent qualities that a leader should have.
“An impactful and successful representative would take careful consideration to listen to all students and their grievances, ambitions and dreams. A true leader to all would view all students as equals no matter who they are, where they come from, or what they believe in,” Hare said.
Brown talked about the effect of great leadership and how important it is to students’ legacy as members of the community.
Brown said he was responsible for many changes that were brought to his junior and senior high school, including raising spirit week participation, revitalizing a Veterans Day program resulting in national attention and reinstating events such as fashion shows, man pageants and family feud.
Bretous addressed her experiences with racism throughout her childhood. Growing up, Bretous attended predominantly white schools. She was the only black girl to attend her high school.
“At school, the other girls and boys would also touch my hair, and it wasn’t because they thought it was beautiful, there was always some type of weird agenda. It was like I was some animal at the zoo. This is a big issue African-American women face every day,” Bretous said.
Some of Bretous’ plans include implementing student town hall meetings, creating more leadership roles and workshops for students and complimentary sunscreen dispensers.