After Monday’s Students’ Association debate, we were underwhelmed by all of the candidates’ platforms. Neither presidential candidate seemed to offer any practical goals, but both succumbed to the annual tradition of student government candidates using words that are too big for the job they’re aiming for. “Creating safe spaces,” “Students’ Association does what it needs to do,” “We want all students to be heard.” Just a few phrases pulled out of the cliché bucket from this year’s candidates.
But despite the slew of shopworn phrases employed by most candidates in recent years, the Optimist endorses Danny Burke for SA president.
Danny, a junior marketing major from Seymour, Indiana, on paper looks like the model ACU student. A former football player, a study abroad participant, an RA, a member of GSP men’s social club, the Honors College, and the Campus Activities Board, Burke seems to be a well-rounded option for student body president. His platform, though generic on the surface, relates to the student population as a whole. Burke expressed his goals in three points: create a safe atmosphere for students – socially, academically, spiritually; build excitement on campus for big events; unify the student body by having different groups work together that don’t normally work together.
Abe Enriquez, on the other hand, took a different approach to his platform. He too has a long list of campus activities he’s been involved in: three years in SA, Wildcat Week leader, LYNAY, World’s Backyard, tour guide, Hispanos Unidos, and a member of BSA. Enriquez, current SA vice president and junior political science major from Lubbock, has lofty goals if elected. He was able to touch on four of his five points in his timed answer at Monday’s debate: mental health awareness; race relations; professional development; joining the Texas student government coalition. These points look shiny on the surface, but they also sound a little too big for SA’s britches.
To most students, SA is an organization whose primary functions are to give student groups money and provide incentive to attend football tailgates. While Enriquez’s goals are noble political pursuits, we are talking about ACU’s Students’ Association here, not the country’s actual government. What do people want from a student government? Their special interest student organizations funded. A free t-shirt every now and then. Somewhere to hang their hammock that isn’t a tree.
The only thing Enriquez has on Burke is first-hand experience in SA. But despite what seems like a pretty big leg up, Abe’s track record as VP hasn’t shown that he’s ready to move up the ladder to executive president.
Julia Kennedy, sophomore English major from Lubbock, is running unopposed for executive vice president. She was originally running against Caitlin Walker, junior child and family services major, who dropped out of the race on Monday night. Kennedy has been involved in SA since her freshman year and expressed a desire for better communication between constituents and members.
All of that being said, the most disappointing aspect of this election is that no one stepped up to run for treasurer – arguably the most important position in the cabinet. Whoever wins president will more than likely be appointing the executive treasurer, whose duties include allocating SA’s $90,000+ budget.
If Burke gets elected, we hope he can pull together an executive team that comes through at a very basic level: funding student groups and organizing events for the whole campus.