Students to decide the future of SGA


File Photo/The Lion's Roar

Polls for the Student Government Association’s general election will open on April 8. Students can vote either at a polling station or on any device with internet access between then and April 11 at 4:30 p.m.

In less than a month, polls will open for students to vote on the future of the Student Government Association.

The general election will open on April 8 at 8 a.m. and close on April 11 at 4:30 p.m. Students can vote electronically either at a polling station or on any device with internet access through the SGA online election system. A W number and accompanying password will be required.

“These people are representing them, and it’s for their best interest,” shared Alberto Valenzuela, chief justice of SGA. “You want someone you feel comfortable and confident making decisions for you in the large scale, and some of these decisions can affect how much you pay for your tuition.”

Mandatory candidate meetings were held on March 18 and 19. Candidate applications are due on March 22. Candidates are required to maintain a semester and cumulative GPA of 2.50 and be free of any academic probation or disciplinary action. They can utilize social media in their campaigns, but the use of Moodle or email is prohibited.

At the voter rally and the executive officer debate, students can learn more about the candidates running for office. On April 8 in the Student Union Breezeway, the voter rally will include food and T-shirts to get people excited to vote. While students can meet the candidates in a casual setting at the rally, they can learn more about the plans of the president, vice president and chief justice candidates at the debate on April 3.

Valenzuela discussed the debate’s purpose.

Valenzuela stated, “It gives the students opportunities to ask them specific questions based on how they’re gonna run SGA in the following year and what plans or changes they have or what they thought was good or what they’re gonna keep and their platforms as well.”

Valenzuela shared his experience through the election process last year.

“When I went through it, it wasn’t that bad at all,” said Valenzuela. “It wasn’t that stressful. For me, I didn’t like public speaking too much, and so when someone asked me questions, I would get really nervous, especially in those large scale discussions or if I had to give a presentation in front of people. It’s scary, but also, it’s nice to go out and actually get to meet the students as well.”

According to Valenzuela, the election and campaign process has not changed much since last year when the expenditure policy was introduced.

“It gives them a little more feel how real politics work and their funding to buy campaign materials and hand out, so it makes it a little more fun that way,” explained Valenzuela. “I think not everyone spends their expenditure. Some people don’t even use it, so it’s just an extra pointer for them.”

In the expenditure policy, candidates for president, vice president and chief justice can spend up to $500. If candidates run on the same ticket, the $500 cap applies to the entire ticket. Neither faculty nor staff can endorse or donate to any candidate.

Valenzuela encouraged students to vote between April 8-11.

“It only takes about 10 seconds out of your day, and you’ll make an impact with all the students around Southeastern,” said Valenzuela.