The following paragraphs were written by this year’s Student Government Association President and Vice President candidates. They wanted to explain to the student body firsthand what makes them qualified to be elected to their desired position, respectively.
Ryan Hermance, Vice President candidate:
My name is Ryan Hermance, and I am running for Student Body Vice President. I am a double major in Political Science and International Studies. Currently, I serve the students as the Senator for Service Learning.
While serving in this position, I have accomplished several things. The first is working with Western Carolina University faculty to create a summer mini-mester course that will teach students about Global Poverty. This course, ASI 293, is designed to answer questions like: What are the root causes of Global Poverty? Can it be fixed? What can we at WCU do to help? The second accomplishment is helping with the formation of the SGA Service Corps. This organization was created so that SGA can provide students with volunteer opportunities to work with friends to help others. I also wrote legislation on behalf of the students to request that the University change policy to allow the University Participants (UP) to walk at Commencement.
As Student Body Vice President, my goals are simple. I would like to increase the number of Senators so that the student body is better represented in SGA. I would like to continue working with the University to allow UP students to walk at the Commencement Ceremony next year. Last and not least, I want to ensure that SGA is a responsible entity in speaking for and serving the student body. I want the students to come to SGA with their concerns, and I want to make certain that SGA acts on those concerns. By electing me as Student Body Vice President, your voices will be heard, and together we can make WCU greater than ever before!
Alecia Page, President candidate:
My name is Alecia Page; I am currently serving as SGA Vice President, and I am running for President.
Over the course of the last two years, I have been honored to represent my peers as Sophomore Senator and as Vice President. I have become familiar with the Legislative and Executive branches, and my prior experience as Chief Justice of the western district of Youth and Government taught me a great deal about how a Judicial branch should function.
Recently, I spent my midterm break in Washington, D.C. meeting with representatives and N.C. senators to ensure the affordability of higher education. I founded the initiative “Cuts Hurt” to show our representatives just how painful the budget cuts have been to my peers (and to me). The initiative was adopted by the Association of Student Governments and was implemented at all 17 UNC campuses. The Association of Student Governments recently nominated me as Vice President, and I am proud to have the opportunity to represent Western Carolina and the UNC System at large. Although I have found all of these experiences incredibly satisfying, I believe I will not be content until I have had the opportunity to serve as your Student Body President.
Our Student Government is in need of restructuring, and I am prepared to handle the task. Currently, our Judicial branch serves only as a traffic court, so our Senate goes nearly unchecked. Furthermore, our Senate only has 13 members; other UNC schools have Senates that represent .05 percent of their student body. At Western Carolina, we would need at least 50 senators to meet the average. With more senators, the Legislative branch would more effectively represent the needs and concerns of our student body.
Under my leadership, the Senate successfully passed unanimous resolutions to recognize participants of the UP Program in commencement and weight the A+. A new constitution and bylaws were created. A service corps was developed to help students find enjoyable opportunities to volunteer. Given the opportunity, I will ensure that our SGA continues to grow, our Judicial branch will develop, and our Legislative branch will become more effective. Furthermore, I will ensure that your needs as a student are communicated to school administration and state representatives.
Lastly, I recognize the need for SGA to begin giving back to its immediate community: the student body. Last week, I spoke with the Student Body President of Chapel Hill, and she gave me the idea to set aside part of executive stipends to create a monthly scholarship for students. I know that students are struggling with the tuition increases and the financial aid decreases, and if SGA can help just one student per month, we will have made a small difference.
To surmise, my platform includes advocating for lower tuition and creating scholarships, restructuring SGA so that it is as effective as it can be, and ensuring our students love WCU as much as I do. I changed my major and removed myself from Teaching Fellows so that I could serve my peers to the best of my abilities. I hope you give me that chance.
Kyle Thompson, President candidate:
My name is Kyle Thompson, and I am running for SGA President. I am a sophomore at Western Carolina, and my platform is based on two topics: student concerns and school spirit.
I am a Resident Assistant in Scott Hall and have a passion for helping students. I also have the privilege of working with the Academic Success Program in the summer as an RA. I love getting to know students and enjoy helping them acclimate and thrive at Western Carolina. My job as an RA uniquely qualifies me to be President of the SGA because the SGA was created to advocate for students’ needs. As President, I will offer student forums once a month for students to voice their concerns, and I will hold frequent meetings with administrators at this university, as well as the Board of Governments at the state level to make sure you see results.
Another passion of mine is forming a partnership with the local community by participating in activities like work projects to serve the greater Jackson County area. This year, I have had the privilege to work on the Judicial Branch in SGA as a traffic court justice. I have also represented WCU at Association for Student Governments meetings where the Student Governments from all the UNC System schools talk about how we can better advocate for students. As President, my passion will be to build relationships with students in order to hear every voice and concern.
I love Western Carolina University and attending every athletic event that I can to cheer on the Catamounts! We are in a very pivotal time here at WCU. We just hired a new football coach and athletic director, as well as a newly installed chancellor. I will continue the excitement that Chancellor Belcher has brought to WCU. As President, I will implement things like T-shirt giveaways, pep rallies, a “Fan of the Week” program and much more to get everyone excited about Catamount athletics.
In closing, I have been privileged to attend Western Carolina and work alongside the influential leaders that have played such a huge part in improving the student experience at our university. I am running for President of the SGA because I want to continue the effective leaderships and help every student along the way.