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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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Representation and tradition on the agenda at SBP candidate debate

Student+body+president+candidates+Misael+Jimenez%2C+Michael+Barrera%2C+Mikey+Jaillet%2C+Gregory+Cross+and+Caroline+Moore+answered+questions+on+finances%2C+traditions%2C+diversity+and+more+at+a+debate+in+the+MSC+Flag+Room+Tuesday+night.
Photo by Meredith Seaver

Student body president candidates Misael Jimenez, Michael Barrera, Mikey Jaillet, Gregory Cross and Caroline Moore answered questions on finances, traditions, diversity and more at a debate in the MSC Flag Room Tuesday night.

Piano music can be heard echoing from the flag room almost every evening, but on Tuesday night, the voices of all five student body president candidates filled the room instead.
The Aggies contending for the office gathered on Tuesday to share their individual stories and visions for the student body. The debate, mediated by Director of the Aggie Honor System Office Tim Powers, allowed the candidates to highlight their campaign platforms, personal experiences and the changes they want to see on the Texas A&M campus.
Political science junior Caroline Moore, who emphasized student safety and the importance of resources that help students with the financial burden of college, said her time as a student senator has prepared her for the position of student body president. She applauded the diversity displayed in the panel with LGBTQ+, Latino and female candidates represented.
“I also believe we should focus on the candidate who is going to represent all of our student body as a whole,” Moore said. “And it’s not just uniting Aggies as one, but it’s uniting the Aggie family, and taking special time to recognize every single voice so we’re not having populations of students being underrepresented like they have for years on our campus.”
Expanding on a core element of his platform, history junior Gregory Cross said the implementation of open education resources has proven to be successful over the past year, citing the biology and psychology department’s use of the resources. Cross said these efforts collectively saved students over $2 million on textbooks.
“I think that’s an initiative that your student body president can push to all departments, and at least the intro classes,” Cross said. “We can really implement those textbooks and save our students some money.”
Sociology junior Misael Jimenez said he elected to wear a penguin suit throughout campaign season because it represents the willingness he has to meeting students where they are.
“If we don’t meet students where they’re at by actively engaging ourselves with the students and without this air… I don’t think we’re going to be able to most directly create impacts within the students,” Jimenez said.
Manufacturing and mechanical engineering technology junior Michael Barrera referenced his leadership in the Corps of Cadets and said that he intends to be a visionary leader, working with other leaders around campus and trusting those assigned as his council.
“The administration here has been here much longer than us, and it starts with working with people like that, ensuring that we are being taken in the right direction,” Barrera said. “You’re leading the students, but at the same time you’re following the guidance of the administration and ensuring that the communication there is clear.”
When asked how he will improve the spirit of A&M, Cross referenced changes to Elephant Walk that were implemented by Class Councils this year and said that he intends to have roundtables with former students to discuss traditions from a multi-sided perspective.
“I think having that dialogue of new traditions and our current but old traditions — maybe some traditions to be forgotten over time — I think that’s important and something that would really unite us,” Cross said.
Finance junior Mikey Jaillet, who has served as the Interfraternity Council president, said that in order to improve communication among Aggies, roundtables should be monthly so they can gain traction.
“I also believe that we need to create monthly town halls as well that are just an open forum,” Jaillet said. “I think this two-prong approach is the right way to improve the dialogue between SGA, administrators and all of the Aggies as well.”
Barrera said the support all candidates show toward the ongoing Matthew Gaines statue initiative is an example of how they all share similar visions and platforms.
“Take comfort in knowing that there are similarities,” Barrera said. “The Matthew Gaines statue, all five of us are committed to ensuring that that goal is met.”
Voting for student elections will be open online at vote.tamu.edu on Thursday and Friday.

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