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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

The Battalion

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Student body president debate offers chance for candidates to discuss platforms

Student+Body+President+candidates+Shelby+Lepley%2C+Caleb+Zuniga%2C+Evan+Berger%2C+David+Cabrera%2C+Trey+Richardson%2C+Eric+Mendoza+and+Edgar+Rivera+participated+in+a+debate+Tuesday%2C+Feb.+18.
Photo by Photo by Joshua Sozio

Student Body President candidates Shelby Lepley, Caleb Zuniga, Evan Berger, David Cabrera, Trey Richardson, Eric Mendoza and Edgar Rivera participated in a debate Tuesday, Feb. 18.

All seven candidates for 2020-2021 student body president gathered in the MSC Flag Room for the SBP Debate hosted by Student Government Association.
The debate on Feb. 18 was moderated by Angela Winkler, assistant director of Student Life, and consisted of three rounds of questions submitted by the student body prior to the event. The candidates who participated in the event were Evan Berger, David Cabrera, Shelby Lepley, Eric Mendoza, Trey Daniel Richardson, Edgar Rivera and Caleb Zuniga. Throughout the evening, each candidate explained what their platforms stand for and what they hope to achieve as student body president if elected.
Richardson, an agricultural economics junior, said serving as junior class president for the past year has given him the most experience to run for the role of student body president.
“It has taught me how to have a personable connection with the person that you’re currently speaking with, even though you’re dealing with all these outside things,” Richardson said. “If you want to get the best out of people that you’re working with on a daily basis, you need to make sure that you’re giving them the time and attention to help develop them, and also realize that they, in turn, are developing you through that process.”
All the candidates listed multiple ways they have been involved on campus, from Student Government Association to Fish Camp, to credit their leadership and service experience, but Lepley, an agricultural economics junior, said she has impacted the university in the way she goes about her daily life and chooses to interact with people.
“Everyone on this stage is very qualified in terms of their involvement, but I think it’s important to realize that [service and leadership] have less to do with positions and involvement in organization and more with what you choose to do with your time,” Lepley said. “For me, it’s that extra hour I put in here on campus to make sure that a student feels welcome. It’s the extra hours I’ve spent mentoring prospective students that have questions about this university and investing in that first generation student that doesn’t necessarily know how to navigate this school.”
Berger, an agricultural leadership and development junior, also said service and leadership go further beyond the things that he engages his time with.
“Service is a huge and very important quality for leadership and for an individual who engages in leadership to possess and to exemplify,” Berger said. “Personally, I choose to serve everyone around me in ways that not a lot of people get to see, and I think that’s one of the most impactful things that you can do.”
Mendoza, an economics junior, said his platform of collaboration is working to expand SGA’s external communication with colleges and organizations.
“I think we all are within a certain bubble … so we need to do a better job of recognizing that this campus has far more than just what we’re involved in,” Mendoza said. “Whether that’s the MSC, the SGA, Corps of Cadets or whatever college you’re in, we need to expand that to include the C.O.A.L.S. Council, the Student Engineering Council and the Business Student Council and work with what is happening with involvement on this campus because with that comes a more unified student voice.”
On the question of inclusivity on an increasingly diverse campus, Rivera, a political science junior, said he is looking forward to taking on the issues that come with more diversity on campus. 
“These are issues that I have faced myself as a first generation Latino student,” Riviera said. “I’ve been a victim of racial slurs; I’ve been a victim to homophobic slurs. I know what our students are going through, so everything that I’ve done since I came to this university has been to provide a home away from home to students of different communities of color, different religious backgrounds and different socioeconomic backgrounds.”
Rivera said he plans to propose a change to the Aggie Honor Code to raise awareness for respect of underrepresented communities.
“One of the things I actually hope to do as student body president is propose a change to the Aggie Honor Code and make it: ‘An Aggie does not lie, cheat, steal, disrespect others or tolerate those who do,’” Rivera said.

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