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

The Battalion

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

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SGA hosts student body president debate

The+nine+student+body+president+candidates+gathered+in+the+MSC+Flag+Room+to+share+platforms+and+answer+questions+from+the+student+body.
Photo by Photo by Aubrey Vogel

The nine student body president candidates gathered in the MSC Flag Room to share platforms and answer questions from the student body.

The nine candidates for 2022-23 student body president gathered in the Memorial Student Center’s Flag Room for the annual Student Body President Debate, hosted by the Student Government Association.
The Feb. 22 debate featured three rounds of questions, consisting of a general question for all candidates regarding their platform, a question from a randomly drawn fellow candidate and a choice of five questions submitted by students prior to the event, with time for an opening and closing statement and rebuttals. The forum allowed for students to get to know the candidates ahead of voting in the election this week on March 3-4.
Focusing much of his platform on diversity, inclusion and equity, performance studies and political science junior Logan Mohr said a goal of his is to create a welcoming environment for all students.
“Diversity, inclusion, community and equity are not just about numbers. They’re not just about statistics, but they’re about how our students feel,” Mohr said. “My campaign’s initiative is to move the Aggie community toward a more diverse and more inclusive and equitable culture. We have a job here to study diversity to help our students, we have an investment to help our students and vascular body by enacting change to show as a leadership that we are invested in our students. That is the No. 1 call, is that we’re invested … in our student body. And that’s what I’m here to do. I’m going to put that leadership into action because words have meaning.”
With a fun-loving approach, agricultural economics junior Meghan Hein built her campaign around the word “G.L.O.W.,” having each letter stand for a pillar of her campaign. Hein emphasized the importance of growing A&M and touched on finding a way to better fund needed projects on campus which benefit the student body.
“I want to touch on my true leadership philosophy, once again, that leadership is an action, not a position. I’ve been able to have all these diverse experiences and been able to fight for students in these conversations with administration, and it has not stopped here. Whether or not my name is called out in Kyle Field Plaza after 7 p.m. for student body president, I’m not going to stop fighting with the students,” Hein said. “I want to still continue to fit this in the student government so we can affect real change.”
Biomedical sciences sophomore Christian Newton said he intended on making the SBP position accessible to all students by going out in the campus community to find what the student body needs and desires for the university.
“[The goal of my campaign] is to reach out to every single student, it’s a lot more than sending emails or putting sandwich boards out on campus, but being right there with the students,” Newton said. “At the end of the day it’s about always being sure that every single student feels a part of the Aggie family, whether that is me walking the halls, me just handing out flowers or donuts on campus. It’s about really being with the students.”
Emphasizing the importance of diverse student voices, finance junior Jacob Pratt said he built his platform around students’ needs after meeting with a variety of students from Greek life to construction science majors. Pratt said he wants to focus on how all parts of student life can benefit from campus.
“Well, one is for certain, people have always been my passion and why I feel most indebted to this university and why I want to give back the most. I could have gone to a number of other schools, but this is the place for me,” Pratt said. “When I was building my platform, I went to lunch with a number of different people from all over campus — the Corps of Cadets, Greek life, men’s org[anizations], women’s org[anizations], Fish Camp, a variety of majors from construction science, engineering, you name it. While my experience here has been better than excellent, there are some real, practical and tangible ways we can make that the experience for everyone.”
Comparing his Aggie story to his personal move to the U.S. from Nigeria, public health senior Noble Udoh said it is important the SBP is connected with Aggies.
“I’m running for student body president because I want to leave Texas A&M better than I found it,” Noble said. “I left Nigeria to come to the U.S. to take care of my family through opportunities here, and I am running for student body president because I want to take care of the Aggie family.”
SBP candidate Victor Ferro, mechanical engineering junior, echoed a similar feeling of community from Mohr, though his platform had emphasis on ensuring students were the first priority when making decisions regarding university changes and on creating a stronger Aggieland.
“At the end of the day, students are the core of this institution, students create their lives in this institution,” Ferro said. “We do this by making sure the students [and] the community around the students is taken care of; to make sure that students are first by allowing for them to grow and develop tomorrow’s leaders; consider organizations who make sure that students go first by having them in those conversations that affect their student life and not getting excluded from that.”
After serving on multiple committees within student government and on various presidential cabinets on campus, poultry science and agricultural leadership and development junior Helena MacCrossan said she is focused on improving the transition in between student body presidents to continue the legacy of programs created each year, such as the Period Project.
“Something I really want to look at during my campaign, especially and ultimately during my term, is how we prioritize [long- and short-term projects], but also find that continuity for those multiple projects so that we’re not starting from scratch each year,” MacCrossan said. “I want to really start with direct access to student leaders and ultimately to our administration and this will help and also provide direct communication, so that we don’t have students who feel lost, or assure them that things aren’t just changing around.”
Making traditions a forefront effort of his campaign, finance junior Case Harris advocated for an increased focus on A&M traditions in the mandatory freshman class, Hullabaloo U. Many candidates took interest in this aspect of his campaign and asked questions regarding the implementation and importance of traditions education.
“It’s a great opportunity for us as a university and even SGA to teach students what’s important to Aggieland and what’s important to Texas A&M,” Harris said. “It’s not that people don’t care about or like the traditions at Texas A&M, it’s that a lot of people don’t know they exist or what they are about or why they are important to us. I think they are so important to us because they unify us and make sure every Aggie is included, and that’s a beautiful thing.”
Stating that he decided to run for the position on a whim, sport management junior Nicholas Zang said even though he does not have a background in student government, he has a burning passion for the university and the student voice. Having no platform and instead focusing on what is important to the students, Zang was questioned by many other candidates who were interested in how he planned to move Aggieland forward if elected.
“I want to use this platform to point out what makes this place so special and how it feels the university is straying away from its true identity. I personally decided to commit to this university since there’s nothing like Aggieland and the traditions of this university. To me, what makes Aggieland special does not have to do with athletics, student government or even academics. The real thing that makes this university special is the traditions and community that we have,” Zang said.
“Traditions like Midnight Yell, Silver Taps, Bonfire Remembrance, Muster, Aggie Rings, pennies on Sully, our yells and ‘Whooping,’ the Corps of Cadets and the old tradition of building the greatest bonfire this world has ever seen, which is represented by a burning desire of Aggies to BTHO ‘t.u.’ — no other place on earth has such a rich culture like this university has.”
Voting for SBP will open on Thursday, March 3 at 9 a.m. on vote.tamu.edu, and will close on Friday, March 4 at 12 p.m. Results will be announced at 7 p.m. on March 4.
Editor’s Note: Candidates appear in the article in the order in which they spoke.

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