Butler University students will choose either Robert Gale or Chad Pingel to preside over next school year’s Student Government Association.
On Wednesday, the candidates met in the Fairbanks Building with members of the Butler Collegian for a conversation about their campaigns and ideas.
Gale, a junior finance and management information systems major and SGA parliamentarian, said he thinks the biggest reason he is running for president is because of his love for the university.
“Everyday when I wake up, usually the first words out of my mouth are, ‘It’s a beautiful day to be a bulldog,’” Gale said. “You can ask anyone that I live with, they’ll tell you that.”
When asked what sets Gale apart from other students involved with SGA and across campus, “I can’t tell you that answer,” he said. “But I can tell you, for me, it is my love, passion, and dedication.”
“That love, that passion that I really want to show people,” Gale said. “I don’t have an agenda.”
Pingel, a sophomore finance and marketing major, said he has managed SGA’s $750,000 budget as vice president of finance, but added he could not have pictured running for SGA president at the start of last year.
“It wasn’t actually my own personal initiative to want to run for this at the beginning,” Pingel said. “It was really the support of others that led me then to run for the position.”
Gale said he has focused his candidacy on action, communication and inclusive leadership. Gale said inclusive leadership placed as the “number one point on Robert Gale’s campaign platform.”
“It’s our time to stand up and to take, and be part of that larger conversation and to be part of all the students’ governance,” Gale said. “That’s what we’re doing, that’s what we’re trying to do, and that’s what a Gale presidency would look like.”
Pingel said his platform includes his desire to be engaging, efficient and a representative of the student body. Pingel said he views students and student organizations as the backbone of the university.
“Butler University students are, I guess I should say, special and different than other students,” Pingel said. “It’s not like a school like IU or Purdue where students might be there for more of the social scene or some sports game, but students here genuinely care about their education.”
Pingel is ranked third in the SGA hierarchy behind Kate Carroll, vice president of administration, and SGA president Craig Fisher. Fisher appointed Gale as SGA parliamentarian.
Fisher has endorsed neither candidate.
“Do we want to be like Craig Fisher? I don’t know. Do we want to be like what the SGA president should be? Then yes,” Gale said. “If we want to show dedication, be open, and constantly trying to improve not only ourselves, but the university, then yes. I want to be like Craig Fisher.”
Pingel said he thought Fisher made himself more accessible with his “Coffee with Craig” chats, but said, “I am not Craig Fisher by any means.”
Pingel identified SGA’s program board as an area that needs “reorganization” and “restructuring.”
Gale said he wants to create a presidential advisory board that would open lines of communication between the students and SGA president and make SGA Assembly meetings the primary location for debate.
Pingel also said he wanted to open communications between the students and administration, and added that he wanted to create a fund for new student organizations, budget more effectively, sustain the grants process, and increase new student involvement with SGA.
Gale said he wants students to remember him as someone who is authentic, genuine and energized.
“Now the next 12 days, if you follow me on these social media networks, you’re going to see students speaking up on why they love me,” Gale said. “That’s what this is all about. It’s that love. I know people don’t like to talk about it a lot, but it’s just something that we’re doing. And it’s something that every person is capable of doing. We’re taught, especially men are taught, unfortunately in our social norm, not to show that.”
Pingel said he hoped students would remember him as accessible.
“I think that being able to directly assist the student organizations, and by that, the students themselves, is the greatest way to empower the success on our campus,” Pingel said.
Butler students will have the opportunity to select either Gale or Pingel on their ballot on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014.