Should I run for Student Body President?
I encourage any student with a passion for bringing tangible change to campus to run for Student Body President. Having the opportunity to regularly meet with our administrators like Dr. Villegas and Dr. Hansen-Keiffer, not to mention President Phipps, is undoubtedly the most effective manner to promote institutional change on campus. Additionally, the ability to provide input on our student governance directly shapes the student experience by offering direction for student clubs and organizations. The ability to influence both the policy both at the university and student level renders the position indispensable.
I will admit that the task is not easy, and that certainly not everyone will be satisfied by what you decide. There are numerous committees that the Student Body President must attend each month. Additionally, there are an extensive number of emails and correspondence that are necessary for the President to keep on top of or else it will pile up quickly. But the primary responsibility of the President comes through in giving leadership to the President’s Executive Cabinet.
The necessary marks of any effective Student Body President then demand that they are not only passionate about their agenda, but also strong communicators and leaders. Anyone who wants to serve as Student Body President should consider how they could contribute to the professional elements of their peers, as well as their action steps towards making Messiah University a better place.
What’s the process for becoming Student Body President?
An unbiased election committee is formed comprising representatives both in and outside SGA. The election committee sends a mass email in February with a petition for applicants of each candidate pair to gather 200 signatures from students. They don’t have to be 200 unique signatures each, but they do have to tally to 200 in total for each person.
After submitting the signatures to the election committee, the committee will confirm their eligibility per SGA’s Governance Manual. Once approved, applicants should get their pictures taken and begin to develop their campaign posters. Candidates have the week prior to the Town Hall Debate in the Larsen Student Union to campaign around campus.
Generally, the first Wednesday of March is the Town Hall Debate, where candidates debate one another on stage. Following the debate, elections are open for 48 hours. The results are verified, the candidate pairs are notified of the results Friday evening, and the campus is informed of the results the following Monday.
How can I get ready for February?
First and foremost, find someone else who has similar passions to address issues on campus. Prior to campaigning two years ago, America and I had never met before. But the current president Tetsuo introduced us, and we found a common interest in aiding to make SGA more transparent and improving mental health resources on campus.
Second, I would welcome anyone considering running to reach out to me and I would be more than happy to reach out with advice. Even though last year was an uncontested election, I still have the experience of a contested election from when America and I campaigned together. I think some of the best ideas we had came from conversations on the campaign trail. I hope we have a contested election this year so that we can have more fruitful, thought-provoking conversation that ultimately benefits all of campus.