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The campaigners speak

Candidates express hopes for election week and possibilities of the future.   |   Tim Seeberger/THE CHIMES
 

 

Campaign posters crowd the walls while nervous politicians pace the dorms, trying their utmost to charm students for their votes. Their platforms are honorable, their student government election week has arrived and those running have commenced their week-long campaigns.

Business major Persi George and political science major Jayda Wyse, both sophomores, stepped up to the starting line by sending out emails to supportive dorm constituents and alerting friends they were running for president and vice president before the race began. Their views on the needs of the student body center around their campaign theme: United Together. With a touch of personality, the duo’s campaign slogan reads “Vote Wyse-George because it’s the wise choice.”

English major Gregory Ambrose and business major Ella Corey, both juniors, expressed an interest in the positions last year as well, though their campaign approaches student issues in a unique way. Their campaign theme sums up how the two see students’ desires in their government as well: Creating Inclusivity Community.

What are the primary points in your platform?

Jayda Wyse, presidential candidate: “It’s broken up into three sections. I think the most important aspect is our second point, which is preserving unity in Biola’s diversity. We believe that our experiences together really encompass Biola as a whole. So we’ve been involved in different sections: ResLife, SGA, Affinity Groups, Torrey, we’ve both done intramurals… The second [point] is promoting a Biola presence in the community around us, because Biola as a whole is making a movement to get outside our Biola bubble, and we believe SGA as leaders should be at the forefront of that. What that looks like practically is ourselves and our senators volunteering some time once a month and going to — we’re going to partner with different organizations in the community — and having our senators encourage their constituents to do the same. So if they feel like coming with us, they can. It’s SGA as an organization making a presence because that’s what Biola wants to be about and we want to support them in that.”

Persi George, vice presidential candidate: “Open lines of communication is something we’re strong about. Oftentimes people view SGA as this cloud that is not personable or not really involved in the student body, per se. But we want to be transparent in our lines of communication, whether that’s through fireside chats, bi-weekly, or Jayda and I will just be attending large dorm events, because we are going to be students on campus and we’re going to be one with you guys. So if people want to stop and talk to us, or if you want to book a one-on-one with us for coffee, we’ll be there. And that’s stuff we’re already practicing right now, being an RA and being in SGA.”

W: “We titled that point ‘Pulling a DBC,’ because something that’s really important to him is making a presence in the community, and he’s come into SGA asking ‘What more can I do?’ So that’s what inspired that.”

What are the primary points in your platform?

Greg Ambrose, presidential candidate: “We’re all about doing our best to make sure students can be part of the conversation, because SGA does a lot for students, with the resources of the students. They should be involved.”

Ella Corey, vice presidential candidate: “We basically have three sub-points to that. The most important thing that we want to do is bring awareness to SGA because so often — and especially since we’ve been talking to students, even today. They’re just talking to us about our platforms, then they ask, ‘So what is SGA?’ So a lot of people don’t really know what SGA is, what it does, what its function is, how it’s different from ResLife and other responsibilities. So we really want to make it super easy for students to understand what SGA is, how to get involved and how to speak to their senator, what to speak to their senator about. So basically, within awareness, we really are trying to communicate better with students. A second point is relationship. We want to strengthen the relationship between SGA and students. That was really breached when AS turned to SGA. Within that transition, that relationship was really lost. So because SGA became this big ambiguous force in the SUB, it kind of broke there. So we want to rebuild that by defining really what the role of a senator or an SGA member is with the student.”

A: “And we want to be in more regular contact with the students. When we were AS, we did events like Mock Rock and Punk ‘n’ Pie. Those were all under the name of AS, the students had a face to a name. Now we don’t do that, which is fine because now we can focus on representation, but we still feel a little foreign or alien to them. So we want to start doing events and putting ourselves in physical spaces where we can interact with students again.”

C: “Our third point is inclusion. So this is again what our slogan is based off of. Right now, senators represent each dorm. Each senator represents a segment of the student body that lives in the same place, which is a good way to represent people. But there’s also a huge community missed with that, and that’s the off campus students. While there technically are off-campus senators, they’re so hard to reach. They’re so hard to get access to. At the same time, while senators representing dorms are a good way to represent people, it’s not always the best way. It’s not like everyone who lives in Horton feels the same way about an issue or has the same needs or the same academic program… In order to solve that, we want to broaden senator responsibilities and representation, and have a senator not only represent a dorm but also represent these clubs and this academic department and this affinity group.”

A: “If we can just include more voices, we’re going to be able to tell what the students’ real needs are, what their real concerns are, what their opinions are on everything from proposals to things that are happening on campus, the better we’ll be able to serve them.”

C: “By broadening that, we hope that all the students are heard, and in the right context.”


What does your campaign offer that the other team can’t?

George: “We both are young, but we are both super involved in campus right now. We have been trained by organizations on campus, so we have this leadership quality that’s just in us and is just waiting to launch next year to a bigger effect and affect the school even more. Everything that we’ve been trained in.”

Wyse: “We truly believe we can represent Biola as a whole, as a student body. We’re just involved and we’re in the midst of the college experience and I feel like that gives us a better sense than them, because this is their final year. They’re going out. We’re going to have to live through whatever changes we decide to make, and I feel like that gives us an incentive that it doesn’t necessarily give them.”

G: “And our perspective is really broad, like we said earlier. We’re just involved in all sides of campus that we know the other team isn’t involved in. I’m part of the lacrosse club, and we’ve done affinity groups. Things that we’re proud of and that we’ve accomplished. And that’s just the start of the work we can do to Biola’s campus and we know we have that on our side. Though we’re young, we have that and we’re going to live through the changes we make. To be beneficial to the Biola community.”

W: “And for continuity’s sake. I believe SGA needs to be a continuous line of succession, and I’ve been there under Jess Snow, and I know what she’s seen happen this last year. Because I want to continue that, I think it’ll be harder for them.”

What does your campaign offer that the other team can’t?

Ambrose: “One of the first things is that between the two of us, we have three years of experience at SGA. I was an intern my freshman year, I applied and served a semester. Then there was a vacancy for Hope South so I ran for senator as a freshman, got re-elected my sophomore year.”

Corey: “So he has two years of experience, and I have a full year. The other team has less than a year between the two of them. I think it’s good to understand the organization, especially because we do have a lot of history with the organization, especially seeing that transition from AS to SGA, which the other team hasn’t really seen. We’ve been able to see some gaps that the transition missed.”

A: “There’s only so much you can do in a year. We’ve worked with Jess and Sam, who are president and vice president now, and we know the kind of issues that matter to them and we want to continue the work they’ve been doing.”

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