GUEST COLUMN: Garza-Hull will face campus issues head-on

Rafael "Sammy" Garza and Lauren Hull are one of three tickets running for SGA executive positions.

This past year, we have been deeply inspired by the engagement of students across campus. From the vocal dissent around issues with campus dining to the protests about Lot 22. 

Students at CMU want to be heard. We feel that SGA should be doing more to make sure that happens – that’s why we’re running for SGA President & Vice President.

While we may hold the least amount of power in SGA currently, we have the most accomplishments. We know how to work with administration to get things done and we know that our platform is achievable.

This year, we have been right on the ground with you. Rafael “Sammy” Garza wrote the food quality petition and partnered with Cassidy Maslowsky, the author of the petition for the closure of South & Towers Dining facilities, to gain momentum around the issue. We met with Campus Dining and implemented real incremental changes such as an increase in food quality and the restoration of a salad bar in Social House. 

The administration has promised that the closure of North Campus will fix issues with Campus Dining. Because of our ongoing working relationship with Campus Dining, we are the perfect ticket to ensure that this actually happens.

As student employees, it’s disheartening to hear stories of students across campus whose employers have been less than flexible or outright unwilling to provide them with their full entitled rights and benefits. These abuses will continue to occur unless there is a unified voice advocating for student employees. That is why we want to create a Student Employee Liaison. 

Issues of accessibility at CMU are also important. Lauren Hull identifies as a student with disabilities and has been engaged in disability justice work her entire undergraduate career. We propose creating a Student Disability Liaison to work with Student Disability Services (SDS) and to address broader issues of accessibility on campus, which oftentimes do not fall under the purview of SDS.

We also need to make the programs SGA has are functional. That means revising SBAC by opening the funds so that RSOs can use the money to fund more than just events and conferences. We also want to create a small RSO loan so that all voices on campus utilize the funds.

Our other platform ideas includes fighting for commuter parking, fixing the tampon initiative so that it is being restocked, creating a community garden (idea courtesy of Sen. Makayla Spencer), creating an RHA liaison, creating a housing discount for upperclassman who continue to live on campus, touching base with every RSO at the start of every semester, stopping Parking Services from fining students for backing into spots, adding a town hall every semester, and doing weekly press releases about everything happening in SGA.

Our campaign is about advocating for realistic change. It is important to acknowledge that the Student Government Association budget is only $35,000. $24,000 of that is earmarked for office expenses such as committee funding. That means each candidate only has access to $11,000 to implement their ideas. 

We believe the student body deserves accountability from all candidates to ensure that our ideas are practical, and we can make good on our promises.

We are running for executive cabinet because, like all of you, this university has become an integral part of our lives. We see the potential here. We are the ticket to enact the change needed for students to finally feel fired up about CMU again. 

Student Government Association Executive Board Elections are held virtually from March 28 to April 1. Students can vote for a ticket via Engage Central.