SG presidential candidates focus on student communication
Published: Friday, April 8, 2011
Updated: Sunday, April 10, 2011 17:04
Signs around campus stating "I'm not a meanie, vote for Sweeney" and "Don't be silly, vote for Willie" can only mean one thing.
It's election time. Voting for candidates will continue through April 12.
Communication with the student body is a key issue in this year's Student Government presidential race. At the tri-council forum on April 7, the two candidates both agreed that this is an area that can be improved.
Candidate Willie Eggleston,a junior pre-pharmacy major who is currently serving as the SG executive board treasurer, said there are student issues going unresolved because of a lack of communication.
"I feel like there's a big disconnect between students and administration and I feel that's our job as the middlemen to take care of that and I don't think we're doing the best job we can right now," Eggleston said.
Eggleston proposed that a bimonthly forum be set-up in the Student Union Building during club hours. He also felt the Wednesday SG meeting slot of 6 p.m. is a difficult time, and there should be a more convenient way to express concerns.
Eggleston would like to see a blog or online forum developed where students can provide feedback.
"I feel like convenience is big, because no one's going to come out on a Wednesday night at 6 o'clock – they have dinner, they're studying – but if some has five minutes and can jump on the website, and they have a serious complaint they want to bring about, they can do it really quickly that way, and they can do it in their dorm at 11 o'clock at night," Eggleston said.
The other presidential candidate, accounting and business administration sophomore John Sweeney, agreed there should be more outlets for students.
"Ultimately, we are here to serve the student body, so I think we should be in close contact with them," Sweeney said.
In addition to increased electronic contact, Sweeney promised to hold personal office hours at least twice a week for students to come into the SG office and express concerns and suggestions. He would encourage other members to hold office hours as well, so there would ultimately be a representative in the office every day.
Through the presidential position, Sweeney hoped to bring more impromptu events to campus, such as the past examples of hot chocolate offered on Sundays and free Rita's Italian water ice randomly in the SUB.
"I think it's good to just provide that little support, and little extra bright spot in the day," Sweeney said.
In terms of programming, Eggleston would like to strengthen current events by increasing participation and school spirit.
"That's one thing that bugs me about Wilkes, that there's not a whole lot of excitement to be here, and I think that that's partially our fault, because it's our job to make the campus a welcoming and fun environment to be one," Eggleston said.
Eggleston cited strong event planning this year that he would like to maintain through techniques like cutting admission costs. He said Spring Fling attendance increased from about 130 to 320 students, and Winter Weekend rose from 50 attendees to about 150.
A trend that Eggleston noticed was more student requests for funding to further careers, such as money to pay for conferences and academic organizations Eggleston said he would like a more even balance between entertainment and academics.
"One of the big things we've noticed this year is more and more students are coming in for money for academic reasons," Eggleston said. "I think the demand is really increasing for students who want to use their activities fees for things to further their career, or build their resume."
One goal that both candidates have is building global initiatives, which began as an idea from the current SG president, Benjamin Beidel. These would include displays and sessions to increase awareness on issues about diversity and safety.
"I think that's something that's really important, and something that can be brought to this campus," Eggleston said.
Sweeney has been involved SG for two years as treasurer and vice-president/acting president for the class of 2013. He has helped organize Fall Fest, Casino Night and Winter Weekend.
Eggleston also has two years experience with SG, as treasurer and class representative for the class of 2012. He coordinated and ran the two most recent Casino Nights.
Voting instructions were sent to all students, and votes will be accepted until April 12.