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Colin Haslett and Jessica Blakley announce SGA presidential campaign

SGA presidential candidate Colin Haslett and vice presidential candidate Jessica Blakley want to make sure SGA is accessible for all Belmont students.

To do this, they plan to work with the university to improve counseling services, give out more money to student organizations and give students more platforms to voice opinions that can lead to meaningful legislation.

Haslett, a junior accounting major, has been involved in SGA since his freshman year. In that time, he’s held three different leadership positions — finance committee chair, student body treasurer and director of campus outreach and events.

“I’m qualified because of those positions. I had the experience on cabinet for two years, so I’ve seen the inner workings. I know what works and can’t work, so I’m not gonna make any promises that I can’t uphold,” he said.

Blakley also brings legislative experience to the table. She’s been involved in SGA since her freshman year, and she’s currently interning with Tennessee State Senator Jack Johnson and the Commerce and Labor Committee.

“I’ve had experience analyzing bills and getting really familiar with all of that, which I think is something I want to encourage as vice president to the body, to write legislation,” she said.

Haslett agrees that legislation is one of the most important things he wants to focus on if he’s elected, because meaningful legislation will help make SGA more recognizable with the student body. He realized recently that few students know what SGA is, and even fewer know what it can do for them.

“I think it’s been the goal of the past couple administrations to make SGA more accessible. That’s been a huge issue. I think what we’re going to use is our own creative ideas on how we’re going to do that, but I think we can also enlist the help of the rest of SGA and make it more of a team effort,” Blakley said.

Haslett and Blakley believe they can use their platform to push for legislation that really matters to students, and they plan to hold more town halls and other events that give students opportunities to voice concerns.

“A big thing for me is finding a solution for counseling services. I saw that was a need, and several students expressed that need to me, so I’m looking forward to upper administration finding some type of solution,” Haslett said. “I don’t know what that solution is at this point, I don’t know what can feasibly be done, but I look forward to at least starting negotiations and doing whatever we can do.”

Beyond legislation, one of SGA’s most important tasks is giving out money to student organizations through grant petitions.

“We have the ability to give out a lot of money to student organizations,” Blakley said. “A lot of the organizations do know that, but a lot also don’t, or they don’t use it.”

Haslett wants to continue the work he did as finance committee chair and treasurer, focusing on encouraging student organizations to apply for grant petitions, but he also wants to get even more money to give out to those groups, he said.

“I fully intend on asking for additional funding from the new dean of students and whoever I need to ask. I think Dr. Fisher and everybody else knows how impactful that grant petition line is, we give it away 100 percent every time. We only have $45,000 but yet we’re petitioned for $150,000 plus every year, but we don’t get an increase in budget. So I fully intend on asking for an increase in funding,” he said. “There’s no reason for us to be petitioned for three times more than we give out. That’s not fair to students.”

Haslett and Blakley also want to create more leadership opportunities for students around campus, especially for those who aren’t involved in Greek life or other student organizations.

As far as his own leadership, one of Haslett’s biggest strengths is his ability to turn ideas into action, he said.

“Talk is cheap, but I think that we can definitely execute. And that’s what I do. When people think of what Colin does on SGA, I might not come up with the ideas, but I execute on the ideas,” he said. “My cabinet will tell you that I don’t say yes to a lot of things, but when I do say yes it’s 100 percent. I don’t want to say yes and then not give 100 percent into it.”

Students can vote for SGA president and vice president on BruinLink from April 4-6.

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