[with additional input from Art Goodson]
As the end of the spring 2009 semester draws near, students will soon cast their vote for Student Government officers. This year six candidates are running for student body president, whose role on campus includes presiding over his/her cabinet, running the day-to-day operations of Student Government including 15 distinct commissions and departments, and delegating tasks to the executive branch. Additionally, the newly elected student body president is responsible for attending meetings and forum discussions, and be active in special interest committees such as the Campus Culture Task Force committee created just after the Nov. 5, 2008 tunnel incident. Here are what the candidates had to say about their platform and campaign.
A junior majoring in international relations, Adam Cloninger has been involved in Student Government for two years. He is currently the chair of the Diversity committee and is proactive in the Student Diversity Advisory Committee. His platform focuses on increasing diversity awareness on campus. Cloninger, affords his interest of diversity issues to his experience working with SDAC and insists it could “serve as a vehicle to help foster awareness” appreciation and understanding for people of all races, cultures and religions throughout N.C. State. “Always connected” is Cloninger’s slogan to represent his value in uniting the University. Although he has big goals for his term if elected, he had to scale them down to consider the economy and budget restraints throughout the University. “I want to produce top quality for students and create a healthy dialogue with administration” to collaborate in this effort. Cloninger said he would make himself available for office hours, work with the Office of Information Technology to make a universal, campus-wide calendar for students, and utilize the campus iTunes account for professors to display a viral video describing their course and requirements to cut additional course drop/add behavior.
Amber Joyner, a senior in management and political science has been the academic committee chair for two of the three years she was involved with Student Government. Thus far, her committee has assisted with implementing the intercampus transfer and reading days. “I have created great relationships with campus administrators and professors. I can better represent the students” she said. One of Joyner’s major appeals to students is that she seeks to enhance the existing advising system. “Students need a relationship not just an advisor,”said Joyner. She hopes to expand the duration of the advising period per semester and from year-to-year so that advisors can better assess the needs of the students. Guaranteed tuition costs is another major project Joyner tends to explore during her term if elected. “With the economic instability parents and students need to know how they are going to pay to attend N.C. State,” said Joyner. “We need more transparency in the budget,” she suggested also targeting University spending.
A junior in business administration and environmental technology, Anup Engineer hopes to bring his business savvy to Student Government. He wants use a “business mindset” to his cabinet and work towards “empowering people.” His major has created the template for which he will run his term in office. Engineer said “Making sure resources are available for the hardest qualified students,” was his top priority considering the budget cuts affecting the nation and the state funded school system. “Student Government collects nearly $250,000 each year at the expense of student fees and tuition’ he said. Engineer wants to encourage students to be a part of Student Government, especially since student money funds the programs Student Government implements each year. In reference to minority issues he said, “I take minority opinion very seriously” because as a minority, which only account for about 30 percent of N.C. State students, their voices need to be heard too. “Student Government represents all people, the work we do must be positive” Engineer added.
Kornelius Bascombe is a sophomore in criminology whose leadership experience includes work with the Tucker Hall Council and work as chair of the Union Activities Board’s Black Students Board. “I think my involvement with both UAB and BSB has allowed me to understand the importance of many different viewpoints,” said Bascombe. Equality and representation are key to Bascombe’s campaign platform. As far as dealing with the economic downturn’s effect on funding for student organizations, he wants to make sure that students know where their funds go, and make sure funds are equally dispersed. He also wants to make it a point that students understand how their tuition is being spent. “There are, for example, some things that students want that may raise tuition but could be supported because students believe they would greatly help the student body, like my idea for a one time fee for print quota” he said.
Andrew Swanson is a senior in industrial engineering with a campaign that focuses largely on the importance of involving the students. He believes that one of the most important parts of solving the problems with the budget is involving students and their ideas, and that involving students in the decision making process is key. “Out of 32,000 students, I believe one of them has the idea that will help solve our problems” he said. Swanson also wants to make sure that educating students on the value of diversity is a priority, and believes that a lack of understanding of the value of diversity was a catalyst for the Nov. 5, 2008 tunnel incident. “People unite under their similarities, but we learn from our differences,” said Swanson.
The last candidate, Jim Ceresnak, is a junior in political science whose campaign focuses largely on finding common sense solutions to the problems that face the University. Ceresnak is focused on trying to preserve the integrity of student groups in spite of the economic problems. “I pledge to fight for every dollar possible for student groups as your next student body president. The University experience is as much about finding out about who we are as individuals as it is about a formal classroom education.” Ceresnak pledges to involve students in the process of renovating Talley Student Center and the Atrium as well. “I will work to keep the ball rolling on planned renovations to Talley Student Center and the Atrium, but I will not allow those projects to be started without significant student input on what they would like to see in those spaces.”
Students have more opportunities to get to know the candidates by visiting each of their respective websites, and the Meet the Candidates Forum, today at 8 p.m. in the Owen Hall basement and at Bascombe’s Town Hall Meeting, Thursday Mar. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Student Senate Chambers. Such opportunities will allow students to educate themselves on the beliefs and qualifications of the candidates before election day on March 24.