With the Student Government Association elections less than two weeks away, the candidates running for SGA president and vice president voice their ideas and opinions on the issues facing SHSU and why they feel they are the best person for the job.
Sophomore Angie D. Cartwright and sophomore Jason Plotkin are both contending for the presidency, and both wish to use the position to further the representation of SHSU students.
Cartwright is the current SGA Student Life Committee chair, and member of other campus organizations including Millennium M.O.D.E.L.S., Black Student Alliance, College Bound Mentor and SAM Mentor, and program chair of Phi Alpha Delta. Cartwright also received the 2002 Sammy Award for Most Outstanding Freshman Leader.
Plotkin is the current SGA secretary, as well as president of Hillel, Assistant Sports Director for the campus radio station, a former SGA senator for the College of Arts and Science and currently a member of the Grievance Committee, Rules and Regulations Committee and External Affairs Committee.
The candidates both gave their reasons for seeking the office. Cartwright said her inspiration came from watching SGA officers in action and wanting to continue their work.
“Being a member of SGA, I have seen great leadership and it has allowed me to see the small intricate details of the organization,” Cartwright said. “A leader of an organization should be someone who has seen excellent leadership in action, and is capable of reproducing such leadership.”
Plotkin said he wanted to make sure students were given enough advance notice concerning issues on campus.
“I represent everyone,” Plotkin said. “I will make sure that all voices are heard and I will make sure the students are informed, and even if I don’t agree with something the students feel, I will take the neutral and fight alongside the students because the SGA president represents the students, not themselves.” selves.”
Cartwright said current SGA President Helena L. Banks and Vice President Constance Jones have kept the students well informed through The Houstonian, Channel Seven and the Campus Calendar, and that she intends to continue the Bear FACTS Forum.
“I plan to implement some type of forum in order to keep our student organizations informed and on the same page as each other, and able to diversify our student organizations and eliminate some of the barriers that exist,” Cartwright said.
Plotkin also said reaching organizations was key to keeping students informed, and that beside using typical media such as the television and radio, he would reactivate a body that had previously been disbanded that allowed members of organizations to meet together.
“A few years ago, there was the League of Organizations, which SGA oversaw, and they asked each organization to send representation, so instead of focusing on one organization, we can work together for the betterment of all organizations and the school as a whole,” Plotkin said.
Cartwright said she wished to increase faculty diversity on campus to try and match the level of diversity within the student body. She said the diversity was not just a simple racial one, but among all different types of mindsets.
“It’s not a black and white issue, but an orange and white issue,” Cartwright said.
Cartwright added that she wishes to further bring together the teachers and students on campus.
“I would unite our faculty and students by having a monthly round table discussing where we invite different faculty and students to discuss pertinent issues dealing with our students and university,” Cartwright said.
Plotkin said he seeks to make sure the SGA students who sit on committees with administration who deal with issues like parking, standardized class rings and diversity relay the voice of the students to the administration.
“I’ll look campus wide for students who are interested in informing the administration on the issues in order to continue the goal in making sure that all student’s voices are heard,” Plotkin said.
Both candidates agree that the current name-change scenario is the biggest issue on campus at the moment, and that they would both fight state legislation concerning the matter.
“I have went to Austin myself to lobby the Higher Education Committee of the Texas Senate on behalf of the Sam Houston State University pertaining to the name change issue,” Cartwright said.
“The name change is something that would ruin the integrity and tradition of this institution,” Plotkin said. “It is not something the students want, however if nothing is done, we could very well be going to a school with a different name than we originally left it before summer break.”
Each candidate said they respected the other, though their views may differ.
“Jason is a great guy, we just look at things through different lenses,” Cartwright said.
“I respect Angie a great deal, however, we both present different ideas and thoughts that contrast on what we feel the students necessarily are looking for,” Plotkin said.
Both candidates said they are ready to serve the student body.
“Through my leadership experience on this campus, I feel I have reached my peak and am ready to uphold the leadership role and the responsibility that comes with being student body president,” Cartwright said.
“If not now, when?” Plotkin said. “How much longer do students want to wait in order for them to be represented on campus? I feel that I’m capable and willing to be the individual to accomplish this goal.”
Sophomore Betsy Dominguez is the lone student running for vice president. She said the current SGA officers have done a good job, and she wishes to further improve on their work.
“I just feel that there are some things that still need to be changed,” Dominguez said. “I feel the officers this year have done a great job and using what they’ve already done for SGA, I’ll make it greater for the next year.”
Dominguez said a friend first introduced her to the SGA, and that she wants to be able to allow students to continue to voice their opinions and concerns through the vice president.
“I want to bring in a more diverse representation to the SGA and maybe have a monthly newsletter passed out to the students, and just go to different organizations and talk to them to let them know what’s going on,” said Dominguez.