MATTHEW FLECKENSTEIN | STAFF REPORTER
Election season has begun for Butler University’s Student Government Association. The Presidential and Class Officer applications are due tomorrow, Feb. 11 at 5 p.m. Election day is Feb. 29 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
“I’m very confident that we’ll have a strong turnout,” current SGA President Katelyn Sussli said. “Not only for SGA president, but for all the class officer elections as well because those are great leadership positions to hold on campus, and a great way to give back to the university.”
This is the first year that the application is available online and students do not have to go to the PuLSE office to pick it up.
Candidates must submit their platform, which outlines their goals, what their mission is and the reason why they’re interested in running for the campaign.
They are also required to gather undergraduate student signatures from different grade levels, 10 from each grade level and then an additional 10 from any grade for a total of 50.
“It’s a great opportunity for them to get out and talk to different students instead of just keeping in your circle of friends or only those within your grade level,” Sussli said. “The SGA president position is representative all of campus.”
Campaigning begins for candidates on Thursday, Feb. 18 at 8 a.m. No campaigning is allowed prior to this date.
Chad Pingel, 2014-2015 SGA president, gave advice to prospective candidates.
“Make it your busiest week at Butler, make it an attempt that if you’re trying to throw yourself all into it that you have something planned for every hour of that day,” Pingel said. “You want to maximize that time you have in election week because it will be the only time that you have to get your message across.”
There will be a presidential and class officer candidate meet and greet Thursday, Feb. 25 from 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Following the event, the SGA Presidential Debate will be on the same day from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Both events will be held in the Pharmacy Building, room 156.
“I encourage all Butler students to attend the debate. They’re a lot a fun and just an opportunity to better know the candidates,” Sussli said.
Presidential candidates should know what is happening on campus for the debate, Pingel said.
“Know the facts behind what you’re going to talk about, what you’re going to say, and then make sure that if you are going to say something, not only is it honest, but you can act on it if you get into the position,” Pingel said.
Both Sussli and Pingel said that it was important to get into the campus community and talk with different groups to share their platforms.
“It’s always good to talk with your constituents to hear what kind of concerns that they have, what they would want you to do on their behalf,” Pingel said. “The issues range all across the board and you need to really hone in on what does your key demographic or segment want and then how can hopefully act upon that and be the best representative of their voices.”
But the discussion with the campus community does not stop after the election, Sussli said. Her favorite part of being president is working with so many students.
“We are a very unique community here, and I think we all agree that it’s a lot of reasons why a lot of us came to Butler,” Sussli said. “That has been very true for me in this position as president is that I’ve gotten to see a lot of students many gifts and talents and utilizing those and working with those to making not only the student experience better but Butler University as a whole.”
Those running for office should know all the responsibilities, Pingel said. This begins with working with other students, administrators and also doing research on how to move the organization forward.
“Coming in with actionable ideas on ‘here’s where we’re at and here’s where we need to go’ is a good way to look at approaching a leadership position,” Pingel said. “Once you understand the core issues or core opportunities that might exist, it helps not only your campaign but it helps other students to see what can this person do for me.”
Time management is a difficult part of being SGA president, Sussli said.
“It can be challenging sometimes because we have students that are so excited about initiatives and there’s so many hours in the day,” Sussli said. “One of the most challenging, but also the most rewarding parts, is seeing how students are so willing and so committed to different projects and initiatives that they’ll do the ten o’clock meeting or the eleven o’clock meeting.”