Three candidates vie for SGA president

Taylor Harrison

In just one week, students will get the chance to vote for a new SGA president in the spring elections. They’ll choose the successor to current SGA president Billy Stephens on March 27-28.

The candidates for the election are varied in their experiences and ideology. One, Cory Dodds, is already on the executive board, while Corey Johnson is a senator. Austin Wingate has had three years of SGA experience, although he isn’t currently in SGA.

Cory Dodds

Dodds, currently SGA’s director of information technology, said he is running for president because his two years of experience in SGA have allowed him to gain insight into how SGA runs.

“I’ve been around for a while and I know what past presidents have done — what did work well and what did not,” Dodds said. “I can use that experience to implement a bunch of different changes in the SGA next semester to better serve the student body.”

Initiatives Dodds wants to promote include scholarships for intramural sports, campus-wide teaching and graduate assistant evaluations, a new safe rides program and syllabus transparency. Syllabus transparency is an idea SGA has been working on for a while and would require teachers to post syllabi before courses start.

“I know what needs to be done, I know what services we offer, and really, the next few years are going to be very interesting for SGA and the student body because of the DUC renovations, and we need a strong leader as SGA president to ensure that we are able to continue to provide consistent service to the student body,” Dodds said.

Corey Johnson

Johnson is currently serving as an SGA senator after being elected in fall 2011. Prior to that, he worked in the Student Activities Office over the summer. Johnson got involved in SGA because he was excited about what student government could do for the campus.

“I wanted a way to leave a meaningful impact on this university — to leave my mark on a place that has certainly left its mark on me,” Johnson said.

However, Johnson said he expected SGA to be much more than it was. While he said he is proud of what they have accomplished over the past two semesters, he chose to run because he believes SGA needs “a wakeup call.”

“I don’t mean to discount the successes of this past year’s SGA, but I think I can speak for the majority when I say that I haven’t been blown away,” Johnson said. “Where is Provide-A-Ride? How do you let $15,000 slip through the cracks?

“…The pieces are all there — we just need someone in place at the top to put them all together and make them work for the students and I can do that for SGA,” Johnson said.

If elected, Johnson said he would like to make SGA more visible on campus and more transparent — to communicate more effectively with students. He said he wants to work on initiatives like a dead week before finals, an improved course catalog, Provide-A-Ride, keeping the library open later during finals week and making parking meters on campus more consistent.

Austin Wingate

Wingate served in SGA for three years — two as a senator and one as the speaker of the senate.

“I decided to run for president after I felt that there was a loss of connection between the SGA and the student populace here at Western,” Wingate said.

This year, he was not in SGA because he was the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People on WKU’s campus and felt he didn’t have enough time to dedicate to both organizations.

“My greatest strategy that I’m going to implement during this campaign is my personality and getting out and meeting and talking to the people,” Wingate said.

Wingate’s main campaign platforms will focus on diversity outreach, scholar outreach, finding a way to make parking on campus better for students, and organizational and Greek outreach. He also wants WKU to utilize technology more — particularly, more professors using Blackboard.

 “This campaign isn’t about me or my opponents — this campaign is about the student body,” Wingate said.