The Student Government Association invited candidates for next year’s Executive Rules Committee (ERC) to speak Thursday afternoon following its formal meeting.
Eight students will compete for five positions in the organization’s highest leadership roles.
The ERC structure includes a president and four vice presidents: Internal affairs, external affairs, finance and student groups.
Juniors Lucas Everidge, Stephen Washington and Siara Gutierrez are vying for the position of SGA president.
Everidge, a junior political science major with a minor in sociology, believes his two years of senatorial experience make him the best candidate for the job.
“Unlike my competitors, I had the pleasure of serving in the 2018-2019 SGA and while we have gotten a lot done this year, last year’s SGA was more focused on the bigger picture of working for the students we represent. Being able to compare both years has given me the perspective that is necessary to see what has worked and what has not, and what changes need to be made to get SGA to be 10 times stronger than it is today,” Everidge said.
Everidge, who currently serves as a class of 2021 senator, wants to help the student body understand what SGA does and why they do it.
“We need to have external meet-and-greet type events before the senator elections so people at all interest levels — some of which may want to run for a senator position — can come and get to know the organization,” he said.
He also wants to advertise a simplified version of how to start new student groups.
“I want everyone here to have the opportunity to build and maintain something that they are proud to call theirs,” Everidge said.
Washington, a junior management information systems major with a minor in military science, is running for president to place SGA in the best possible position for exponential growth.
He believes he is the right candidate because of his approachability and listening skills.
Washington’s vision for SGA is “to be the premiere student government within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.”
Washington said making small changes will lead to big differences in SGA running more efficiently.
“[I want to] streamline and simplify the process put in place governing different facets,” Washington said.
He also discussed his experience putting students first, citing his time as the student representative to the SU Council of Trustees. Washington said he will step down if he is elected.
“[I want to] set a strong foundation for the student governments — and their leaders — of the future,” he said.
The final candidate is Gutierrez, a junior political science major with a minor in military science. The exploratory studies senator wants to see a better-functioning SGA with a better relationship between the organization and the student body.
“I would like to build a better relationship with the SGA and the student body. With having those stronger relationships, I will uplift under-heard students with tackling their issues head-on,” she said. “As a current member of SGA, I have had opportunities to talk to students and understand the issues that they are facing. Most of the issues are talked about and not many solutions are advocated for.”
“I want to run for SGA president because, with this platform, I can be more effective in tackling these issues head-on,” Gutierrez said.
As president, Gutierrez said she envisions SGA improving its internal functionality, as well as being an honest and straightforward advocate for students.
It is a two-person race for vice president of internal affairs between sophomores Jordan Newsome-Little and Clarence Johnson III.
Newsome-Little is a sociology major who currently serves as a Residence Hall Association (RHA) senator.
She envisions a campus where the idea of family is “reinstalled.”
“Families argue and they’re not perfect; however, they guide, protect and hold each other accountable,” she said. “If elected, I will work with the senators and members of the ERC to ensure that they are accurately representing the student body, as well as fighting for equity, transparency and compassion.”
Newsome-Little also wants to build a better relationship between SGA and the student body.
Johnson is an entrepreneurship and finance major with a minor in Chinese who currently represents the College of Business.
He said he wants to “restore the pride and to better this illustrious university student body.”
“My vision for SGA is to genuinely represent the interest of the student body though initiatives, programs and services that enrich students’ lives,” Johnson said.
In the races for the four vice president seats, three students are running unopposed.
Lance Hines-Butts, a senior entrepreneurship major, is running for vice president of external affairs. During his speech, he discussed the need for SGA to interact with students on campus to better communication between the organization and the student body.
“Go around campus and meet them with a smiling face,” he said.
Hines-Butts added the importance of connections and interacting with student groups.
Brenda Aristy, a junior political science major with a minor in Spanish, is running for vice president of finance. Aristy, who serves on the budget and finance committee, said she is concerned about where her money is going.
“I want the money to be spent efficiently and fairly,” Aristy said.
She also said she is determined to be progressive and fair to the committee.
Riley Brown, a freshman history education major with a minor in political science, is running for vice president of student groups.
Brown said he wants to unlock potential by providing clarity, equality and standards of efficiency in student organizations.
“I told President Carter on the second day of orientation in the fall that ‘I will try my best to make this campus 10 times better than when I started,’ and, it starts as vice president of student groups,” Brown said.
He currently sits on the budget and finance committee and the safety and facilities committee.
The 2019-2020 academic year is the first year SGA implemented its changed leadership structure.
When introducing the new structure in February 2019, Logan Wein, former SGA president, said any undergraduate student can run for an ERC position, excluding the president and vice president of finance positions, which require previous SGA experience.
The ERC voting period begins on Feb. 24 and concludes at 4 p.m. on Feb. 27.