On Tuesday, March 7, the sole team running for SGA president and vice president sat down for the Technique’s annual presidential debate. The candidates, third-year PUBP Evan Gillon and third-year ECON Ayo Aladesanmi were the only team to apply for SGA president and vice president, respectively, turning what is usually a debate into a question and answer session with the undergraduate population.
The event was led off with a small opening statement from Gillon before a few pre-prepared questions were asked.
“Our slogan is ‘Committed to Action.’ What we mean by that is that we’re trying to deviate from previous years and focusing on changes that fit within SGA’s scope as an organization, that are sustainable and implementable,” Gillon said.
The seven pre-prepared questions broached topics including the recent rideshare bill that failed in GSS, the inclusivity of SGA and the diversity, or lack thereof, within the candidates’ campaign.
After answering these, most of which were met with talk of campus culture shifts and the fact that they would be filling their cabinet with a diverse set of students, the floor was opened to the audience to ask the candidates their questions.
Students raised questions surrounding the success of current initiatives Gillon and Aladesanmi have participated in this year, specifically increasing the student use of open forum at the beginning of UHR. As speaker pro tempore, Aladesanmi has a significant role in spreading awareness about open forum, a role the student who asked the question said was not handled successfully.
“So, I will say that going into this role and having the new responsibility of being the manager of open forum has taken a lot of creative thinking and problem-solving ways that we can improve attendance,” Aladesanmi said. “I will say that the biggest problem with open forum attendance is the culture that SGA is not really an approachable organization, solely because students might not know what they do.”
Aladesanmi’s response was indicative of many of the answers the duo provided: that the culture surrounding SGA needed to be changed.
More concerns were raised towards the candidates’ plans of restructuring SGA, specifically the speed and feasibility of what the project entails.
“I do think that depending on the type of policy that’s in restructuring we can move more quickly,” Gillon said. “So, if it’s a change that’s just affecting the undergraduate students then we can move much more quickly. This is an important conversation to have to discover how we can be more efficient and certainly it will take some more time to adjust to that new structure, but we do think that with time it will end up being a much more efficient process.”
The Q&A session finished with a question about waste usage by the university and what Gillon and Aladesanmi would do to increase sustainability on campus. The pair answered with language very similar to that found in the “Committed to Sustainability” section of their platform.
Gillon and Aladesanmi’s platform can be found at evanayo2018.com. Voting for the executive ticket and undergraduate representatives is open from Friday March 9 to Thursday, March 15 and can be accessed at elections.gatech.edu.