OPINION | Reynolds’ position boosts presidential credentials

My tenure as The Butler Collegian’s editor in chief has contained its fair share of nail-biters, challenges and joys.

Leading this influential student organization is a challenging job—much like the role of Student Government Association president.

Granted, holding government accountable and actually governing are two different things, but learning from this experience has taught me what it takes to be a good leader in any position.

Confidence, experience and enthusiasm are key traits to being successful in a top leadership position.

Kelsa Reynolds exemplifies these traits, which qualifies her as the best candidate in this year’s SGA presidential race.

The Butler Collegian endorsed her opponent, Mike Keller, largely because of Reynolds’ failure to provide specific plans in The Collegian’s debate on Sunday, but her track record speaks for itself.

Reynolds has the most experience and holds the highest leadership role of any of her opponents. She currently serves as the vice president of operations and oversees all the inner workings of SGA. She communicates well  and is a problem-solver.

She also was largely responsible for expanding SGA’s student shuttle program, something I’d consider to be SGA’s biggest recent triumph.

At first, Reynolds turned me off because I thought SGA would stay stagnant under her leadership, but saying whether that is a bad thing or not is impossible.

When I took the reigns of The Collegian in May, a part of me wanted to make big changes, but I realized that vastly improving the quality of the system that we already had in place would be the most effective way to create change.

Good leaders have to be Teflon-skinned, too—a skin I’ve grown into over the past year.

In his role as SGA president this year, Al Carroll had a voice in several  important conversations and experienced the joys of student leadership, but he also had the tough job of dealing with The Collegian each week.

The Collegian has rightly held Carroll accountable for some of this year’s flaws and hiccups, which can be  a tough pill to swallow.

In the end, criticism comes hand in hand with success. I’m a big believer that skeptical journalism is absolutely necessary for a democracy to function at its highest level, but it goes both ways.

I’m confident that Reynolds, given her experience working with Collegian reporters and editors, will be able to handle scrutiny with a thick skin, just like I am expected to do each week.

Reynolds would also break a streak of male SGA presidents at Butler. Of the past 21 SGA presidents, only five have been female, which is a heinous ratio.

Belonging to what some call the fairer sex does not play a role in the capacity to have great leadership skills, and after training under both male and female editors, I’ve learned that collaboration and competence make a great leader, not identifying as a certain gender.

But in a world dominated by men, female leaders get to be trailblazers for those who are disadvantaged because of their gender.

Reynolds can be that trailblazer for Butler’s SGA after years of male presidents.

When she speaks, she commands the attention of the audience and holds the ability to inspire other female leaders at Butler.

Because of the experience she brings to the table and her track record, I’ll be voting for Kelsa Reynolds on Election Day in the hopes that she will unite Butler’s campus and serve as a competent leader for next year’s student body.

Reynolds, regardless of the election’s outcome, I hope you continue to be as forthcoming as you have been this year to The Collegian when reporters come knocking on your door.

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