It’s not even the end of the school year, and the newly elected President of Student Government Association is already working on issues for next school year. President-elect Katy Sisco and Vice President-elect Dillon Williams were elected to SGA. Sisco and Williams received 268 votes, compared to presidential candidate Mary Beth Rosenauer and Derek Thompson, who had 174 votes. A total of 443 students voted in this year’s SGA election, which showed a decrease compared to last year’s numbers, where 1,065 students voted. “I feel very honored and excited for this opportunity to be elected the President of SGA,” Sisco said. “I’m excited for next year and ready to get things going.” Mary Beth Rosenauer, who ran against Sisco for SGA presidency, congratulated Sisco as the next President of SGA and plans to work with her in the future. She said in the debate that Sisco and herself are friends and plan to remain in contact. “I stay in contact with Katie every day,” Rosenauer said. “We are really good motivators for each other, and I’m very proud and excited for her.” Since she was elected, Sisco plans on keeping her campaign promise by visiting with organizations on campus throughout the rest of the school year. She wants the students to rest assured that she plans to keep them informed with everything SGA is doing. “Dillon and I have already started plans for our administration next year,” Sisco said. This new administration wants students to know they are welcome to come forth with issues on their minds. Sisco said she would try her best to fix any issues that are brought forth to SGA. Sisco believes her connection with residential life as a Residential Assistant will help the process become smoother when she brings up the issue of bringing back Residence Council to SGA as one of the branches for SGA. She was part of the effort to help RA’s bring back Residence Hall Association. If RHA is able to be reinstated, then Sisco believes RC might be an afterthought. “It would be beneficial to us to get more students involved on campus,” Sisco said. “We can put in place our representation and students can come and voice their opinions that live on campus.” Student leaders found the numbers low and the process of voting confusing this time around. Last year, students were able to go to Missouri Western's homepage and click the "Vote Here" button. This year, students had to click the "Students" tab to vote. SGA Senator MonTerio Seewood said he is happy for Katy Sisco and Dillon Williams. Seewood said Sisco and Williams had no SGA experience, but he believes they are both great leaders and are eager to learn. "We found that voting this year was quite low, compared to past elections," Seewood said. "I hope that next year we can find a way to get the students more engaged and interested in SGA and their elected student leaders." Jacob Scott, president of SGA, said that he is excited to see the new president and vice president take the oath and start their term. He believes Sisco and Williams will do a great job leading the Senate and are willing to work in the transition with Scott. However, he believes the election wasn’t as competitive as last year. “The election wasn’t as competitive as the one last year,” Scott said. “I think it was low because of spring break and there wasn’t as competitive like it was between my opponent and I on certain issues.” The inauguration is set for April 19 at 5:30p.m. in the Fulkerson Center.
SGA has voiced the idea of extending and improving parking for students to administration. A proposal has not been made yet but members of SGA are hoping that administration will make a decision soon. SGA Senator Travis Hart believes that once they get a sure answer from the administration, the process of proposing extended parking will be official. “Currently the Student Government Association is waiting on the administration to get back with us to proceed fourth with implementing the solutions to improve parking and accessibility on campus,” Hart said. “The issue is that administration is a little reluctant to get started right away and it’s taking time for them to get back with us." Hart noted that parking has been one of the more important issues on campus that students have voiced their opinions about. “Administration has other things on their agenda and it seems that they put parking, the number one complained issue on campus, basically on the back burner,” Hart said. “In particular, Lonnie Johnson.” There has not been any accurate estimates but they are patiently waiting to move forward and get something started before April. “Cale Fessler is the vice president of financial planning,” Hart said. “And I have been working with him to figure out the numbers. I’m waiting to hear back from him about our possibilities.” SGA hopes to expand parking in different areas, as well as helping with the accessibility around buildings like Potter and Griffon Residential hall. “We want to put a drop-off zone in Potter because currently there is not one,” Hart said. “We also want to improve residential hall parking by changing the barriers, making it more accessible for students living in the halls.” Hart and other members of SGA plan to implement a drop-off and pick-up zone for students with disabilities at Potter, Griffon and Scanlon hall, which they state is another top priority when dealing with parking. Students have been concerned about where they can park and there have also been complaints about the lack of parking spots. Lot G known as Blum Union parking lot is designated for staff, faculty and non-resident students from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m Monday thru Friday. Parking is prohibited from that parking lot from 2:00 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. Blum is a popular place for students and sometimes the parking area is full, leaving students having to park somewhere else that they may not be permitted to park at. Parking Lots H, E, F, O and Q are restricted for students living on campus with the proper decals on the back of their cars, open also from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. After 4:30 p.m. and on weekends, reserved parking lots B,E,F,H,I,J,K and N are open for general parking to all faculty, staff student and visitor parking. On weekends, parking in Blum parking lot will be open from Friday at 4:30 pm to Monday at 8am. Overnight parking is prohibited at Blum from 2-4:30 am. These restrictions have caused complaints from commuter students in general because most would like to park close to whatever building their class is taking place. The idea of extending parking is not far fetched for current SGA President Jacob Scott. He believes in the idea and hopes that it will be addressed by the end of the semester. “We have a parking improvements proposal,” Scott said. “We are trying to figure out the details, far as enrollment and also concerning specific laws regarding what parking improvements can be made.” Where the money will come from to pay for the improvements is uncertain at this point, but Scott is almost sure that students will not be issued any additional fees to help pay for the project. “As far as a fee is concerned, there really is not any in discussion,” Scott said. “It is a possibility, but we are hoping to do it internally through the money we have with SGA.” “Travis Hart offering the proposal and I am just supporting him,” Scott said. “Any time we have surveys around campus, parking is one of the more complained about issues. It is clearly an overwhelming concern.”
