SGA executive candidates debate issues

Draven Jackson

Staff Writer 

Candidates running for executive positions for the Student Government Association participated in a debate hosted by TrojanVision on Wednesday Night.

The executive positions include: president, director of administration, director of representation, vice president of campus activities and vice president of legislative affairs.


Ashli Morris, a junior political science major from Athens; Andrew Dearing, a junior criminal justice major from Montgomery; Sam Moody, a junior risk management insurance major from Montgomery; and Lilly Casolaro, a junior social work major from Fairhope, are all candidates for SGA president.

They were first asked about how they each planned to be an active student representative and voice student concerns to the administration in a way that is most likely to lead to constructive solutions.

Casolaro said that she would like to know the students on a personal level and create an environment where students feel comfortable voicing their concerns and discussing possible solutions by making herself available once a week to hear from the students.

Moody said that it is important to the job of president to be the liaison between the students and the board of trustees in order to properly communicate student needs and effectively find solutions for those problems.

Dearing said that it is important for a president to be genuine with people and create real conversation because “connecting on a real level makes real progress.”

Morris said that she is committed to being in the office 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with the exception of classes and lunch, in order to make herself more accessible to the students.

For the second question, each candidate had to choose an envelope with an individual question inside.

Morris’ question was about her communication style and why she would be a good representative for the students on the board of trustees. She views her communication style as being an effective one to represent the Troy student body.

“I enjoy listening to people and getting the opportunity to understand them, where they are coming from, their experiences, and what makes them think the way they do so that when I communicate with them, I communicate with them in a way that they understand and that they receive positively,” Morris said.

Dearing was asked about his plans for shaping the SGA into a team. He explained about his experience leading a team as vice president of legislative affairs.

“During my service as VPLA, which resides as president over the senate, I have had four to six team members for almost a year now, and I have been able to work with them in order to make Troy a better place,” Dearing said.

Moody’s question was about how he plans to implement his campaign promises. He said that delivering on his campaign policies is an important part of the president’s duty.

“For me, I think it is really important to stay on top of those, and I plan to create a goal sheet at the beginning of the year and to check those off as I complete those with the help of the senate,” Moody said. “I think its very important to keep those goals on you at every time to help you remember who you are serving, what you are serving, what you are trying to accomplish, and why you are trying to accomplish it.”

Casolaro’s question had to do with her ability to represent the Troy campus population at different events and meetings on campus, even if it meant missing a personal social event. Casolaro said that her service to the University came first.

“I vow and commit to be available and accessible to students, no matter what area or avenue that looks like,” Casolaro said. “I am willing to cross barriers and boundaries and reach across the borders of all the different organizations that we have here on campus.”

For their final question, the presidential candidates were asked how they see Troy University in the future.

Moody said he feels that Troy represents change and has the ability to change in the fast-paced world that is today’s society.

Casolaro said Troy embodies home, or a home away from home, for most students. She said that, in the future, Troy will keep a special place in the hearts of all the members of the Trojan family.

Morris said that Troy is and will continue to be the leading university for quality. She hopes that she can work with Chancellor Jack Hawkins and the faculty to continue furthering Troy’s growth and pushing for that quality.

Dearing said he saw a future where alumni would look fondly on the four years they spent at Troy as being the best four years of their lives that helped build them into the people they are today.

Director of Administration

Kaitlin Beyler, a sophomore biomedical science major from Alabaster; Blakelee Clack, a sophomore risk management insurance major from Dothan; and Blakely Davenport, a junior political science and communications double major from Spanish Fort, are all candidates for director of administration.

The first question they had to answer was about the experience they bring to the table that would make them a good director of administration.

Davenport said that she sat on the executive boards of multiple organizations, was the treasurer for Habitat for Humanity, and was the treasurer for her sorority. She has also worked with the administration on various occasions through the SGA.

Clack said that she worked with Freshman Forum and other organizations and has learned how to organize events, communicate effectively with people, and use networking capabilities to gain new information and relay that effectively.

Beyler said she has gotten to work under the current director of administration and see how she works on SGA. She also said that being Freshman Forum director taught her how to make better relationships with people and talk with the faculty.

Their second questions came from individual envelopes that they chose before the debate.

Beyler was asked about what would qualify her as the correct choice to oversee the daily running of the SGA.

“I am a very organized person and, with whatever I do, I always put 110 percent,” Beyler said. “I definitely think that my experiences and my passion for Troy and my love for its people will help me with this position and will help me elevate it to the next level.”

