Last Friday, candidates running in March’s SGA election spoke at a forum where they highlighted their most important campaign promises and took questions from students. Among them were presidential, cabinet and senatorial candidates.
When it came to the presidential candidates, current Student Body Vice President Zenani Johnson and running mate current Chief of Staff Jamie Calvert spoke first, using their website to outline what they would focus on if they won office.
They touched on their plans to improve campus sustainability, with an emphasis on reestablishing a recycling contract for the University, an absolute necessity, said Calvert, with a campus originally built to disrupt nature as little as possible.
Johnson and Calvert also promised to improve safety on campus with, among other things, the creation of a Safety App that would be able to anonymously contact law enforcemnt and serve as a portable “blue light” for students.
They also would advocate for more amenities, such as free printing, on campus and partnerships with businesses to provide more things like discounts to students.
Students asked these two candidates what their biggest accomplishments while in SGA were. Johnson said she was proudest of her role in giving students’ a voice, whether it be through giving advice or fighting Title 9 changes that harm sexual assault victims. Calvert mentioned the events they had put on, including the Student Health Fair.
The other presidential candidate to speak was Alby Clendennin, who is running with Brennen Beckwith. Clendennin emphasized his and his running mate’s outsider status within SGA, claiming they would bring a new perspective to the body.
When pressed on what this meant, Clendennin said he wants to make it more “present” and give students a greater impression that they are being listened to. His strategy for achieving this would include holding monthly town halls in the Commons.
Clendennin also noted his campaign’s desire to improve the experience of commuter and transfer students. When asked, Clendennin said the campaign’s ideas included creating a communal space that would serve as a home away from home.
These students can drop their stuff off and hang out in said space. They also want to address diverse student needs, and when prompted, Clendennin offered the idea of establishing a Chair for Equity and Diversity
When asked what was to be done about vacant campus housing, Clendennin highlighted UWF’s high housing costs and the need to make pet-free dorms like Village East pet friendly.
The candidates running for lower office made some colorful promises and statements as well. CASSH senatorial candidate Virginia Morrison expressed her desire to hold a multicultural fashion show, and both CASSH candidate Ashton Bosso and Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering candidate Tamania Williams voiced a need for more vegan dining options on campus.