By: Rusty Hatchell and Tysheira Scribner
Georgia Gwinnett College’s Student Government Association anticipates a busy month of March with Run GGC, the SGA’s annual election campaign. Electoral campaigning begins on March 21, with elections beginning on the 23rd and running until the 25th, the date the newly elected officers will be announced.
Structured similarly to the U.S. federal government, the SGA consists of three major branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial.
The executive branch consists of the President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary and Senate Chairperson. These positions are available to nonfreshman students in good standing with the university who will be enrolled in nine or more credit hours, consistently hold a 2.5 GPA and have completed at least one semester of service to SGA in the past 2 years.
There are 33 senators represented in the legislative branch. Student senators represent their respective schools of study, must be enrolled in nine or more credit hours, consistently hold a 2.5 GPA and are in good standing with the university.
The Judicial Council is comprised of five student judges, and the candidates must meet the same requirements as executive branch officers.
The theme of Run GGC has been used in years past, which can cause some confusion as students may find information for the 2015 election campaign. Digital signage across campus has been directing students to the SGA GetInvolved webpage, but it is easy for students to be misguided once there.
The election campaign begins with an SGA-run town hall, in which students can voice their views on how the student body is being organized and managed.
According to Senate Chairperson Erin Lucier, on March 22 a “Meet the Candidates Forum and Debate” event will be held at 2pm in LVIS. Elections Chairman Garrison Douglass will moderate a debate among Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates.
As SGA’s role on campus has grown parallel to the growth of the campus itself, student awareness of the issues that SGA handles has increased as well. When asked whether she would vote in the upcoming election, senior biology major Ismeta Orlovic said, “my friend is running for Senate and I will be voting for her.” She also stated that she knows about SGA through her friends who are involved with the association.
“The question ‘What is SGA?’ is no longer asked during campaign season,” said Lucier, a senior business major concentrating in management. “That was our goal this year and I believe they have done an incredible job. They’ve successfully earned hundreds of followers on our social media platforms as well as provided two to three days a month that they host SGA booths around campus to introduce students to what SGA is and how to get involved.”
When asked what SGA is and what they do, Whitney Jones, senior biology major concentrating in biochemistry, said “[they] are liaisons between the students and faculty.” And fellow senior biology major James Ralston said, “[they] host a majority of events on campus.” However, when asked, many students stated that they were not planning on voting.
“I would predict that about 30-40 people are running for SGA positions,” Lucier said. She added that the President and Vice President offices are “usually competitive” but that other Executive offices as well as Judicial and Senate seats are not competitive. “Last year, [representation for] the School of Science and Technology was competitive.”
“This year, there will be opposition for me to be re-elected to my position as Senate Chairperson,” she stated in her email. “To my knowledge, [this is] the first time this has happened.”
Any complaints, concerns, questions, comments and suggestions about the goings-on of the campaign can be directed to the Elections Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org. The official announcement of the newly elected officers will be posted outside of the RSO lounge on the 3rd floor of the Student Center on March 25.