Involvement and accountability are what Student Government Association presidential candidate Katy Sisco and executive vice president candidate Dillon Williams hope to bring to SGA. [caption id="attachment_16709" align="alignleft" width="150"] Katy Sisco introduces herself to the audience at the SGA presidential debates. Dave Hon | Senior Editor[/caption] Sisco and Williams, both residential assistants, have no prior experience on senate; however, they would like to make SGA accessible to all students. “I just feel like I’m different because I’m actually on this campus 24/7 and I’m with the students 24/7. You know, I just live and breathe Missouri Western,” Sisco said. Sisco went on to say that despite her inexperience, she will bring a fresh perspective to student government. “[Mary Beth Rosenauer] has a little bit more knowledge of SGA, which I would say is a disadvantage for me, but again, I’m on the outside looking in yet I’m a fast learner and I really think that I’ve already learned a lot,” Sisco said. Although Sisco and Williams lack SGA experience, Williams is willing to undertake the responsibility of executive vice president. “I really don’t want anybody to think that just because I have no experience with SGA doesn't mean I’m not just as capable as somebody within SGA,” Williams said. The three main topics the running mates would like to address if elected are maximizing student engagement, informing students of the Student Success Act and where the money is going and having organizations support SGA. “I just see the decline of students involved and I just want to get them more involved and let them know that SGA is an entity that they can use to their advantage. I just don’t think they know that,” Sisco said. Being involved with several organizations, such as Phi Delta Theta fraternity, Griffon Edge, the VIP student ambassador program and the Gentlemen of Color Association, student involvement is especially important to Williams. “I really want to just maximize student engagement and increase involvement with the university,” Williams said. “As far as events and stuff are concerned, I know a lot of students that live off campus have no idea about SGA. They have no idea about WAC, WAC being the biggest organization, as far as events go on campus. I really just want to change that.” The Student Success Act is another significant component of this year’s SGA election. While it is still unclear if the act will be repealed or remain in place, Sisco and Williams support the act. “I am for the Student Success Act in the spirit that it, as a whole, helps the student body,” Sisco said. “I mean, a lot of people will talk about the fee that’s with it, the $75, and I’m concerned with that; however, I’m also concerned with other things with it, such as the money that’s rolled over.” Williams supports keeping the fee, but said, “There is no student voice in regards to that money right now.” He would like to have SGA representation during all meetings dealing with the money that fee collects. “All in all, I support the Student Success Act. I do believe it was created for the students,” Williams said. Regardless of the outcome of the election, Sisco said that both she and Rosenauer want to enact positive change within the student government. “I think its just different because we both are really passionate about, you know, not changing SGA. But every organization has things that just need a little tweaking,” Sisco said. “I think we are both just passionate about that.”
