SGA hosts Q&A session with presidential and vice presidential candidates

Amanda Barrentine

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Thursday night, Mercer University’s Student Government Association held a question and answer session for the candidates running for the office of SGA president and vice president next year. This year is different, however, from years previous—there is only one ticket.

Current senators and committee heads Joey Wozniak and Victoria Conley are the only representatives who have stepped forward to run for office. In the session, Conley mentioned how the two were disappointed when they heard they would have no competitors.

“We wrote our campaign plan as if we were running against others,” said Conley, who also said that the two began preparing their campaign last semester. Wozniak said that they worry about the legitimacy of their campaign being questioned, but that the two have taken steps to combat that. “We’re gathering endorsements from friends, co-workers, so that people will believe in us,” said Wozniak.

The “WozCon” platform consists of three tiers, titled with alliterations to make them easier to remember. University Unity, the first tier, mainly focuses on using the Mercer app, which is still in development, to connect the university through providing useful information to students and facilitating conversation between departments, faculty and students.

The two hope also to strengthen service, leadership and success with programs like President’s Council, which Wozniak says they are pushing for during their administration. President’s Council would consist of representatives from all of the different schools, such as the Townsend School of Music, the Stetson School of Business, etc. The representatives would meet with Wozniak and Conley before their meetings with President William Underwood, so that the two would be able to better represent the desires of the campus.

The second tier of their platform is titled “Building Bridges,” which focuses on getting more involved with the Macon community, as well as increasing alumni outreach and campus development. One specific project that Wozniak mentioned was putting in a crosswalk between the new admissions building and Greek row, where tour groups often walk.

“Our giving rate is horrible,” said Wozniak in reference to the alumni part of the tier. Now that Mercer is in the spotlight from beating Duke, Wozniak said that the opportunity should be capitalized on. “Mercer alumni know we’re in the news; we’ve been featured by New York Times and Washington Post.” The two hope to connect alumni back to Mercer in order to increase connections and also to link students to possible career opportunities.

The last tier of the platform includes Amplified Athletics. Wozniak and Conley are looking to develop unity amongst the different support groups at the games, such as the dance team, Mercer Maniacs and pep band. When one student brought up the concern that she felt unwelcome when trying to join Mercer Maniacs, Conley responded, “We know how you feel.” However, Wozniak said it was important to note that the group was in its infant stage, having just started this year, and that steps were being taken to make sure the group would not become too exclusive.

Another specific program the two hope to develop is the Paw Points program, originally established by the Davis/Lovett administration one year year ago. Since the program was new this year, Wozniak said that there was some confusion as to who was going to handle the program, but it’s something the two “intend to spend the summer on.”

Presidential election polls open Monday at 9 a.m., and close the next day at 5 p.m. Wednesday, senator qualifications will be available for those wishing to sign up for SGA senator.

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