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From the field to the platform

DeMario Jones is used to being a leader. After all, he is a captain on the Valdosta State football team. However Jones is currently running for a different kind of leadership role than many people would expect for a five foot 10 inch, 300-pound defensive tackle known for wreaking havoc on opposing offenses.
Thesenior Political Science major from Jacksonville, Fla. has decided to run for President of the Student Government Association in order to see changes be made on campus.
“Just making changes is the main reason to why I joined SGA in the first place,” Jones said. “I am not your typical athlete. I do want to get out and meet people and get to know other students and a lot of the concerns that I have as an athlete are the concerns that students who don’t play football but work have as well.”
Jones and his running mate, junior Business Education major Aaron Gibson, listed several things that are on their list of improvements.
“We pay one of the highest tuitions in the University System, so basically we feel as though students should get what they’re paying for,” Jones said. “We have identified something like the student healthcare center being open on the weekends for students who get sick then, and we also want to propose a late night dining service. There are a lot of students in the library late at night that could use a meal.”
One of the main goals for Jones and Gibson is to bring unity back to the SGA and unite the senators to accomplish the goal of improving the campus.
“The unity is just not there right now,” Jones said. “I know from playing on a national championship team that it takes unity in order to get things done and it takes unity to get things accomplished.”
Since making the decision to run for President and Vice-President, Jones and Gibson have spent countless hours building a strong campaign. The two have put together several videos that have been made available on YouTube, sent out campus wide e-mails, created and designed banners and posters, and received several endorsements from campus organizations.
Jones, who enrolled at Valdosta State in the fall of 2007, credits football for preparing him for the SGA presidency.
“When I came in as a freshman, having the immediate impact that I had, seniors looked up to me,” Jones said. “I have been in this light for about four years now, so SGA was really nothing different to me.”
Since Jones will be busy with football in the fall, when his presidency would begin, Jones is prepared to delegate the responsibilities to his senators and his vice president and use his time wisely.
“I have done as much research as I can on this,” Jones said. “As far as time management and what is going to be expected of me and all of that goes back to being accountable. I do a lot of that in football.”
The SGA elections are being held on April 19 and April 20. Other candidates for the position include Chris Nish and Ryan Brown. Students are encouraged to vote and can do so online through a link which will be made available on the Valdosta State University homepage.

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