/SGA candidates share platforms at election debate 
Graphic by Laryssa Molina-Becerra, Graphic designer.

SGA candidates share platforms at election debate 

By M.K. Bryant, News editor 

The SGA Election Debate was held on March 13 on the Farmer Hall stage.  

Participants included the SGA presidential candidates, Maddie Cleckler and Colton Rodano, and vice presidential candidates, Jack Dahle and Caleb Jernigan.  

Cleckler is the current president of UM’s Freshman Forum, and she is also involved on campus as a Maven and an orientation leader.  

During the debate, Cleckler discussed how, during her time in the SGA, she has noticed a gap between the student body and the SGA that she believes needs to be bridged. She explained that she has observed many students who don’t seem to fully understand what the SGA does on campus, and she believes that fixing the gap will help students develop a better understanding of the SGA and all that it does.  

“I’m really passionate about getting things done,” Cleckler said. “I wanna see an SGA that’s all over campus, that people know and understand. I want to be a friendly face on campus.” 

Some of Cleckler’s goals for the SGA include potentially working with the vice president to add more senate positions to be more inclusive to various organizations, direct representation on senate and an overall improvement in communication.  

“SGA is a big part of what I wanted to do on campus when I came here, so if I’m not elected president, I will still try my best to be on cabinet. I will continue to advocate for students whether I’m president or not,” Cleckler said.  

Rodano, the current SGA president, is running for re-election. He has been part of the SGA for three years, and he is the president of UM’s chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society.  

One thing that he  wants to improve in the SGA’s outreach efforts. This includes making sure that the student body is aware of what resolutions and bills are being passed.  

“I believe that SGA does its best work when its mission is to be a bridge between the student body and faculty,” Rodano said.  

Rodano said that he is passionate about advocating for his fellow students, and stated that, even in the case of losing the election, he still plans to be involved in the SGA through any means.  

Dahle has been a member of the SGA for two years, and he currently serves as the scholarship chair for the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. Dahle’s current position in the SGA is President Pro Tempore. 

Dahle’s campaign has a strong focus on improving the senate retention rate.  

“One of the things we need to work on is making sure that senators know we’re all friends and bringing us all closer together,” Dahle said. “I want to bring people closer together so they want to make change on campus with the people they’re working with.” 

Jernigan has been a member of the SGA for two years. His current SGA position is Director of Social Services. He also serves as the fundraising chair for the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. 

When asked about his goals for the future of the SGA, Jernigan stated, “I want to make sure that we get quality over quantity. I want to make sure our members look at what they’re voting on and understand it.” 

Jernigan explained that he believes that the SGA should be the prime example of what a good student organization looks like. He wants the SGA to be viewed as a voice for the student body, as well as student organizations as a whole.  

For the future of the SGA, Jernigan explained that he wants to see a “senate that will go out of their way to make legislation and bills and be passionate about what they do.  

SGA voting will be open on FalconLink from March 18-20.

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M.K. Bryant is a contributing journalist for The Alabamian. She’s majoring in mass communication with a concentration in multimedia journalism, and she’s double-minoring in theatre and creative writing. When she’s not busy watering her plants or writing, M.K. can probably be found wandering around an art museum or a library.