Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

SGA Presidential Candidates focus on important campus topics

The Student Government Association (SGA) has once again entered into the presidential election season. Augustana students have their own expectations about what they want out of an SGA president: “someone who keeps good on their campaign promises, they were elected because of what they promised. Also someone who listens to the students and asks us for our opinion on matters,” freshman Juliana Hernandez said.
This year’s candidates include juniors Adam Gronewold and Belle Hartman verses juniors Brendan Walker and Ella McCorkle. Gronewold has been involved in SGA for two years, and during his time, he has been student activities representative, sat on the educational policy committee, and is currently chief of staff and chair of the rotating committee.
Walker has been in SGA for three years and has been part of the public relations committee, the mental health awareness committee, and chair of the campus improvements committee.
Both sets of candidates have held important roles while in SGA, but each of them have more to say about what makes them qualified for the position of president and vice president. “I think what sets Belle Hartman and I apart and qualifies us for those roles is our passion… We just really care about Augustana and making the experience students have here memorable,” Gronewold said.
According to McCorkle, running vice president with Walker, “I believe I am qualified to serve as SGA Vice President, if elected because first and foremost I truly care about Augustana and I will strive to make a difference for Augustana students.”
When it comes to campaigning for the seats of president and vice president, each team has their own platforms that address what they believe is important for the campus. Gronewold and Hartman’s platform involves three main points with plans of action falling under each. Their first point is ‘student advocacy’ and this includes bringing back the idea of open meetings. “Here, students can address their concerns to the senate, so that change is actually occurring. These meetings will be publicized well in advance so students can prepare,” Gronewold said. Under ‘student advocacy’ would also fall the ideas of releasing update statements and videos about what is occurring within SGA that the rest of the student body may not know.
The next point under the Gronewold and Hartman platform is ‘forward thinking’. One of the bigger ideas under this point is a response protocol. This would be a report that is made about an event that occurred on campus, such as the chalkings earlier in the year, and how administration handled it as well as how the students reacted to the administration responded. This report would then be used in the future in case something similar happened again, and administration, as well as SGA, could see what worked and did not work the first time around. Another idea under ‘forward thinking’ would be to set up a way to protect student group’s funds from being changed halfway through the year.
The third and final main point under the Gronewold and Hartman platform is ‘senate strength.’ “For the senate and their committees, we hope to delegate much more, by tasking them with official projects to tackle.” At the beginning of the year, ideas would be gathered from the student senators. Throughout the year, once a task is completed a new one from the list of ideas would be handed out. With ‘senate strength’ also comes the idea of incentivising committee chair’s role.
Walker and McCorkle’s platform includes ideas that are very focused, the first being ‘inclusivity.’ These two believe that the change needed on campus starts with the freshman class. This would mean reworking welcome week and creating workshops that students would partake in. “We believe that students should feel welcomed and included in all student activities and work together cohesively,” McCorkle said.
The next idea involves ‘mental health.’ Under this idea comes the need for increased availability of counselors for students on campus. Augustana is behind other colleges in our nation with the same amount of students when it comes to counselor/student ratio. Another idea involves Title IX and sexual assault awareness and prevention. Walker and McCorkle hope to rework the online sessions, such as SafeHaven, that student must complete before coming to campus. A third and final idea comes with ‘campus improvement.’ “We hope to improve campus by creating a more eco-friendly environment with buildings and hopefully doing more with compost, as we know some things are already in place,” McCorkle said.
Now that the campaign season is officially underway, Gronewold and Hartman hope to spread their platform by “getting the word out and being a voice that students believe in.” While Walker and McCorkle’s campaign strategy is to “reach out to as many student groups as we can over the two campaign weeks. We want to learn from the student body about their needs and wants from the school.”
The Presidential Debate will be taking place during week three. Here students can come and ask their questions to the possible future SGA president and vice president. Elections will then take place the Thursday and Friday of week four in the Brew.

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SGA Presidential Candidates focus on important campus topics