The Student Government Association candidate forum revealed potential presidents’ plans for an improved Murray State.
The Curris Center Stables were crowded Tuesday evening as students attended vetted the SGA candidates. Themes of clear communication, student advocacy and parking emerged from the discussion.
Candidate for president Luke King, senior from Burkesville, Ky., highlighted his appreciation for the work previously done by SGA, but mentioned his ambition to improve it.
“We continue to make our good better and our better best,” King said. “As a leader it is important to under-promise and over-deliver.”
Also running for president are Clint Combs and Michael Mann. If elected, Combs, senior from Benton, Ky., plans to use the position to advocate on behalf of the student body through transparent communication and a revamped SGA website.
Michael Mann, sophomore from Springfield, Ky., feels similarly. From his background in the National Guard, Mann said he believes it is his duty to represent the University’s students through “leading by example.”
Four candidates are campaigning for vice president with intentional goal planning in mind.
Kendrick Settler, sophomore from Belleville, Ill., plans to use goal setting to prevent repetitive events each year and increase accountability of Campus Activity Board members and senators.
Chantry Carroll, sophomore from Murray, Ky., said he has found his home in Murray State, especially as his parents are in Haiti as full-time missionaries. He said he wants other students to find the same home at Murray State that he has.
“By being involved I’ve had a community to wrap around me,” Carroll said. “I want to encourage people to build relationships, stay at Murray State and love Murray State.”
Carroll plans to increase retention rates by creating events that would encourage students to get involved and “fall in love with Murray State.”
Nathan Payne, junior from Owensboro, Ky., wants to expand social media publicity, implement student ideas and utilize residential college heads as a method for sharing SGA information. Payne is running on a slate with Combs.
Also on the vice presidential ballot is Robert Gomez, junior from Cicero, Ind., who believes safety and sustainability efforts can be improved.
“I am very ambitious about what needs to be done, and I want to be part of it,” Gomez said. “If I want something to be done, I’m going to make it happen.”
Heather Raley, senior from Henderson, Ky., is running for secretary alongside Jamie Nuckolls, sophomore from St. Louis, Mo. Both said they want to improve communication between SGA and student body.
Raley said she believes the position is more than just a resume builder, and if elected, she said she would create a platform for student voices to be heard.
Nuckolls said she wants to increase philanthropic activity and would create more opportunities for students to serve if elected.
Rachel Ross, sophomore from Murray, Ky., is the lone candidate for treasurer.
“It’s going to be a great team and I’m ready to be part of that team,” Ross said.
She believes she is prepared for the position because she developed skills through previous leadership roles, and she has taken an accounting class, which is one of the requirements of the post.
Michael Dobbs, senior from Winchester, Ky., and current SGA president, said he is pleased with the roster of qualified candidates and the high level of participation. Dobbs ran unopposed during his election last year and is excited for the increased involvement.
“I wish all of them the best,” Dobbs said.
Among the students who attended the forum were Lauren Thomas, junior from Benton, Ky., and Josie Monarch, junior from Hardinsburg, Ky. Both said they were eager to hear what the candidates had to share so they could be informed voters.
“I’m here because I care about Murray State students and I feel like each student who wants to be represented should be,” Thomas said.
Monarch said it’s important that more students fill out their ballots.
“I feel like the students at Murray State have been too hands off, and it’s time for that to change,” Monarch said.
Voting begins on MyGate at 12:01 a.m. Monday and ends at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.
Results will be announced at 8 p.m. Wednesday inside Winslow Dining Hall if weather permits along with giveaway prizes and t-shirts. The results will also be announced outside if students do not wish to pay for Late Night.
Story by Abby Siegel, Contributing writer