Written by:Joe Adgie
Students can vote online today and tomorrow in the SGA election.
Voting started at midnight last night and will continue until 11:59 p.m. tomorrow night.
Headlining the elections are presidential candidates Tyler Barker and Tamelonie Thomas, who both spoke of their platforms on Wednesday.
“I believe a lot of power is in the student body,” Thomas said during the debate on Wednesday night. “This is our campus, and our changes that we want to see can be done by all of us.”
Thomas also expressed a desire to improve VSU’s retention rate.
“Here at VSU, we do have a low retention rate for students,” Thomas said. “I feel as if this can be improved if we, as the student body, took it to ourselves to reach out to someone, your fellow Blazer−reach out and get to know them.
“Because once someone has a support system that’s standard, and they know it’s there for them, that’s going to make them second guess leaving and going to another school,” Thomas said.
Thomas also wants student organizations to reach out and work with other organizations.
“A lot of different organizations want to have more mixture in their programs and in the services that they do, and I would encourage each organization to take the first step,” Thomas said. “The first step is outreaching to other organizations you would like to partner with.”
Thomas also hopes to inspire the members of the legislative board.
“I want to plant the seed in the people who are leading up under me and all the senators,” Thomas said. “I want them to feel as though they can achieve anything they want to achieve at VSU.”
Her opponent, Tyler Barker, spoke in detail about his platform.
“My platform, essentially, stands for student empowerment, pride, tradition and unity,” Barker said. “I want the university to be aware of the amount of power that we actually have.
“Essentially, we all came together as one against the masses. We actually have more power than President McKinney himself, but a lot of students just don’t know it,” Barker said.
Barker said that the SGA is at “a very strong place” and that he would like the organization to reach out to people
Barker also mentioned how hard it is to get the faculty senate to listen to the students concerning issues such as academic scheduling.
“Right now, we’re having a
hard time expressing the opinion of the students because we’re so few in numbers,” Barker said, noting that not many students attend these meetings.
“With student empowerment, we’d get a group of students together to go to these meetings, representing the student body with 25 to 50 visitors so our voice would be heard.
“They would have no choice but to hear our voice, essentially take us seriously and give us what we need to academically excel,” Barker said.
Barker noted that he wants students to feel more excited about VSU.
“VSU has a lot to offer,” Barker said. “My favorite word to describe VSU is ‘potential.’ When we look at pride and tradition, it all starts with the freshmen. President McKinney is already trying to revamp the freshman convocation.
“Essentially, my vision for the freshman convocation is for all freshmen, within their first few days of move-in, to go to Whitehead Auditorium. When they go to this place, they see an NAACP president, they see a Gay-Straight Alliance president, they see a CPC president, they see an IFC president, and they see an SGA president.
“They see all these student leaders in the aisles when they walk in, so when the freshmen sit in their seats, they say to themselves, ‘Hey, I want to be just like him. I want to be just like her. What did they do to get there?’”
Barker called that the “cycle of leadership.”
To vote in the SGA election, go to valdosta.edu and click on the picture link near the top of the page that advertises the election.