Friendly competition describes the political candidacy between the two students vying for Student Government Association president.
Junior Meggie Goeke and graduate student and incumbent president Jeremiah Johnson are friends, and now contenders.
Campaigning began Monday afternoon and will run until 11:59 p.m., April 16, when the student myGate polls close.
Jeanie Morgan, SGA adviser, said it is extremely important for students to get involved in SGA because it is the governing board of the students.
“SGA is here to serve the entire student body and it is very important that we have students from all aspects of the student body involved,” Morgan said. “SGA gives students a chance to broaden their horizons and an opportunity to see the inner workings of the University as well as advocate for students.”
She said students are given the opportunity to work with people from several areas, including local and state legislators, to create a better environment for students at Murray State.
Voting will begin Monday morning and end Wednesday afternoon. Votes will be submitted and counted through student myGate accounts.
Johnson, who has been SGA president for the past two years, said he is running for re-election because he feels he has improvements and work to do within SGA.
“Over the upcoming year, the state will be looking at budgetary issues across the Commonwealth and figuring out exactly where those state appropriations will go,” Johnson said. “Through my experience with SGA here at Murray State and the Kentucky Board of Student Body Presidents, I have learned that we need to have a strong voice in Frankfort to push for funding for higher education in Kentucky and someone to really voice the concerns of Murray State students at the state level.
“If re-elected, I would bring my spirit of collaboration into SGA, allowing for more diverse programming as well as a better representation of our entire student body, from undergraduate all the way up to our doctorate of nurse practitioner students, as well as our students online, abroad or at the satellite campuses.”
Johnson said he thinks the position will change some, due to the various uncertainties across campus relating to the current events with President Randy Dunn’s contract and the search for a new provost.
Johnson said he also hopes to improve SGA involvement with local and state government.
“Through this position we need to push for lobbying groups of senators and students to travel to Frankfort and the local city/county government, to keep the pressure on our lawmakers about issues affecting our students,” he said.
Johnson said the SGA President and Student Regent have to be ready to lead SGA and the entire student body into the future, while navigating tuition increases, state budget shortfalls and various politics of any given action.
Goeke, junior from St. Louis, said what drew her to the president position was being able to represent the student body on important issues and to give back to an institution that has given her so much.
“I believe that as SGA President, it is important to be the face of the organization and to lead, but also to serve and accept responsibility as it comes,” Goeke said. “I am confident in my decision-making skills, but I have also learned that sometimes the best leader knows how to sit back, listen and let others take the reins.”
“My desire is for SGA to transform into sought-after positions in which the members really invest in the events and goings on in the University,” Goeke said. “Respecting every member is crucial, but it is also important to hold SGA members to a higher standard.”
Students who participate in Greek life make up approximately 85 percent of student senate.
Senators represent the different educational departments, residential colleges and other student organizations. There are usually at least two senators to represent each of these constituencies.
Goeke said the SGA president and Student Regent position will become more of an important position in leadership and consistency throughout all of the changes that will be occurring in the upcoming year.
“With a new provost and a new president, it is crucial for the SGA president to remain an arbiter of the student voice,” Goeke said.
Goeke has been an SGA senator in the past and has held several different chair positions.
As University Affairs chair, she was on the planning committee for Take Back the Night, organized blood drives and has been in charge of several funds for SGA.
She is also a Summer Orientation counselor for the Office of Recruitment and a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha.
“Electing an SGA president isn’t a popularity contest,” Goeke said. “It’s an important part of your privilege as a student. You’re electing someone to speak on your behalf and to have your best interest always in the forefront of their decision.”
Other candidates for the top positions in SGA are vice president Julia Hilkey and AJ Glaser for vice president.
The only candidate for secretary is Michael Dobbs and the candidates for treasurer are Brian Clarkson, Aida de la Fuente, Trenton Little and Ava Jackie.
Story by Meghann Anderson, News Editor.