And The Candidates Are… (President)

These are the following candidates who are running for President in the upcoming SGA election:

Daniel Cooper:

I have served Transy’s student body since 2007, all the while striving to make SGA a more transparent and efficient organization. This year, we have a leadership that has taken a step forward in doing so and I intend to continue on that course.

As SGA president, my plan to make the organization more transparent starts with a program that will make the relationship between the Rambler and the student government a higher priority to our organization by working with the Rambler to have a weekly update on student government business.

As all of us know, our board of trustees will be selecting a new president of the university, and it will likely do so this summer. I will work to ensure that, from the inception of the new administration, the student voice is heard and understood to be a valuable resource. I feel that a constant reminder of what the students want and need from their administration will be very beneficial to the new president.

As a senator, I have worked to ensure that the student government is a representative and advocate for all students. I have proposed an amendment to our constitution and bylaws that will allow established and faculty- or staff-sponsored service organizations, such as Alternative Spring Break or the Jump Start program, to request funding for travel. Also, I have worked to establish a program on campus that will allow students, or groups of students who are sponsored by a faculty member, to compete in a monetary scholarship competition for graduate school or Transy expenses.

The main responsibilities of the president are organization, communication and leadership; it takes a very unique individual to organize effective meetings and ensure their success, communicate effectively, yet respectfully, with the administration, and lead student representatives to their goals of helping you, the student body.

Jessica Beard:

In my three years at Transylvania, I have made my priority as a senator to ensure that the Student Government Association serves the students of our university. My goal to provide students with an influential voice on campus initiated my desire to serve as student government president. Over the past three years, I have strived to work with the student body, administration and staff to produce needed changes. SGA must be led in an efficient manner that guarantees productivity, allowing all students to be actively involved in the organization and equally representing each student’s interests.

As president, I will work as a student for the students. I believe that the organization is intended to provide for our needs first and foremost. In my sophomore year, I managed the CrimsonFlix program and worked closely with residence life. This year, I was elected to serve as the student life committee chair and have worked to establish goals for the committee to ensure improvements on campus through a process of working directly with the student body. Some of our major accomplishments this year have been working with campus safety and the physical plant to create better visibility at night, working with library staff to transform CrimsonFlix into a free program for all students and acquiring more bike racks to accommodate a growing presence on campus.

If elected president, I can assure you that SGA will constantly focus on requests made by the student body. My experiences on campus in leadership positions have established needed, strong relationships with the administration, and as president I will make it my personal goal to better connect the student needs with the goals of the administration. It is imperative that SGA continue conversations establishing a stronger presence of requests made by students. I would truly appreciate your support.

Jessica Short:

I’m currently a junior majoring in math and physics. I have served on SGA since my first year at Transylvania. During my first and sophomore years, I chaired SGA’s individual needs subcommittee, which deals with wheelchair accessibility and other issues pertaining to accommodating the physical needs of students. Additionally, I have held several other leadership positions, including Treasurer of the Phi Alpha Delta pre-law fraternity and SGA treasurer (thank you to my supporters from last year).

If elected president of SGA, I would support transparency in SGA, sustaining SGA’s Crimson Flix account and promoting student-administration-SGA dialogue. This year, SGA has made good steps toward transparency, but I think we can do more. One change I would support would be making executive council meetings open to students. SGA’s main responsibility is to represent the student body. Therefore, it is important for students to know how we are representing them through our decision making.

The second part of my campaign platform pertains to SGA’s CrimsonFlix account. This account contains funds which SGA has saved over the years and acts as a “savings account” that SGA can fall back on. SGA has passed several significant funding requests this year, and we have budgeted more out of the CrimsonFlix account than we’ve put in. It’s good that we’ve been able to help student organizations with major projects. However, I want to find a new source of income to replenish these funds (especially since CrimsonFlix is now free).

Thirdly, I want to encourage student-administration-SGA dialogue. I think that, in order to function well as a community, students and administrators should discuss campus issues, thus fostering mutual respect and understanding. I feel that this will be vital as a new university president comes to Transylvania.

Grant Buckles:

Despite much of the publicity and campus-wide attention that SGA receives, the role of SGA and its president often remains plagued with generalities and inaccurate assumptions. An SGA president should not campaign or act as a micromanager, who instills ideas and opinions on the student body or pursues her or his own interests with Transylvania’s administration. Instead, I see the SGA president as having two basic, yet important, responsibilities: first, to facilitate student opinion and initiatives in the areas of academic and student life in a formal, democratic setting; and secondly, to act as a respectable liaison between the student body and the university administration. In terms of the first responsibility, I am extremely active in the academic and intellectual life on campus, serving on SGA’s academic life committee and as a member of the development committee for the quality enhancement program (QEP) in preparation for the university’s reaccreditation process. I also have immense experience in various areas of student life including student government, Greek life and campus media, having served as SGA parliamentarian and secretary, president of Phi Kappa Tau, and social chair and disc jockey for WTLX. Additionally, I have experience acting as a responsible and respected liaison with the faculty, staff and administration of the university over my past three years, including my current role as the student representative on the presidential search committee. As Transylvania makes the transition to a new president after the long and successful service of Dr. Charles Shearer, it is important that SGA is represented as a credible and important organization on this campus over the next academic year. I hope to have the opportunity to fulfill these important responsibilities for the betterment of the Transylvania community.

Prya Murad:

My name is Prya Murad and I would be honored to serve as your SGA president.

There are five highly qualified candidates running for this position. In making your decision, ask yourself whom you trust to represent and advocate for you, feel comfortable approaching, would like to see give a “welcome” speech to the incoming first-year students, and believe understands the difference between merely investing in SGA and truly using SGA as a means to investing in our campus.

I don’t agree with making “campaign promises” because I am fully aware of the president’s role as a facilitator (no voice or vote) in meetings and the potential for unforeseen hurdles. I can, however, promise to be everyone’s president. I have friends across majors, years and organizations and, consequently, understand and respect our diverse student body. Furthermore, I have years of experience with “both sides of Broadway.” I have served on SGA’s academic life committee for three years, where I have originated and collaboratively implemented campus programs. My offices as public relations chair and food service liaison have allowed me to equally engage with the “student life side.” The next SGA president will have the opportunity to strategically place the student voice in the long-term planning our campus is currently undergoing, including the presidential search and college accreditation. As an SGA senator and student representative on the quality enhancement plan committee (part of accreditation) and the committee on program and curriculum subcommittee on advising, I have the opportunity to directly engage in a number of these conversations. Through these and other opportunities, I have been fortunate enough to forge relationships with faculty and staff across every building that will be crucial to a successful presidency.

In voting for me, you can rest assured that you’re not voting for empty promises. I have the experience, resources, personality, concern and three years of result-oriented dedication to our campus to serve as your SGA president.

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