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Breaking down the SGA presidential race

Breaking down the SGA presidential race

Breaking down the SGA presidential race
March 18
00:43 2014

Joshua Knopp // Senior Staff Writer

Painting with a very broad brush, the platforms of the three Student Government Association presidential candidates are nearly identical.

Each candidate wants to increase the strength of communication between students and SGA, between SGA and UNT administration and between students and administration, with each ticket even going into detail about how it would increase student involvement. Each ticket is also looking to make SGA run more smoothly as an organization.


Communication studies sophomore Pedro Ortiz and political science junior Donald Poer say they will bring together a group of delegates from campus student organizations to communicate directly with SGA, as well as increase the number of senators who interact with administrators. The ticket also stresses working more with the Graduate Student Council and making SGA more accountable as well as easier to join. Externally, Ortiz-Poer will try to increase campus sustainability and improve parking.

Ortiz and Poer have experience with the organization on their side. Both have been involved in SGA since they came to campus, Ortiz in Spring 2013 and Poer since his freshman year. Ortiz was involved in the student survey about the smoking ban and expanding voter registration on campus. More recently, he’s served as the head of the student affairs committee. Poer is the only vice presidential candidate with direct SGA experience.

Poer said the focus on sustainability will mainly be getting more recycling bins on campus. He said UNT is constantly falling short compared to other schools nationwide in recycling, and he will be looking to improve recycling statistics as vice president.


Troy Elliot (left), Pedro Ortiz and Katrina Gibson (right).


General, choral and instrumental music sophomore Troy Elliott and recreation, event and sport management sophomore Kamaeron Willard say they will also try to put together a group of delegates from campus organizations. Elliott-Willard is also looking to improve entry into SGA by opening up the freshman intern program to transfer and international students. The duo’s other main focuses are on making sure students know what administrators are up to and what’s going on in the larger political world that affects college students.

Elliott has served on term as an SGA senator, but the duo’s qualifications are primarily their work with their fraternities and the Black Student Union. Elliott is the current president of the Black Student Union, and in that role he’s already implemented a delegate system with the organizations BSU represents. This is the structure he wants to translate to SGA. Willard acted as the BSU representative to those organizations, and also has executive experience as president of UNT’s Omega Psi Phi chapter.

Elliott emphasized getting internal SGA improvements done quickly in the summer session and being there to represent students in the fall. Like the other candidates, he wants to increase student communication with UNT administration, but is much more critical of the current structure, saying that SGA has become a way for the UNT executive board to say students are involved in projects they don’t even know about.

Elliott pointed to the student union fee vote in January 2013, in which only 2,200 students voted out of 36,000. He said his administration will work with news media and to spread the word themselves to make sure student votes are more informed in the future.


Pre-interior design senior Katrina Gibson and interdisciplinary master’s student Le’Dean Arnold would hold a summit instead of creating a panel, but the goal is similar to the other two tickets — bringing more students into contact with SGA and with each other and giving SGA a better idea of how to represent students from all corners of the campus.

Gibson has served on SGA for one semester, and served on SGA in Cedar Valley College in the Dallas Community College District. Arnold serves on the graduate student council. Gibson feels that as a transfer and formerly a long-distance commuter student herself and with a graduate student running mate, her ticket is better prepared to represent these students.

Feature photo: UNT Student Government Association Logo. Graphic courtesy of UNT SGA.

Center photo: General, choral and instrumental music sophomore Troy Elliot (left), communication studies sophomore Pedro Ortiz and pre-interior design senior Katrina Gibson. Photos by Joshua Knopp / Senior Staff Writer   

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