By Cady Inabinett
Montevallo’s SGA election season is underway, with candidates running for president, vice president, treasurer, senior class president and senatorial positions. There are no contested races for any of these positions.
SGA presidential candidate Cody Hodge said he was inspired to run for the position after working closely with current SGA President AnaKate Andrasko while serving as the Student Trustee for two semesters.
“The more I learned about her responsibilities and involvement on campus, the more I became emboldened to apply for presidency,” said Hodge. “I remember watching Anakate speak at College Night and realizing that I had a responsibility to serve the student body.”
Hodge said revitalizing SGA would be a main focus of his presidency, saying, “Since the pandemic, on-campus involvement has been low, particularly in SGA. With the university now implementing a mask optional policy, I hope the members of SGA’s Executive Cabinet and Senate can recruit more and new members to the SGA’s many vacant positions.”
He pointed towards this lack of involvement as the cause of his uncontested campaign.
“I believe the pandemic understandably obscured SGA from the focus of two years’ worth of incoming students. Many of these students are hardly aware of SGA and its functions,” he commented.
“My goal for the next election cycle is that all elected positions are competitive,” Hodge said.
Hodge also spoke to SGA’s ability to amplify student voices and opinions, saying, “Students seldom realize how powerful their voices are and how much they influence changes on campus. By recruiting new members, acquiring more traffic on SGA’s Instagram, and riling students to attend WOW Weekends and fill out constituent reports, I hope that they will recognize SGA as a valuable tool in making Montevallo’s campus an inviting and fun environment where everyone can participate.”
Hodge placed approachability as one of the tenets of his presidency as well.
“Upon assuming my position, I will be making myself available to anyone on campus who would like to voice a concern. I want students to feel comfortable approaching me regarding any concerns they may have,” he said.
Vice presidential candidate Abigail Heuton cited two years of SGA experience as inspiring her to run for vice president.
“I have been a part of SGA for the past two years and I have thoroughly enjoyed being a member of it!” said Heuton. “I loved being able to contribute to campus involvement and advocating for our student body on campus. After seeing the impact, it had on me, I thought running for Vice President could allow me to further advocate for the students of Montevallo and represent the voices that may not always be heard.”
She said that advocacy would be a central focus of her vice presidency, saying, “As Vice President your job is about constituent reports and communicating with the senate, the exec, and the rest of campus. I truly want to see people get excited about positive change on campus and to get more of these reports out so SGA can see what students are wanting to see implemented.”
Heuton also said she wants to increase involvement and cohesion within the SGA senate as well.
“I want to make sure our senators feel involved, feel like they are making a difference, and have a voice,” Heuton said.
When asked about her unopposed campaign, Heuton shared, “I know that we are still getting back into the swing of things due to the pandemic which has most likely contributed to the running unopposed. I think this shows how needed SGA is right now as we are the ones reaching out to students to get more involved and this is what I hope to accomplish.”
“I want people to see SGA as a way for them to find their voice and making it a friendly-open environment could aid in that!” Heuton said.
Current SGA treasurer, Joshua Brown, is seeking reelection. When asked why he decided to run for the position, he responded, “My good friend, Jacob Heath inspired me to run for treasurer, and he’s the reason I got involved in SGA in the first place.”
He also pointed towards his experiences as a communications major and with his student jobs as motivating him, saying, “When I realized that COMS and knowledge from my two student jobs gave me transferable skills I could use in this capacity, the possibilities were endless.”
As SGA treasurer, Brown says he hopes to make sure that all organizations on campus use their allocated budgets.
“I hope to accomplish not only allocating money but making sure all organizations use all of their money, whether that be for programs or whatever, because there is money there for a reason, and they should use it,” he said, noting, “Money does not roll over into the next fiscal year, and that money not being used is a waste.”
Brown also spoke to his previous experience as treasurer saying, “I came in the middle of a semester. And me being able to make that quick transition from my senator spot to executive cabinet was not easy, but it prepared me for the unimaginable. This right here makes me qualified, and it also gives me a chance to continue and implement more work.”
Additionally, he hopes raise student awareness about SGA’s operations, chalking up his uncontested race to lack of student awareness of SGA.
“I am running unopposed because a lot of students do not know about SGA, or they don’t know everything that it entails,” Brown commented.
He went on to say that he hopes to use his position to spread information about SGA that, “will hopefully bring more people to the stage next year.”
Desirae Billingsley, senior class president candidate, said she, “felt like my senior class needed someone who was determined, hard working, organized, selfless. and very social to lead and help them through their senior year.”
“I felt as if I was that person so I decided to run,” Billingsley said.
Billingsley emphasized unity, fairness and being open-minded as tenets of her campaign and presidency, saying, “As Senior Class president I hope to unite the Senior Class and be a voice for them,” and, “I plan to be fair and open minded and to help the seniors in any way that they need.”
She also highlighted her motivation as a strength.
“Students should want me to be their Senior Class President because I am motivated and determined and I will do my best to work to together with the Senior class the accomplish anything that they need of me,” Billingsley said.
Like other candidates, Billingsley pointed towards COVID-19 as deterring student involvement on campus, ultimately leading towards her unopposed campaign.
“I think that I am running unopposed because of the lack of student involvement on campus due to Covid,” Billingsley commented, going on to say, “This does raise a concern because that means that student aren’t getting as involved on campus like pre-covid.”
SGA elections will be held April 4-6. Students can cast their vote on FalconLink.
Cady Inabinett is the managing editor of content for The Alabamian. She’s majoring in English and double-minoring in political science and peace and justice studies. She enjoys reading, watching movies and generally just being pretentious in her free time.