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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

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Meet the Student Body President candidates

Andrew+Barocco
Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker
Andrew Barocco

The Battalion sat down with the six Student Body President candidates to discuss their Aggie story, their prior involvement on campus and the platforms they are running on.
Andrew Michael Barocco ‘19
“The reason I originally decided to come to A&M was to pursue my absolute passion in life, my true love, which is plant breeding. That seems strange; some people are into sports or politics or bottle cap collecting, but I have a very unique hobby. I actually come up with new varieties that farmers and growers and home gardeners grow. When I got here, I really fell in love with the Aggie spirit, the traditions, the campus, the students and really just the culture of inclusiveness. What it means to me to be an Aggie is a very unique and valuable system of support and passion that is there for you all over the world. There are Aggies all over the world and if you meet another Aggie and you see that Aggie Ring, you know they’re going to help you out, and that is very unique to Texas A&M. That is why I am so proud, honored and humbled to be a part of the Aggie community.”

Involvement:

  • National President of The American Society for Horticultural Sciences – Association of Collegiate Branches from 2015-2016
  • Executive branch of student government at LSU (handled campus affairs and sustainability)

Platform at a glance:

  • Restore Bonfire with new safety measures
  • Support international students
  • Prohibit mandatory attendance
  • No homework for graduate students
  • Support for students of all faiths

Michael Champion ‘19
“I come from a very poor family in the dead center of Texas. I come from a small town called Bangs, Texas. My senior year, I was looking at colleges around the state to hopefully get out of Bangs. I eventually visited my friend here, Cameron Rockett, who was at Texas A&M a year before I was. I came down here and I stayed with him a night, and he took me to a Midnight Yell. I was just like, ‘This has got to be like a cult or something, there is just no way.’ I went to it and in my mind was just blown away by that point. I was like, ‘I have to come to A&M, this is just too good of an opportunity to pass up to just have this massive 60,000 member family.’”

Involvement:

  • Representative on Undergraduate Moot Court Team

Platform at a glance:

  • Invest in more parking garages
  • Expand list of excused absences
  • Encourage growth and development of new programs and organizations
  • Open communication between student body and SBP

John Jordan Feierabend ‘18
Write-in candidate
“I had no intention of coming to A&M, it just wasn’t a school that I thought of. All my family went to LSU, all my friends went to U of H or UT. One friend of mine got accepted into the engineering program here and I came for a three-day weekend trip and I immediately fell in love with College Station. Everything here, you name it, I fell in love with it and I was like, ‘Goodbye Houston, I’m coming to be an Aggie.’ I think it was an interesting experience at first for me. I came from a small two-year junior college, Lone Star College in Kingwood, where I got my associates, and I started at U of H, which is not half as big as A&M. Coming here, first I was like, ‘Oh my God everything is so big, there’s so many people.’ It really didn’t feel like I could fit in. Ironically, [I did.] This is just an amazing place where I have been able to just say what I want and be who I am. I have been accepted by any and everybody I’ve come in contact with. There’s never been any moment that I felt uncomfortable. There was never a moment that I wish I hadn’t come to A&M. I love every single moment of it. I’ve loved every single person I’ve met here. For me, the Aggie experience really is the fact that I found this great community. I wish I could just stay here forever, but we’re all going to graduate, we’re all going to move on. It’s just the amazing sense of community that I didn’t have to do anything but say, ‘Howdy, I’m John,’ and I already had friends.”

Platform at a glance:

  • Promote student involvement on campus
    • Improve student interactions with organizations
    • Provide leadership training to student organizations
    • Seek feedback from organizations to support growth
  • Implement student body feedback mechanisms for SGA and university administration
  • Promote student services
    • Connect students to underutilized services
    • Improve Transportation Services
    • Improve Disability Services

Harrison Hancock ‘19
“My whole family went to Baylor and I always thought I was going to Baylor. Then, my sister actually came down here following a boy to A&M. I still was like, ‘Eh, I don’t have any family besides my sister, I don’t know.’ Then, I came down here for a game and we played Missouri and it was raining. It should have been the worst night ever but I absolutely loved it. Still, I didn’t know anything about A&M when I finally decided to come here, but I moved down here into Hullabaloo with one of my best friends and got to get involved with amazing organizations. It’s been the best decision I’ve ever made, coming here, and not because I hate Baylor or hate t.u., but because I love this school.
I’ve had some of my friends lose parents or siblings over the last two-and-a-half years and it’s so sad to see the fragility of life, especially when we’re in college. It just seems to happen so much. It’s so sad that’s the world we live in, but the coolest thing is how many times I’ve seen people rallying around those people. I’m not just talking about Silver Taps, I’m not just talking about Muster. I’m talking about close friends joining in and paying for somebody’s Aggie Ring. I’m talking about close friends just rallying around and starting a Go Fund Me so they can go on spring break, which is so small but it goes such a long way. These are things I keep seeing over and over again. It’s so cool just to see how much people care about one another here. I’ve seen it so many times, and that’s what Aggie family means — stepping up and being there for those people.”

