Barring a shocking number of write-in votes, the race for next year’s SGA President and Vice-President has been decided. John Bruer ’16 and William Seabrook ’16, President and Vice-President respectively, are running uncontested for the top SGA positions. They will be the first single-gender duo in several years.
Both have been heavily involved in SGA over the years, and are members of this year’s SGA executive team. Bruer, a Physics and Economics major, is the current Oleville Webmaster and works in the Student Senate. Seabrook, Political Science and Economics major with an emphasis in Finance, is the Executive Assistant for Senate, SOC and ADC.
Despite running uncontested, Bruer and Seabrook have aggressively publicized their candidacy and platform. Both expressed surprise at the lack of competition, but believe that forging connections with the student body now is vital for a productive term in office.
“We want there to be a lot of excitement about the elections, and we’re extremely excited to be running in this race, ” Bruer said. “We hope that regardless of the elections being contested or uncontested, that the students still feel connected to us, and that they’re aware that we’re running and what we’re running on, and the things we’d like to do for student government.”
One of their main goals next year is to make the SGA structure more open and accessible to the student body. One tangible way this can happen is an updated Oleville page.
“We want every student organization to have their own page,” Seabrook said. “So that everyone in the organization can go through Oleville to then put out events, to put out SOC funding requests, and to make it easier for everyone to get involved.”
According to Bruer, many students do not realize the full extent of SGA’s involvement in student organizations. SGA funding supports many student groups that students may not consider part of the government structure. He hopes to increase student awareness about SGA and its potential.
“We want students to recognize this, as well help them discover new ways to enhance their time on the Hill,” Bruer said. “We want to make sure that there’s a space for every student organization that wants to put their events up on Oleville and recruit people to join their organizations so it’s not just the one-and-done at the org fair. We want these type of things to be easily accessible.
The word accessibility came up repeatedly when discussing their platform and plans for next year. For students outside the SGA system, it can be difficult to implement ideas or make requests of the government. Bruer and Seabrook want to change that. They want to simplify channels of access and dialogue between the student body and the Senate.
Another area of emphasis is sexual assault response and policy. The current executive duo, Rachel Palermo ’15 and Nick Stumo-Langer ’15, have made it a point to encourage dialogue about campus sexual assault and the related administrative policy. They have done admirable work and Bruer and Seabrook plan to continue the focus on this sensitive issue.
“We’re both on the It’s On Us task force,” Seabrook said. “We know that it’s hard to talk about these issues and the fact that they’re being talked about now is super important and we want to continue that. Be it with the task force, be it with a subcommittee, be it with more events about that, we want to keep the It’s On Us ball rolling.”
Seabrook hopes that SGA can build on the strides made this year, and potentially create tangible policy change regarding sexual assault.
“We think that sexual assault is such an important issue on this campus and we’re so glad to be a part of the It’s On Us movement that has started with Rachel and Nick and several other key people on campus, and that’s definitely not something that we want to see dropped,” Bruer said. “We’ve worked so hard to build momentum behind it and get people talking, and get as many people involved at different events or different meetings, and try and brainstorm ways that we can improve this campus through culture change.”
The It’s On Us campaign’s collaborative nature stands as an aspiration for other SGA movements. Seabrook thinks that student government can apply lessons from this particular campaign to other campus initiatives.
“It’s On Us is such an important motto because of its message, but also because of its method of gaining traction,” Seabrook said. “The cool thing is that its not just Senate, its not just subcommittee, we’re getting the Wellness Center, we’re getting SARN involved, so all these people that may not normally work together are coming together on this issue.”
Despite an aggressive satirical campaign by two of their friends, Bruer and Seabrook will have the chance to implement these and other changes next year.
Photo Courtesy of William Seabrook