Everything to know about the upcoming SGA election
Managing the funding for all student organizations and acting as a voice between the student body and upper administration, the Student Government Association plays a vital role in campus life.
SGA will hold presidential and vice-presidential elections beginning Tuesday and lasting until Friday.
To apply for either position, students must have served at least one full term in the SGA senate and have a minimum GPA of 2.8. Students can also run if they have been on cabinet for one full term.
In the running is presidential candidate Carter Barnett and vice-president candidate Stephen Malone as well as presidential candidate Balazs Varga and vice-president candidate Frank Reed.
Students can also write in candidates to be elected, if they meet the requirements. Presidential candidate Carter Barnett
As current chief of staff for SGA, Barnett has built his platform on three main goals: to lead in service, represent the voice of the student body and help foster community on Belmont’s campus.
“I feel like sometimes we’re part of different groups, and there’s not a lot of time to find that unity of being a Belmont Bruin. My goal is to help kind of foster that community and that unity,” said Barnett.
He also hopes to get SGA more involved in the Belmont community – so that student government is reaching out to students, instead of students reaching out to them.
Barnett believes this would allow SGA to bring more diverse voices to the attention of upper administration, so that everyone on campus is getting the attention they deserve.
Furthermore, Barnett is looking to increase community service opportunities on and off Belmont’s campus.
One way he feels he’s already been working to achieve these goals is by increasing SGA’s visibility within the student body.
“A bill I sponsored and passed this year was requiring senators to go to two organization or club meetings that they aren’t already affiliated with for a semester, so that they are within the student body community and seeing ways that they can use what the student body has,” said Barnett. “I feel like sometimes SGA is kind of in its little bubble. One of my goals is getting out of that bubble and being present at all these different events.” Vice-presidential candidate Stephen Malone
Running for re-election, junior Stephen Malone has served as vice president of SGA for the past year. He’s led the senate as it signed in legislation concerning funding for many campus organizations and a bill to put information about campus mental health services on the back of new student IDs.
“I want to be able to form connections with upper administration and be able to connect that with real problems of students,” said Malone. “I want to use our platform to tell the stories of others who could really make an impact on this campus.”
As with his running mate, Malone hopes to increase SGA’s visibility on campus in order to decrease isolation. He hopes to be able to bring the voices of diverse groups to upper administration.
“The bubbles can feel very isolated. And I’d like to do a lot of work to bring people together from different areas on campus physically and emotionally,” said Malone. “It’s good to form real relationships between people of different communities.” Presidential candidate Balazs Varga
Saying he hopes to inspire community engagement at Belmont, Varga runs on a platform of promoting student voices.
“Everybody should have a voice. Everybody should be heard. That’s what democracy is all about,” he said.
If elected, Varga’s main goals include getting more involvement from the student body in SGA by encouraging students to run as senators. He said that participation in government has always been one of his values.
In terms of specific campaign promises, Varga is currently working to put feminine hygiene products in all the women’s bathrooms around campus.
“I just want to make sure everyone knows about SGA. I want to make sure SGA listens to everybody, and hears voices, represents those voices, and gets things done to make sure that the quality of life here at Belmont is perfect – or as close to perfect as it can be.”
Varga said he loves hearing people’s voices – and hopes to represent those voices well should he be elected.
“I just want to make sure that everyone gets to participate, gets to learn, about what we at SGA do,” said Varga. “And also, that they get to learn about the greater political scene in our country.” Vice-presidential candidate Frank Reed
A freshman senator on SGA, Reed says his biggest goal as vice president is to expand student government.
“We have a lot of power. We’re granted from the school $50,000 to give out to clubs. We have a lot of authorization to meet with administration, to reach out to different clubs, organizations, people, and I feel like we don’t use it enough,” said Reed. “In my opinion, it feels as though it’s a pre-law resume builder, and we could be doing a lot more.”
In light of this, Reed said he hopes to specialize in outreach and expansion of SGA. This would mean making SGA part of regular life on campus, so that SGA can work on solving issues for students.
“I got into Belmont and I realized that there was something there that I cared about. It was a community that accepted me, that believed that I could do big things, and when I got to SGA, it was just more of that,” said Reed. “So, for me, vice president is the perfect position for me to get out into Belmont’s wider community, get out into the student body, and show them what student government can do for them.”
Belmont students can cast their vote for president and vice-president through BruinLink. The poll opens at 8 a.m. on Tuesday.
This article was written by Katie Beth Cannon