“Student Voice, Student Power” is the slogan for one team in this year’s SGA Presidential election. [caption id="attachment_16708" align="alignleft" width="150"] Jacob Scott, current SGA president, asks both candidates a question. [/caption] Music Education sophomore Mary Beth Rosenauer has chosen Vocal Music Education junior Derek Thompson as her running mate. Rosenauer has served on the Student Senate for the past two years and has been part of the Campus Advancement Committee as well. She started out as the Vice Chair of the committee and is now the Chair. Thompson has served the last two years as a Residential Assistant. “Derek and I have worked together in the past,” Rosenauer said. “I feel like we both have the ability to take what the students want and do our best to put it into action.” Student senator Jacob Teasely has thrown his support behind Rosenauer in her bid to become President. He thinks that her leadership and her friendship with Thompson make them a good pair who would work well with SGA. “Mary Beth has more experience,” Teasely said. “She is good at advocating good ideas and making them clear to the students.” Communication between student leaders and the students is a top priority for Rosenauer. She said her connection with the administration sets her apart and can be beneficial. Her experience working on issues with University President Robert Vartabedian and Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Judith Grimes is what SGA needs in a President. “I know how the administration likes to go about doing things and their intentions,” Rosenauer said. “I offer students my service on how to work on the relationship between the student body and the administration.” The Student Success Act, which was passed by the Student Senate last year, is one issue that Thompson would like to take a deeper look at to see what can be done about it. He believes that better communication between the students and the administration on where the funds are going is an issue that needs to be addressed. “I remember the student fee going into effect,” Thompson said. “With me not being involved in SGA, I didn’t know what the act did and that’s an issue that we must address.” Rosenauer who voted for the Student Success Act believes at the time of the vote the administration had good intentions. The information that she received over the fee, with a proposed 10 percent cut from the state, at the time made the act a necessity. She believes that many on SGA now probably would like to back their vote in favor of the fee now. Thompson said that his experience as a leader in residential life would be beneficial when dealing with students on issues like the student fee or other major issues. “Students should be allowed to know where their money is going,” Thompson said. “I think SGA would be a good place to continue my service to the students and to hear their voices.” If elected, Rosenauer would like to continue SGA President Jacob Scott’s mission of finding out where exactly the funds are going. Under her presidency, she would like the administration to come forth and tell SGA why funding is still needed for the act. If no evidence can point to a direction where funding is needed, then she would consider repealing the act entirely. “We need to find out if the fee is even needed anymore,” Rosenauer said. “If they can’t give us any facts or numbers as to why we need the fee, then we would definitely look into repealing it.” Rosenauer believes students think the SGA is not seen as a student body organization that connects one on one with the students it elects. “I often feel that students believe SGA is a puppet to the administration and not really there for the students,” Rosenauer said. “We need better connection and that’s what I plan to do.”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3CC0-Aa7Ng&list=UUNr5PUW7JHF-kInjsP8RVvg&index=1 Attendees of the debate should walk away from Monday’s event further educated on both SGA president candidates. [caption id="attachment_16744" align="alignleft" width="150"] Katy Sisco (left) and Mary Beth Rosenauer (right) debated on Monday night for the SGA Presidential Election. Dave Hon and Brian Duskey[/caption] Katy Sisco and Mary Beth Rosenauer both did what they could to sway students into electing them as the future president of SGA. Both candidates spoke heavily on being a voice for students and improving the student life at Western. Rosenauer noted that she has always been interested in politics and she took that into account when deciding to run for president of SGA. Other election coverage News Rosenauer plans to take on MWSU administration if elected Sisco has fresh ideas for SGA Student government election season begins Opinions Guest Column: Mary Beth Rosenauer targets communication Guest Column: Katy Sisco will address critical issues “Government politics is something that I have always been passionate about since high school,” Rosenauer said. “But not only that, just passionate about connecting with my students and peers. The idea of putting those two together just seem like a pretty good fit for me.” Sisco said that since she has attended Western, she has been heavily involved with students on campus. She said that as a RA in the dorms she often hears complaints from students about things they hope will improve. “I have been living here for three years and I am a senior RA,” Sisco said. “I get really close to people and I find out what their issues and concerns are. I think that with my outside view looking in, I can see that there are a few issues that need to be tweaked or hit on.” When asked about the improvement of Blum Union, both candidates seemed to be on the same page in making sure that students where the main focus when dealing with renovations. Rosenauer noted that she has been working diligently to try and improve Blum starting with installing new TV sets and games, including pool tables. “What is more important is if that is what the students want,” Rosenauer said. “That is actually something students are looking towards to. They have come to us at senate meetings and told us that this issue is something that is important to them." Sisco thinks that improving Blum would allow students to engage with things always set up on campus. “I believe that there should be changes to Blum union seeing that it is a student union,” Sisco said. “People should be able to feel comfortable with going there and hanging out with people.” Student of Western Nick Brothers expected the candidates to go into more detail, but explained that he walked away with good thought on both candidates. “I appreciate both candidates passion and desire to communicate,” Brothers said. “I certainly would have liked a little bit more substance. I am fairly certain with my vote at this point and I am looking forward to working with them in the future as a student.” [gallery ids="16710,16709,16708,16698,16688"]