The 13 candidates running for student senator positions gave speeches last Thursday over Zoom.
The Student Government Association (SGA) has three groups of senator positions available: class senators, academic senators and student life senators. Voting began Monday and runs until 4 p.m. Thursday.
SGA President-elect Riley Brown opened the meeting and then introduced the first candidate to give a speech, Kevin DelaCruz. DelaCruz is a criminal justice major is running for one of the two class of 2022 senator positions.
DelaCruz said his participation in on- and off-campus leadership programs allowed him to develop the leadership skills necessary for the position.
“It’s become evident that change is both necessary and inevitable,” he said after speaking with previous and current SGA members.
DelaCruz will prioritize and maintain a personal relationship with students he said. He said his main goal is to help students become leaders who will “not only fit in but standout.”
Jordan Newsome-Little, a junior sociology major and political science minor, is the second candidate for class of 2022 senator. A Building Bridges facilitator and the current Residence Hall Association (RHA) senator, Newsome-Little said she will advocate for and support every student on campus.
“As one of the class of 2022 senators I will work to ensure we are honest, we communicate and we are transparent throughout our student government and our student body,” Newsome-Little said.
The candidates for the class of 2023, Abigail Birtchet and Austin Correll, spoke next. When Birthchet started her first year at Shippensburg she said she knew it would be her home.
“I was able to find a place that felt like home and now I am passionate about allowing others to feel that same way,” Birtchet said.
As the class of 2023 senator Birtchet said she would make it her responsibility to voice student opinions, frustrations and ideas.
Correll said he is confident in his ability to handle the position.
“My background as a leader and the easy-to-talk-to mentality that I have,” Correll said.
Correll feels he can easily advocate for the class of 2023 and other students as he likes to voice and provide opinions and concerns. He said he plans to put all matter first and make student’s lives easier and better the top of his priority.
The last class senator candidate to speak was Ian Davis who is running for re-election for the class of 2024 senator. Davis said he is the RHA president and member of the investment club.
“I am running to make improvements from where we left off,” Davis said. The past semester within SGA was not the best Davis said and he thinks it is time to construct a team that will do its best for students.
“As the icon Donald Trump would say, ‘Let’s make Shippensburg great again,’” Davis said.
Senators for the student life positions spoke next. Cody Willoughby, a first-year student and men’s soccer team member, is running to be the male athletes senator. Willoughby currently serves in the position. His passion for working alongside students and athletes gives him a view of the needs of those he will represent he said.
“This position is crucial for hard-working athletes’ voices to be heard,” Willoughby said. “I will explain their thoughts and questions with pride.”
Willoughby said he will have a year of experience listening to his fellow athletes and as the head of student focus groups coordination at the Light House Academy program.
The candidate for the commuter student senator, Ian Thompson followed Willoughby’s speech.
Thompson said the past year has presented tough challenge. “At times like these it is paramount that we as students have the best representation available,” he said.
Thompson promised he would fight to make sure students have the loudest voice at the table as the school looks for a new president. He will also work to make sure commuter students have the same amount of opportunities as residents to get involved on campus. Thompson wrapped up his speech by saying he will work with SUSSI (Shippensburg University Student Services, Inc.) and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) to lower the price of parking passes for students.
The last student life senator candidate to speak was Shadai Joyner who is running for the transfer student position. Joyner is a junior who transferred to SU this semester. After seeing injustice against minorities and people of color this past summer, Joyner said, she decided to step out of her comfort zone and become an advocate for others.
Joyner understands the difficulty of transferring schools, especially as an upperclassman. She wants to provide a safe space for transfer students to share their concerns and said that she will advocate for their voices to be heard.
The four academic senate candidates wrapped up the meeting with their speeches. Hunter Cramer, a sophomore political science major, is running for the college of arts and sciences senator position. Cramer said he was motivated to run for this seat to allow representation and reinvigorate the normal college experience that COVID 19 coronavirus has taken away.
Academic aid is also on Cramer’s mind.
“Making sure all students in need can feed themselves and focus on academics is a subject I feel very strongly about,” Cramer said. If elected he will work to create opportunities to make the most of their year.
Newsome-Little asked him how he plans to increase representation as a white male.
Cramer said he wants to offer more than just office hours to talk with students and hear the voice of all people.
“I want to interact with my students, not just when SGA mandates, but to also be a voice and be available at all times,” Cramer said.
Chase Carpenter, the candidate for the college of business senator spoke next. Carpenter is running for re-election and said he is concerned with student experience to provide a good experience and increase student retention.
“College should feel like a second home to students,” Carpenter said. “I want them to be eager to return to Shippensburg and their classes in the college of business.”
The coronavirus has been devastating students and SGA alike and he aims to heal the divide in SGA next year, he said.
The candidate for the college of education and human services senator, Ashley Smith followed Carpenter’s speech. Smith is running for re-election and has spent two years in SGA.
She said the past two years have taught her that kindness and love are the most important things in the world.
“Every single person you meet has something to offer your soul and your growth,” Smith said.
If re-elected she hopes to expand on event opportunities and to make sure her peers do not feel alone.
The last candidate to speak, Andrew Hare, is running to fill the exploratory studies position. Hare said he wants to better the exploratory studies program improve, and get more opportunities for the students in it. He wants to work alongside the department to get resources from the university and improve their recognition on campus.
“It doesn’t seem like people really acknowledge how big a role exploratory studies students play in our campus community,” he said. Hare said they need to uplift their voices so their concerns are heard.
Voting will be open until Thursday, April 1, at 4 p.m. Students will be able to vote online using a link sent to their SU emails.