Clack’s question had to do with how she would improve the communication between SGA members.

“Some specific ways that I’d like to improve communication between SGA members is by cultivating relationships to where it goes further than just minutes or meeting once a week and we really get to know each other,” Clack said.

Davenport was asked about the experience she brings to the table that would make her a good director of administration.

“What I bring to this position is my knowledge and love for this university,” Davenport said. “I wasn’t sure about attending Troy University, but as soon as I got on campus and learned about the different opportunities on campus and the many organizations present here, I jumped right in.”

Director of Representation

Zachary Anglin, a junior risk management major from Charlottesville, Virginia; Rachel Carter, a sophomore computer science major from Athens; Kingston Hall, a sophomore risk management major from Birmingham; and Taylor Holt, a freshman nursing major from Huntsville, are all candidates for director of representation.

Their first question had to do with whether the SGA should be concerned about how its various members represent themselves on social media.

Holt said that as direct representatives of the university that are looked up to by the student body, it is important for the members of the SGA to represent themselves in a positive way.

Hall said it is important that members of the SGA do not create a negative image for the SGA or other organizations.

Carter said that, because social media is such a large part of society today, it is important that the SGA is represented well and creates a positive image through social media.

Anglin said that social media can be used as a positive tool, but oftentimes it is misused. Members of SGA should use that tool in the best way possible as they are the face and voice of the university, Anglin said.

For their second question, the candidates had to choose an envelope with an individual question.

Anglin was asked about his plan to represent all students and how he would make his role as director of administration count.

“We need to try to mend the divide between the student government and the students,” Anglin said. “One way to do that is to give voice to every student, whether they are Greek, non-Greek, athletes, non-athletes, or international students.”

Carter was asked about how she would improve the election process for candidates.

“One way I would improve is by creating a longer campaign period,” Carter said. “I feel like some candidates don’t have the same opportunity as others and they need more time to make sure their opinions are spread throughout campus and make sure that they are meeting the students they need to meet.”

Hall’s question was about how she would improve the selection of members to committees where the officer usually chooses the members.

“I think members need to go through an interview process to see what they can offer to those committees,” Hall said. “Those committees are based off of us, the SGA, and I want to make sure that they can be able to fulfill the job and the needs of other students.”

Holt was asked about the ways she would improve the election process for the voters.

“My goal as director of representation is to make sure that everything is correct on the online ballots before they are sent out to the students,” Holt said. “I also want to implement a database into the election in order to show the variety of voters that participate in each election.”

Vice President of Campus Activities

Douglas Dick, a junior risk management insurance major from Panama City, Florida, and Emma Turner, a sophomore exercise science major from Huntsville, are the two candidates running for vice president of campus activites.

For their first question, they were asked about a large event they had planned that would show their abilities to plan events like homecoming.

Turner said that she serves as the community service chair for her sorority. Through her position, she has planned events like Backpack for Kids, the Headstart Program, and many other events that benefited the Troy community.

Dick said that he served as a member of the Homecoming committee, as well as helping to plan events such as Minute to Win It, the blood drive, and service day.

For their second question, each candidate chose an envelope at random and answered an individual question.

Douglas was asked how he plans to represent every organization on campus so the large organizations aren’t the only ones able to get their feet in.

“I plan to hold a reception where students representing various organizations on campus can come and have a booth and show a little bit about what their organization does and what they stand for,” Dick said. “I think it’s very important for students from every walk of life and every different classification and affinity group on campus to have an opportunity to serve.”

Turner’s question was about one improvement she would make to homecoming.

“So one improvement I really want to stress during my term in regards to homecoming is that I really want to make sure there are more group activities, as well as individual activities,” Turner said. “Another idea I have is to include residence halls as part of the competition.”

Vice President of Legislative Affairs 

Laken Berry, a junior social work major from Athens, was the only candidate running for vice president of legislative affairs.

For her first question, Berry was asked about her plans to improve senator office hours and participation.

Berry said that she will have multiple things for senators to do in the office, but she will also have a list of things senators can go out and talk to students about in order to increase communication between the SGA and the student body.

For her second question, Berry was asked about how she would have senators represent the SGA.

“I would have the senators represent SGA well by having them go to different events and having them be a voice for the Student Government Association,” Berry said. “Forty-six senators represent 7,000 students and I want to make sure that every single voice is heard on campus.”

Voting for SGA offices will be on Wednesday, Feb. 22, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Voting is available through your Troy email.

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