SGA preparing for September elections

Beth Wilberding

bout 13 students – some of them freshmen, others fifth-year seniors – gathered at a Student Government Association meeting to discuss their potential futures within the organization.

Students interested in running for a senate seat or for SGA president met Tuesday to discuss the organization and the September elections.

Applications were accepted for president and the 23 open senate seats.

Bulan senior Jessica Martin said SGA has received about 20 to 30 applications for senate and one application for president.

Both elections will be held online on Sept. 14-15.

Marion senior Patti Johnson is the only student who has shown interest in running for president.

“I know that I am well prepared,” she said. “I know what it takes to get the job done.”

The filing deadline to apply for both presidential and senate candidacy is Sept. 7.

Johnson has been active in SGA for over three years and has served on various committees, including the public relations and athletics committees.

She was executive vice president last year.

Though she didn’t plan on running for president last spring, Johnson said she decided it was important for her to run in this election because of “the turmoil within the organization.”

“I decided it was important to stay that extra semester,” she said. “I want to see that everything we worked to keep intact was OK.”

Presidential candidates must have been a member of SGA for at least one year. They also must have a 2.5 grade point average.

Panida Vesakha-Vahrinth, a freshman from Bankok, Thailand, said she would like to become a senator to help both American and international students.

“I know a lot of international students who’d like to be involved,” she said.

Senate candidates must have a 2.0 GPA to qualify for the position.

Senators will be required to attend SGA meetings every Tuesday and to join at least one committee.

Senate Speaker Robert Watkins wrote the codes for the upcoming election.

Senate candidates are allowed to spend no more than $50 on their campaigns. Presidential candidates aren’t allowed to spend more than $450.

There are also guidelines about where candidates are allowed to campaign.

Hyden freshman Ricky Jordan created a student government association at his high school and wants to continue in student government at Western.

“I’m a firm believer that you can’t complain unless you’re out there active,” he said.

Jordan said he wants to make a “positive change through SGA.”

Johnson said she believes that a good SGA member “is a student who cares for the university and is interested in issues that are going to affect students on campus.”

And Vesakha-Vahrinth said she is ready to try to make a difference on campus.

“I run not just for myself,” she said, “but for my friends.”

Reach Beth Wilberding at [email protected]