On Monday night, students from all majors and ranks gathered at the Kaplan Forum in Rinker to witness the first Student Government Association debate in a long time.
Junior Austin Parenti and sophomore Aaron Buch are running against one another in a rare two-person SGA presidential race. At the debate, members of the student body, including current SGA president Cassie Stanton, showed their support and excitement for the election.
“This is the second time in, I would say probably the last ten to fifteen years of student government, that we’ve had an actual election,” said Stanton. “It takes bravery and strength, and I think that speaks to their character.”
Parenti and Buch debated several topics on campus, including parking, activities, diversity and commuter inclusion. Buch and his running mate Kirsten Delany outlined their “Better Together” plan for creating campus community and cultural change.
“Our goal of ‘Better Together’ is really trying to push culture and creating a more unified campus,” Buch said. “That stuff doesn’t just happen. You don’t wake up one day and you’re like, ‘Wow, the culture has changed.’ That’s a process.”
Parenti and his running mate, freshman Makayla Richardson, noted that they agree with Buch about many of the on-campus issues, but they differ in terms of approach.
“Where we differ is our leadership styles,” Parenti said. “I am a huge fan of horizontal leadership. Like I explained earlier, my film experience has taught me that everyone’s opinion is valid, and it’s all about collaboration.”
PBA community played a key role in the debate, and many students left excited to participate as voters in the upcoming election. Freshman transfer student Dominique Hoffman felt more unified with the student body after attending the event.
“It’s cool to see not only the two candidates come together to talk about unity, but to have the student body come out and support them was really incredible,” Hoffman said.
The official election will be February 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at various locations on campus. For more information, can check out the PBA Student Government Facebook page.