Students’ Association executive officer candidates will spend the week campaigning and debating to show students they deserve a chance at campus-wide leadership.
Candidates participated in SA debates Tuesday evening and will speak publicly once more during Chapel on Wednesday. Students can vote Wednesday and Thursday from 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m in the Campus Center.
Connor Best, junior political science major from Sacramento, Calif., is unopposed for the office of executive president. Best has served on SA since his freshman year and said he has gained much insight into SA and working with students.
“I think there comes a knowledge of how things work and how administrations have done things. I’ve seen both and can move on from that without making mistakes but doing some of the things that brought success in previous years,” Best said. “I feel like I really know a lot of the student groups and I can relate to different student groups at ACU, which will help me lead them better.”
Best said he is writing legislation to restructure senator seats into president, vice president and treasurer positions. Best said the plan will help develop more structure, giving student leaders clear responsibilities.
Best also plans to carry over ideas from this semester such as revising the dance policy and bringing chalk back on campus for student advertising.
The four women running for executive vice president are Rebecca Dial, junior political science and history major from Lexington, S.C.; Natalie Fleet, junior management major from Abilene; Katherine Handy, junior English major from Plano; and Julianne Hart, junior political science major from Austin.
All four women said they recognize SA needs to increase its presence on campus, but they have different ideas on a solution.
According to the recent SA survey, only 25 percent of students know who their SA representatives are, and Handy said that’s not the students’ fault, but SA’s fault. She plans to organize more events on campus next semester to help SA make their presence known.
Along the same lines, Fleet said it’s easier to accomplish things through relationships and said she would look for large student gatherings like intramural games, and the Campus Center before and after Chapel to talk to the students.
“I feel like the communication between students and SA can be a lot stronger,” Fleet said. “I would like to see more students become involved. I feel like the more students get involved, the easier the word of mouth about SA is going to get out.”
Dial said she wants to increase awareness of SA productivity by doing service projects together, meeting students and holding members accountable for participating in meetings and being productive with office hours.
“It’s overwhelming how many people don’t come to meetings or put in effort other than that hour. This is something that we can actually affect change on campus to better student life,” Dial said. “Office hours aren’t that efficient. So, really it comes to instilling in the constituents that in order to get things done, you have to show up and be committed.”
Hart wants people to know about SA so they also know who to talk to about problems on campus or changes they want to see happen.
“I really want SA to be a force that gets students connected and involved at ACU. Because ACU really is about the community,” Hart said. “Academics are important things, but what really makes or breaks your experience here is whether you get involved here in some smaller community. That’s something I really want to promote.”
Beyond spreading the word about SA, each candidate has plans to better student life at ACU.
Dial has worked with recycling in Sikes for a while, and is looking into how to best boost recycling around campus. She also has talked to administrators about solutions to the parking problem.
If elected, Fleet said she would use connections and relationships to get things done and facilitate communication between students and SA, and SA and administration.
Having never served on SA in previous years, Fleet said she has made connections and relationships through other organizations such as the First Year Program, Intramurals and the Alumni Association.
“I feel like I bring a different experience to the table besides just SA experience.” Fleet said. “I feel like I bring a new student perspective that has been unbiased by participating in SA.”
Handy also said her experiences in other areas will help her if she’s elected. Handy works as an intern for Legal Services giving her more experience in drafting proposals. Also, Handy said she would like to see changes made next year to the visitation policy between dorms and hopes to get another day per week for students in dorms to spend time with the opposite sex.
Hart already has begun work on revising the dance policy and next year she plans to continue with that project while adding large, campus-wide events that would get more students involved on campus.
Heath Bracken, sophomore marketing major from Salado; and Carson Henley, junior biochemistry major from Colleyville will run for executive treasurer.
The big responsibility of the treasurer is allocating funds to student groups at the beginning of the semester. Both candidates said the process can be tricky.
Bracken said many students had questions about how to get funds last year that weren’t always answered. Bracken said, if elected, he would do more explaining to create a better understanding among student groups.
“I’d like to see more student involvement with SA and better allocation of resources throughout organizations,” Bracken said.
As chief financial officer, Henley worked directly with current treasurer Chris Shim, throughout the year. Henley said they began a Financial Handbook and a presentation to clarify the process for students. They also met with each student group requesting money to talk about funding. However, Henley said he noticed some areas that could use greater detail and attention.
“Over the past year I’ve learned a lot,” Henley said. “So I know how to do it; I know how to get stuff done because I have a lot of connections. Making those connections has already happened this past year, but making sure this process goes quicker, to make sure the right people get the money – that is something I want to work on. It’s something I can work on and I will work on as treasurer.”