SGA presidential candidates face off

The SGA presidential candidates are geared up for their final debate, taking place tomorrow from 6 to 8 p.m. in PB 150.

This will be the last chance for students to hear the candidates publicly debate before Monday’s vote.

Last Sunday, The Collegian’s staff members met with the four student politicians and conducted a separate debate.

The candidates each had a turn to answer the following questions:

How do you plan to address the divide between Greeks and independents on campus?

Josh Grant said he would allocate more funds for independent Council, allowing it to host more events.

Michael Keller said giving residence hall government more responsibility is the key to getting Independents more involved on campus.

Keller suggested making the hall governments’ BUmail listservs similar to Greek listservs. Keller also wants to continue to pair up Greek houses and residence halls during homecoming.

“We need to quit thinking this campus is Greek and non-Greek,” he said. “We’re Bulldogs.”

Kelsa Reynolds said she would give Inter-fraternity Council a bigger voice through SGA.

Katie Palmer said that Independent Council should be more involved with the meetings of chapter presidents.

Palmer also said that she plans to reform Spring Sports Spectacular, keeping the traditional teams of  Greek houses while also giving large clubs their own teams.

How do you plan to address the issue of communication within SGA assembly?

Grant said the key to improved communication within SGA is giving the freshman representatives a louder voice.

“We need to encourage the freshmen to speak their minds,” Grant said. “I think that’s the main group of people who aren’t talking.”

Keller said that in order to increase SGA efficiency, SGA representatives need to understand their responsibilities at the beginning of the semester.

He suggested spending the first assembly of each semester explaining what is required of representatives and holding them more accountable throughout the rest of the year.

Reynolds said, “If elected as SGA president, I am going to go back to the vice president of operations and strongly encourage them to make a presentation of what a representative should be.”

Palmer said the best way to improve SGA communication is for SGA organizations to specifically outline what they want their members to do and hold their representatives more accountable.

“SGA is as strong as its members are,” she said.

How can SGA get more students involved on campus?

Grant said that as president, he would make sure more students are going to events.

“If only five people show up to an event, that’s horrible,” he said. “That’s actually happened to me before, and it was a horrible experience. I would never want that to happen to anyone.”

Keller said utilizing new technology is the best way to get students updated on what’s happening on campus.

“When I found out that our IT department was seriously looking into doing a smart phone app, I nearly jumped out of my chair because there is so much potential there, and SGA needs to play a big role in seeing that developed,” he said.

Reynolds said a high number of programs available on campus is the solution to student  involvement.

“For me, it’s very hard to define over-programming as a good thing or a bad thing,” she said.

“One of your main roles is trying to reach out to the most students possible, and in regards to that, you’re going to have over-programming.”

Palmer said, “We can’t solve [event attendance] just by using technology.”

Communication barriers between clubs need to be broken by using programs like the Butler Beat and YouTube, but word of mouth is also an important part of publicizing an event, she said.

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