Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

SGA candidate applications surprise with unopposed election

Allan Daly and Courtney Kampert speak with Kumail Hussain at the SGA Meet and Greet. Photo by Lu Gerdemann.

Junior Allan Daly will be running for Student Government President during the next few weeks with his running mate, Junior Courtney Kampert. The pair, who have been planning their campaign and platform since Fall Term, will be running unopposed due to an unexpected lack of candidate applications.
Daly said there could be a few reasons why the turnout for candidate applications this year was shockingly low, saying perhaps SGA had been disconnected with the student body, causing what Daly called “a falling out with SGA where people don’t know exactly what SGA does and don’t know why it matters who the President and Vice President of the organization is.”
There have only been four other occurrences of unopposed SGA Presidential elections here at Augustana seen from the last few decades. An Observer article from March 2013 cites Greg Stopka in 2006, Bob Lyons in 2007, Matt Paris in 2011, and Cameron Onumah in 2013. Out of all four, only Lyons was not running for re-election during the time of their unopposed campaign. Lyons was, however, running after two years of previous service on the SGA Executive Board. Daly has only served on the Executive Board for a single year and is not up for reelection, making this unopposed election an especially unprecedented one.
While the Student Government Association is a higher step in connection with administration, Daly is not certain the divide between SGA and students caused the drought of candidates. He attributes another possibility to the precedent the current President and Vice President, Charlie Bentley and Sarah Funke, may have left.
“Maybe other people didn’t feel as capable of following in Charlie and Sarah’s footprints,” Daly said.
Bentley has taken the role of President very seriously throughout the year, presenting ideas like the Diversity Task Force in response to the chalking incident during Fall Term. He and Funke agreed that, ultimately, the roles of President and Vice President are those that take attention and care, but also offer better relationships and rewards.
“You are never going to know exactly what most students want,” Bentley said, “[but] I’m happy we made the decisions we made because it definitely made us better leaders.”
Kampert said the decision to run with Daly for Vice President was not an easy one considering what the role could cost her.
“Most students tend to do the same things and think that the same things look good on applications,” Kampert said, describing her fears that becoming Vice President could put her on a path that might negatively affect her goals later in life.
Kampert chose, in the end, to run with Daly given the advice that “it’s not what you do or where you put your time, it’s. . .how it helped you become who you are and what you think it can do for you in your future.”
Finding out that they would be running unopposed had both its positive and negative effects on Daly’s and Kampert’s campaign. Kampert admitted to being disappointed with the lack of tickets running, but both Kampert and Daly agree it can be used for good.
“We get extra time to work our platform with groups. We can start meeting with people and starting to lay down that groundwork,” Daly said, “Instead of the last five weeks of the term, we can start now.”
The unexpected nature of this election, having only one ticket, did leave Daly and Kampert with some concerns. Daly cited Bentley while describing the feeling of validation that being elected over someone else can give a candidate’s campaign platform, saying that he and Kampert would not get the chance to feel like their platform was truly chosen in that same way.
“We’ll make sure that the platform will be validated in other ways,” Daly said.
Daly and Kampert have labeled their campaign as one trying to improve collaboration and awareness on Augustana’s campus. Kampert notices a lack of communication between student groups on campus and that the goal of their campaign is to strengthen the power of on-campus groups working together.
The current campus situation regarding the lack of MAP Grant payments from the State of Illinois may cause future campus budget changes, and Daly cited his plan to connect student groups to help alleviate some of the financial strain MAP Grant troubles could cause.
“We don’t want to see budgets shrink on campus,” Daly said, “but if that’s what we’re looking at, there has to be ways where we can work with other groups on campus in order to pool resources together.”
The collaboration Daly and Kampert plan for in their platform is part of their plan to help decrease budget problems.
“If we can increase collaboration across different departments on campus,” Daly said, “we can put on events to try and pull in bigger crowds.”
The pair ultimately boil their campaign down to their motto: “The future you envision, The effort you deserve, The experience you expect.” They end their slogan with the stamp, “The Daly Kampert: A Catalyst for Change.”
While Daly and Kampert have chosen the rest of their potential cabinet, they have elected to postpone announcement upon further campaign completion. They have assured the student body that their team is supportive and helped give them the confidence to become candidates.
Daly and Kampert attribute their dyanamic duo sense they plan to have to the team Bentley and Funke have made in the past. Daly stated multiple times that Bentley and Funke raised the bar for Presidents and Vice Presidents, inspiring them to continue what Bentley and Funke will leave behind.
“Courtney and I would like to keep that going as it’s a team effort between the two of us and not two separate positions,” Daly said in regards to Bentley and Funke’s teamwork.
The annual SGA Presidential Election debate will be held on Mar. 20 in Gavle room 3 at 6 p.m. with a different format than usual due to the single ticket, and the final vote will be held from Mar. 27 at 8 a.m. to Mar. 29 at 11:55 p.m.
“They’ve pushed the Senate and the committees and the events farther than they have been pushed in the past,” Kampert said before adding the plan she and Daly have for the future. “This momentum can continue.”

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SGA candidate applications surprise with unopposed election