The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Ben Crockett, political science junior

What is your Aggie story? 

Coming from Aggieland, I always [knew] that I had to go to Texas A&M. Both my folks were Aggies, and my grandparents and great-grandparents were Aggies. The moment that I could, I applied to Texas A&M, and I've been so fortunate with the opportunities that I've received because of it.

What organizations are you involved with?

[I’m] involved over with student government, heavily involved in the Bush School. I was a Bush ambassador. Yeah, a little bit of this, a little bit of that. It's a charcuterie board. I've gone through college trying all the cheeses.

Why are you running for student body president, and why do you think you’re qualified for this position?  

I'm running because of some conversations that I've had with good friends of mine. It was in September of this past year, when a friend of mine told me that she lived with five roommates. She could only have three, or she would get a $1,200 fine from the City of College Station. She asked me two questions. The first was, “How can I have that conversation was one of my roommates to ask them to leave?” And the second was, and then “How can I pay for two empty bedrooms?” And so this issue of affordability really has motivated my campaign, whether we're talking about Scantrons, or textbooks — where we pay more than T.U. and Alabama — or simply the issue of “no more than four.” I'm waiting for this to get sliced in all sorts of ways.

I'm qualified because of my experience in policy. The role of the student body president is to serve students by representing them in advocacy. My background is in policy. All my internships have been in policy and my degree suits that sort of work. Being published in a variety of papers in the field of policy I think is also very helpful. At the end of the day, we need a student body president that knows not just the facts, but also how to use them.

What is your campaign platform?

I've always believed that small groups of dedicated individuals can change just about anything. A vote for Ben Crockett means a vote to fight “no more than four.” A vote for Ben Crockett means a commitment to help make Texas A&M tangibly and incrementally more affordable.

I'd say that my main platform centers around the issue of affordability. We've made a commitment to be data-driven. And so here's some quick statistics: Over 50% of African American and Hispanic students at A&M worried about having enough money for food each month. We pay $900 a year on average per student. For textbooks, our rent is higher than 89% of the state. We have a housing burden that's comparable to the San Francisco Bay area. These are huge problems, problems that are difficult for any candidate. You need a student body president to tackle and ultimately, many of them aren't fully solvable. But here's some tangibles that we would like to do to make the lives of students at A&M better. 

The first is we want to encourage widespread adoptions of OERs, which you can conceive of as essentially free textbooks. They save students, an average of $124 per class that they're implemented in. The next is free Scantrons in a similar way, that's been done at the University of Central Florida. And then a third point on education would be creating more textbook scholarships to help Aggies in need. 

Going to the issue of food insecurity. One of the main problems that we have is connecting needs with resources, the Student Government Association has their own food bank, but I know that as [an] organization, we've done a poor job of assisting them in advertising and finding those students that that truly do need our help. 

When it comes to the housing issues, it's twofold. We turned away over 2,000 students for dorm rooms this past year, which quite frankly, is an unacceptable number. Then we have the “no more than four,” which on June 1, students living with more than four people will be fined $1,200. So how we attack those two issues is primarily through the lens of advocacy of which there are two primary methods. The first is your grassroots attempt, and the other is media pressure. We got about 100 students to go to City Hall last fall, about 1,700 signed a petition that we made, and that was very successful at getting part of the no more than four issue ameliorated. And the same thing should be done when it comes to the on-campus housing issue. That I think is just a brief synopsis. 

The truth that I think we all know is one,  affordability suffers participation and traditions suffer. I was working at Brazos Running my sophomore year, and I had, it felt like almost every Saturday morning shift. It's an incredible company. But I had to miss a lot of football games. And I couldn't go to a lot of Midnight Yells the day before. When students are working two, three jobs, it becomes very difficult to participate in those organizations. Those activities that make the Aggie experience what it really is.

Campaign slogan

Count on Crockett.

Why do you think students should vote for you? 

I think that students who want to see tangible change — who are facing food insecurity, facing high education costs and are, just like so many of us, scared by the $1,200 fine that they may face on June 1, because of no more than four — those students, I think should vote Ben Crockett for change. If you're a student that has friends in those situations, I think that also those would be the students that we'd like to help the most.

If you could hang out with any former student, who would it be and why? 

My great-granddad was a former student, and he was in the Corps and, as family lore goes, part of the company that found the first Reveille, and I just think that it'd be so cool to travel back in time and see that story unfold.

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