Students prepare for public service.

On Monday, Feb. 12 the Student Government Association (SGA) held a campaign meeting for their annual elections.

With roughly 25 people in attendance, Wilden 103 bustled with students in business formal attire. The agenda included a welcome by Director of Communications Morgan Lawrence and various items such as scheduling headshots, a request for ballot biographies, campaign restrictions and the upcoming Elections Chapel.

This year’s executive elections will take place on Feb. 26 through Google forms; elections close at 5 p.m. on Feb. 28. Senate elections are expected to take place March 13-15.

This past year, SGA had 27 elected and appointed members. Although all elected positions are open for re-run and chosen by the student body, appointed positions are completed through the interview process.

According to Lawrence, students were informed about the opportunity through the Office of Communiversity’s “APU 411” emails, posters for an SGA information night, their personal newsletter, social media and word of mouth.

Angela Pham, economics and humanities double major and SGA vice president, encouraged candidates to run their campaigns from the perspective of what they can do for the community.

“Why do you matter in the election? What do you stand for? What makes you different?” she said.

In response to what motivates her to pursue a political standing, presidential candidate Alexis Diaz said, “I’m driven by a deep understanding of gaps in our community… in order to serve a complex and unique group of students, we need to foster an atmosphere for discovering truth through hearing each other’s stories.” Diaz explained that her choice to run for office is rooted in a desire make APU a welcoming home to more students.

Pham reminded students that listening to the needs of the student body goes beyond the election season. She said, “You’re not just listening now, but you will be for the year to come.”

SGA regulates campaigning to provide “equal opportunity” to all those who endeavor to join student government. Some of the ways in which they do this is by capping campaign spending at $50, requiring that all headshots be taken at the SGA office, and enforcing a 3-5 minute speaking time for the candidates running for executive positions like president, vice president, and controller.

When asked about this policy, Pham responded, “It’s to keep everyone on the same playing field… there are a lot of differences in the connections that students have here and the resources that they have.”

Pham touched on the perception of a “popularity contest” within campaigning.

“[Students] always think, ‘oh, people usually want RA’s to be vice president.’ There’s kind of a leadership hierarchy that some people perceive [about APU], which isn’t really true,” and “the people that you see on screen or on stage, most the time it’s not because they’re super amazing; it’s because they’re serving their campus in that way.”

The next major step on SGA’s agenda is Elections Chapel, which kicks off voting on Monday, Feb. 26. The event will take place on west campus and be live-streamed to east campus. Students can expect speeches from current SGA President James Whitfield and those running for executive positions. Short clips of those running for Senate seats will play on the screens, and all candidates will be present in-person on west campus.

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