The SGA debate, which took place on Tuesday, March 19 at 2 p.m. in the Cistern Yard, featured candidates running in the Fall 2013 elections. Candidates shared their platforms and discussed future plans.
Voting begins tomorrow, March 20 at 8 a.m. and lasts until Thursday, March 21 at 5 p.m. Students may vote by logging into their MyCharleston account and clicking on the SGA Election System under the Student Services tab.
Ryan Spraker, running for secretary, was the first to speak. Spraker focused on his desire for greater student involvement on campus; he said he believes this to be the best way for students to find their “home away from home, here at CofC.”
A current freshman senator, Spraker works with the online program of OrgSync, which helps to manage the student run organizations on campus. If elected as secretary, he would continue working to make OrgSync accessible and understandable to students, “create a monthly calendar of events to help students to be informed of what’s happening on campus,” and “[he] would work one on one with campus organizations to help give them the best experience possible.”
Christopher Piedmont then spoke about what he would bring to the table if elected vice president. He is a transfer student from Clemson, but says that his experience at another school has given him a different perspective, and one that will be useful at College.
He’s worked closely with the Public Relations Society of America, and has built the chapter to a membership of 56 students. When asked how he would increase student participation in SGA, he said, “I would love to work with the Public Relations Committee and do a campaign to get others involved, and have every demographic represented at Senate meetings.” He also suggested other efforts to get the student body involved, such as possibly streaming the Senate meetings to reach out directly to the students that could not attend.
Sean Stivaletta will be running against Piedmont for the position of vice president. He cited his experience as a current freshman senator, as well as his experience with student government in high school. As a senator, he’s work closely with Dining Services, and was instrumental in procuring a form of protein on every salad bar on campus. He’s also currently working with Dining Services to create a late night food option on campus. This would be run out of the City Bistro pizza window, where students can use their meal swipes between 11 to 2 a.m. He also is on the school’s Campus Affairs Committee, and has been involved in the tabling efforts seen in Cougar Mall, where students can talk about the changes they want on campus.
Current Senator Kevin Phillips is also running for vice president. However, he was not present at the debate.
Jordan Hensley and Lauren O’Grady are both running for student body president. Hensley, a junior, said she wanted to leave “her legacy” here at the College. She talked about her past experience in SGA, working her way up from freshman senator, to chairperson, to student body secretary this year. She mentioned her experience this year as secretary, working with over 215 student organizations and keeping them running smoothly.
Hensley said she believes that “the most important thing on campus, is each and every student… [She] feels that she will be able to effectively speak to the school’s administration and convey what the students want to see on campus.
When asked what she believed to be the biggest issue on campus, she said, “I don’t think we can sum up everything important on campus in one or two issues. We are all different people and all care about different things…. I want to see more student involvement and collaboration, and I want to give the students what they’ve asked for. Redboxes on campus and shuttles to the airport are things I will try to accomplish.”
O’Grady was the final speaker, but she began by discussing her recent experience with a service project in Africa. She just returned from Kenya, and “could not have thought of a more rewarding way to spend Spring Break.” She cited her experience as a freshman senator and a member of the Campus Affairs Committee. She considered herself a big force in Senate in debates over smoking on campus, and said she is always fighting for “a better, more healthy campus.” She also talked of the next generation entering SGA, and the “new energy and enthusiasm” that would come as well.
When asked about what she believed to be the biggest issues on campus, she said the main thing she wanted to see was “proactivity” from the students and “productivity” from student government and faculty. She cited her efforts tabling in Cougar Mall with the Campus Affairs, and stated that she wanted to continue being “accessible” to the student body, and hearing changes they want. If elected, she would specifically work toward ideas and changes she’s already heard from the students, some being a better entry system in to the dorms, and getting a CARTA bus to local beaches and the Charleston airport.
Online voting for the SGA elections will open Wednesday, March 20 at 8 a.m., and continue through Thursday, March 21 until 5 p.m. Voting takes place online at MyCharleston, under the Student Services tab.