SGA presidential races begin to heat up

Picon/Tucker and Tanski/Sagastume; candidates for SGA undergraduate President and Vice President

Elections for the Student Government Association (SGA) became more interesting late Sunday night with the announcement of two tickets running for the positions of undergraduate President and Vice President and a candidate each for the Graduate President and the Graduate Vice President who run separately.

On the first undergraduate ticket are third-year AE major Nick Picon for President and third-year BMED major Lucy Tucker for Executive Vice President. Picon currently serves as Vice President of Campus Affairs and Tucker currently serves as Vice President of Academic Affairs. Both have served in the past in the Undergraduate House of Representatives (UHR) as well as other positions inside and outside of SGA.

Soon after the official announcement, Picon and Lucy released their platform which addresses a variety of student issues including mental health, academic support, faculty-student relationships, undergraduate research, on-campus jobs, LGBT issues, school spirit, Greek relations, communications and information technology. Some of the initiatives such as an online student portal for mental health are new proposals that the ticket hopes to enact. Others such as the revamping of the SGA Advisory Board are an extension of the current policy of the undergraduate administration.

“SGA Advisory Board is…supposed to be made up of presidents of all the major student organizations on campus,” Picon said. “I felt that it wasn’t really effective…and [want to] encourage presidents [of organizations] to be there to let us know what they’re doing so we can all work together to get more done.”

The other ticket includes third-year ISyE majors Max Tanski for President and Lisandro Sagastume for Executive Vice President. Tanksi is a current Member-at-Large representative at UHR and an RA for Housing. Sagastume is a member of Phi Gamma Delta and has served on Freshman Foundation and Student Foundation.

Tanski and Sagastume’s platform also includes a variety of issues including student outreach, SGA restructuring, school spirit, mental health and information technology. In particular, the campaign has focused on making SGA more accessible to students and more responsive to student interests.

“We want to work with the Speaker of the House to incentivize representatives to actually speak with students,” Tanski said. “We’re going to try to think of innovative ways to allow that to happen such as buying representatives meal plans…so we can hold town halls in dining halls, residence halls, other places on campus.”

Arren Washington, currently the Vice President of the Graduate Conference Fund, is running uncontested for Graduate President. Johann Weber, currently a GSS senator representing Public Policy, is running also uncontested for Graduate Executive Vice President on a separate ticket.

Some important issues for the graduate candidates have been the Special Institutional Fee, mental health, student safety, graduate involvement, communication with Board of Regents and relationships with student organizations.

“There’s always this stigma associated [in mental health] with being comfortable enough to seek help when you need it,” Washington said. “Being able to get that word out and boost communication about what is available…is very important.”

The elections will open on April 5 and will end on April 10. The results will be announced on April 11.