Involvement:

  • The Big Event Committee Member
  • Fish Aides
  • Philanthropy Chair for Aggie Men’s Club
  • Delagate for MSC Abbott Family Leadership Conference

Platform at a glance:

  • Collaborate with Transportation Services to improve parking and the bus system
  • Address overcrowding on campus with the Office of the Registrar
  • Keep student body aware of decisions made by the administration

Amy Sharp ‘19
“When I was in high school, many of my friends wanted to be an Aggie and it was so many that I kind of wanted to be different. My whole life, I was the one who aspired to leadership positions and went my own way, so I was like, ‘Oh no, I’m definitely not going to A&M because I have to be different. I’ve got to do my own thing.’ Then, I actually came to College Station for the first time and didn’t really have a choice in the matter after that. Everybody I met was so friendly, welcoming and loving that it was a pretty easy decision. My experience with the Aggie family has been so incredible. Getting to serve as the Class of 2019 President has put me right in the mix of everything and right in the middle of all the core values. Understanding what it means to be able to relate to people through those core values through our traditions, but also being able to stand next to someone and not say anything at all, like at Silver Taps, is a really cool experience because you have this inherent tie. That’s exactly what a family is for, to be able to be next to someone and not have to say anything at all.”

Involvement:

  • Three terms as Class of 2019 President
  • Muster Host
  • Strategic Philanthropy Program board member
  • Maroon & White Leadership Society
  • Qatar Leadership Exchange Program
  • Elect Her: Aggie Women Win Workshop Guest Speaker

Platform at a glance:

  • Increase funding for residence tutoring, SI instructors and academic scholarships
  • Improve student physical and mental health
  • Include all students in every organization in every tradition

Michael Zimmerman ‘18
“I am now a third-generation Aggie within my family. My sister graduated Class of 2014, so it was fun because she and I got to spend a year here in College Station together. So we made it a point to get lunch together and make sure we were still hanging out and being friends with each other. I decided to come to A&M after touring Rice and Baylor. I knew that A&M was something my family always loved and spoke very highly of, so I knew this was a good quality school with quality people. Then, I got to go tour Baylor and Rice, and really, just through touring those colleges, truly got to see what it meant to be here at A&M and the culture that’s here, the people and how different it is from other universities around the world. So I got to come to A&M my freshman year and I already knew a community here, because I had always been associated with A&M, had always heard about it, felt like I was a part of it from the moment I was born. My favorite thing about the Aggie experience so far has been the community I’ve gotten to see and grow here. I remember my freshman year, I was in a FLO and absolutely loved getting to meet all of these different people. Being an engineer, you don’t really have much of a social side within engineering and so it was incredible to see the differences in life that people were living while they were here at A&M, going through the same thing. My roommates are both business majors and I’m doing engineering and it’s always fun to come home at the end of the day and say the things that you’re learning and passionate about. They are so different than mine, but I love getting to talk about it.”

Involvement:

  • Executive Vice President of SGA
  • Vice President of Academic Affairs in SGA

Platform at a glance:

  • Support mental health through Student Counseling Services
  • Work with student services on issues such as dining, the absence policy and increasing campus safety, specifically regarding sexual assault
  • Work with students across the state to present a unified front to the Texas Legislature
  • Encourage unity and communication as an Aggie family

All candidate information compiled by Luke Henkhaus, Megan Rodriguez and Taylor Fennell. Photos by Cassie Stricker. Quotes have been edited for clarity.

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  • Michael Champion

    Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker
  • John Feierabend

    Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker
  • Harrison Hancock

    Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker
  • Amy Sharp

    Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker
  • Michael Zimmerman

    Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker
  • The six candidates for the position of Student Body President participated in a debate to educate their constituents and discuss the goals and visions of their incumbency.

    Photo by Photo by Madeline Ramos
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