Q&A: SGA president candidates sound off on platforms

    165
    print

    Both candidates for president of the Student Government Association sat down with the Skiff to talk about their platform.

    Kelly Barnes is a junior political science major who wants to improve student participation at sporting events, and Kelsie Johnson is a junior political science and advertising/public relations major who hopes to have all organizations come together for large tailgates during the 2009 football season.

    Johnson:

    Q: How long have you been in SGA?

    A: I have been involved in SGA since my first semester at TCU. As a freshman, I was involved in Frog Aides.

    Q: Are you in any other organizations on campus?

    A: I’m involved in Student Foundations, Connections, Order of Omega, Gamma Phi Beta, Model UN and I have been an OSA [Orientation Student Assistant] for two years.

    Q: What other SGA positions have you held?

    A: I have been involved in Frog Aides executive board, Programming Council executive board as Howdy Week director, and I was appointed to serve as chief of staff on the eight-member student cabinet.

    Q: Why did you decide to run for SGA president?

    A: I decided to run because I really care about TCU and its students. I would like to see all of our dreams become a reality.

    Q: Why do you think you are more qualified than the other candidate?

    A: With all of my experience, I can start being president on day one. Because of my experience with SGA and as an OSA, I know what it means to work with administration and other organizations on campus.

    Q: How do your views differ from the current SGA president?

    A: I would really like to see SGA collaborate with other organizations on campus. We can be doing more together to create a cohesive method for the students. I would really like to have a president’s council where the president of campus organizations would rotate meeting with student body officers to keep communication lines open and to formulate new event ideas.

    Q: What changes would you make to the meal plan if elected?

    A: Some eating options on east campus between the Union and Smith [Hall.] Students want to grab something and go, and it should be included on your all-you-can-eat plan and not Frog Bucks. I would like to see something as simple as the library being on the all-you-can-eat plan.

    Q: How are you going to fix the lack of bike racks on campus to better accommodate students and faculty members who ride?

    A: I would go about this by talking to the Physical Plant and allocating money we already to have to get more bike racks. I still think we need more bike racks around the Union, Tandy and Smith.

    Q: What is your plan to increase parking on campus?

    A: In the long term, the solution is a parking garage. The simple answer right away is allowing visitor lots to be used by students on the weekends and have places on east campus that people can stay overnight, because the library is 24-hours, but the parking lots aren’t. A parking garage isn’t within SGA jurisdiction, but I would support and present the students’ concerns to the administration.

    Q: What did you plan to do with the money from annual student SGA dues?

    A: I want to stop the wasteful spending of SGA fees. I feel that small weekly events don’t pull a large student attendance without a large attendance. I feel that this money could be allocated to larger events. I want to focus on fewer but higher quality events that could reach more of the student body, for example more Pat Green-type events that would pull a large crowd.

    Q: What project or goal will be your biggest priority during your term?

    A: I would like to see tailgating with alumni and students in the Campus Commons for the 2009 football season. The Commons is a great space, and I think it should be utilized more than it currently is. This tailgate would include alcohol for those who are 21 or older. I hope to work with Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Association and alumni to make it a reality again. I want to talk to the administration to try and make the tailgates a joint student and alumni that could include alcohol from outside vendors; however, further investigation is needed before a decision can be made. I believe it is unsafe for students to tailgate off campus and then drive back to campus. I would also like to see that the administration increases the storage size of student e-mail inbox. They are currently having a test run and are waiting for feedback from students before implementing the new program campus wide. We, SGA, have taken all the measures by passing a resolution and talking to administration. I want to see it through to the end.

    Barnes:

    Q: How long have you been in SGA?

    A: I was a representative for the sophomore class and served one full term.

    Q: Are you in any other organizations on campus?

    A: I’m currently vice president of Kappa Sigma fraternity and I started the American Airlines group on campus last year, which marketed the airline to students.

    A: What SGA positions have you held in the past?

    Q: I was appointed to be a part of the 10-member SGA delegation appointed by Thomas Pressly to serve on an official delegation to the state legislation committee, and I was the representative for the sophomore class.

    Q: Why did you decide to run for SGA president?

    A: In the next year TCU will be at a major crossroads in terms of great facilities and new buildings, but the question is what do we do with it now? It’s a great time to run. The campus needs a strong leader because campus is changing everyday with the economic meltdown and tuition rising. I would like to continue to help increase the Tuition Equalization Grant to increase scholarship money for TCU students. TCU is a part of ICUT [Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas], which is an organization who lobbies for the Texas State Legislature to increase funding for this grant. My hope to get more organizations involved in lobbying for this cause or writing letters to increase the grant money.

    Q: Why do you think you are more qualified than the other candidate?

    A: I think I’m more experienced because I have experience outside of SGA. I have experience in SGA as well as in many other areas of campus. What you need to be an SGA leader is the ability to understand other students’ issues, not just those students who come to SGA events. I believe I have taken a more active role in organizations outside of SGA such as Kappa Sigma I plan philanthropic events and I’m vice president.

    Q: How do your views differ from the current SGA president?

    A: Thomas Pressly and I have pretty similar ideas. We both have big, innovative ideas – his was meal plans and mine is an athletic incentive program to encourage more students to attend all sporting events. I have spoken to John Festervand with TCU sports marketing about having students swipe in at all TCU sporting events and earn points. These points will be put into a computer program, and then those students who have the greatest point value would be rewarded.

    Q: What changes would you make to the meal plan if elected as SGA president?

    A: I would like to put in another all-you-can-eat facility on the east side of campus that isn’t on Frog Bucks.

    Q: How are you going to fix the lack of bike racks on campus to better accommodate students and faculty members who ride bikes?

    A: I believe there is a lot of wasteful spending in SGA. Funds are being given to organizations that aren’t using them every day. I believe these funds should go toward things that benefit many students such as bike racks. I would use funds to purchase and install more bike racks around campus. Yes, we still need more bike racks and I would like to put them in smaller areas around campus such as behind Reed and other buildings around campus.

    Q: What is your plan of action to increase parking on campus?

    A: I would like to look into putting a parking garage on campus. The main concern for the university right now is safety for students. If we had a parking garage, my first concern would be students’ safety, and I would make sure it was well lit and had security barriers. I hope to spearhead the movement and push the administration as the voice of the students in order to get plans for a parking garage moving.

    Q: What do you plan to do with the money from annual student SGA dues?

    A: I want to reduce them, first thing – it’s too much money that SGA has around. Give it back to the students. SGA can use less money. I would rather the money be back in students’ pockets.

    Q: What project or goal will be your biggest priority during your term?

    A: The biggest thing to work on is a class enrollment system that allows students to enroll before their assigned time in case they are in class or in a meeting. The students would list their top five classes on my.tcu.edu and when their time comes around, the students would be automatically enrolled in the classes that were available. I haven’t specifically spoken to anyone, but I will talk to the Faculty Senate to discuss the feasibility of such a project.