SBO officers discuss plans at debate

Student Body officer candidates reiterated the need for greater communication and awareness about Student Senate as they fielded questions from about two dozen students at the April 1 Student Senate candidate debate. 

Sophomore and SBO presidential candidate Jason Blumenthal, sophomore and speaker of the assembly candidate Sarah Handler, freshman and secretary of the assembly candidate Olga Krapivner and sophomore and secretary of finance candidate Kelsie Smith were all present at Tuesday night’s debate.

Junior and secretary of finance candidate Hunter Vaughn was unable to attend the debate, and he asked sophomore civil engineering major Jenna Roadley speak on his behalf.

Voting for the three uncontested candidates and the one contested race occurs April 7 and 8.

Blumenthal directly discussed three major goals in the event he is elected president. They include “fixing senate,” school spirit and more initiative and events.

As a Red Sea executive board member, Blumenthal also said changes to the structure of the Red Sea will hopefully aid in raising school spirit both at athletic events and other extracurricular events.

Overall, Blumenthal said communication, awareness and involvement are essential for the improvement of student senate next year.

“Senate can be so much better … we have so much potential, but we have structural issues,” Blumenthal said. “[As president,] I would be the liaison, the main voice of the students, between students and administration to actually bring change.”

Speaker of the assembly candidate Handler said she is qualified to serve, through serving as current academic affairs vice president, and that she has ideas to help improve Senate as speaker of the assembly.

Handler said her two main jobs as speaker of assembly would be to recruit senators and lead student senate meetings and that awareness about senate will help her with some of her goals.

“People either don’t know what senate does or think we don’t do anything,” Handler said. “We can be doing more, and we need to get [students] interested in senate.”

The other uncontested candidate, Krapivner, said her energy and passion, in addition to experience as a student senator, would help her as secretary of the assembly.

With regard to the position, Krapivner said she hopes to make the meeting minutes easier to view and ensure their accuracy as related to parliamentary terms in addition to helping improve awareness about student senate overall.

Smith discussed her prior Senate experience, including her current role as secretary of the assembly, and her role on Student Activities Budget Review Committee (SABRC) when seeking support from students.

If elected as secretary of finance, Smith said she would like to continue some of this year’s Senate goals and lay the foundation for new ones as well.

“My passion is health, and I’d like to continue on this year’s goals,” Smith said. “The first thing I’d focus on is the Smoke-Free Quad Resolution I am currently working on.”

Vaughn’s proxy Roadley said he believes his majors (political science and accounting), role as Interfraternity Council (IFC) treasurer and prior senate experience will help him serve as secretary of finance.

He said he believes Senate “has enacted quite a bit of good” and that he plans educating the “non-believers” on that.

When students vote next week they may not have many choices, since three out of four races are formally uncontested, but the candidates said they seek to bring change to campus through greater overall student body involvement in Student Senate.

“Senate has the ability to bring change … we’re the direct voice of the student body to the administration,” Smith said. “Bring us ideas, and we can make a change.”