Breaking down the 2019 SGA presidential platforms

Hendricks-Rose, Butzke-Gibas platforms offer similar goals under different direction

SGA members participate in President/Vice President debate as they both compete for office in Bovee Universrity Center on Monday, March 18.

Student Government Association elections are an opportunity for all students to participate in determining the future leadership of SGA – or as SGA Elections Director Greg Morgan said, the future representative voice of the student body.

“The (candidates) are potentially the people who will be your voice, so if you don't vote at all, you're not voting for your voice to be heard," he said.

With SGA’s debate introducing the candidates on Monday, the two presidential platforms offer similar goals under different direction. 

The president-vice president tickets include:

  • Incumbents Jake Hendricks and Lyndi Rose
  • Freshman Gabe Butzke and sophomore Lauryn Gibas

Hendricks and Rose currently serve as SGA president and vice president, but Butzke and Gibas hope to bring “fresh eyes” to SGA as newer members. 

Questions about the candidates' experience and qualifications have played a role in both campaigns, especially during Monday’s debate.

“(Hendricks and Rose) have a lot of experience – and I commend them for that – but I feel like because they have a lot of experience, they kind of have blinders on to the issues that (happen) on campus," Butzke said.

Rose said she and Hendricks have tried not to rely too much on experience, but their past work on SGA has influenced their current strategies and future goals. 

"(Incumbency) is an advantage for us, but it's also an advantage for SGA because with us coming back into office, the amount of work we can get done immediately without having to worry about 'How do we do this, how do we do that,' we already know," Rose said.

Despite different levels of experience, priorities such as safety, student outreach and diversity overlap in the candidates' platforms.

Gabe-Lauryn: “Light the Fire”

SGA President/Vice President candidates Gabe Butzke, right, and Lauryn Gibas, left, speak at the debate for office in the Bovee University Center Auditorium on Monday, March 18.

Butzke is a first-year SGA member, representing the College of Medicine as a senator, and Gibas is a first-semester house representative for Alpha Gamma Delta.

According to their website, the Gabe-Lauryn platform is centered around FIRE: Focused, inclusive, responsive and engaging.

  • To increase focus on students, Butzke and Gibas plan on tabling every Friday to collect student feedback.
  • Butzke and Gibas would like make SGA more inclusive by encouraging students to attend SGA meetings and events and reaching out to potential members while tabling.
  • Their platform calls for SGA to be more responsive in “coming up with concrete solutions to whatever problems the student body might have."
  • Butzke and Gibas want to make SGA less of a mystery by holding events that appeal to a “more diverse portion of the student body."

Hendricks-Rose: “Leading by Engaging”

SGA President/Vice President candidates Jake Hendricks, left, and Lyndi Rose, right, speak at the debate for office in the Bovee University Center Auditorium on Monday, March 18.

Hendricks and Rose have been in SGA for three years.

The Hendricks-Rose platform consists of four pillars: Academic success, diversity, equity and inclusion, civic awareness and community engagement.

  • To target academic success, Hendricks and Rose would like to increase resources for first generation college students and improve academic transparency.
  • Their platform involves generating awareness for Title IX, expanding the menstrual hygiene initiative and increasing cultural RSO representation in SGA.
  • In building civic awareness, Hendricks and Rose want SGA to work closely with the Mount Pleasant City Commission and encourage voting among the student body.
  • Hendricks and Rose want to make the Golden Gala a tradition and increase the campus program fund, which helps students fund entertainment and educational programs.

Bringing it together

Both tickets acknowledge that campaigning presents some challenges. 

Although Hendricks and Rose have campaigned in the past, compiling many different and specific ideas into one platform is still a difficulty.  

"We complete a lot of projects and initiatives as part of SGA, but part of the problem is that they're all so specific and target different issues on campus students care about (which makes) bringing them all together and presenting it as one vision (challenging)," Hendricks said.

For Butzke and Gibas, they are working to "overcome the incumbent advantage" in their campaign.

“I'm happy with how things are going, and it's obviously going to be a tough election," Butzke said. "People really like Jake and Lyndi, and I think people like us so far. Everybody we talk to is really excited, so I think it's going to be close but I'm feeling good about it."

Regardless of the final election results, all of the candidates promise to stick with SGA in the the next year.

Voting will take place on OrgSync March 24-29, and all students are encouraged to participate.