SGA election candidates announced; sophomore presidential ticket faces experienced executive branch members
by Delaney Anderson, Staff Writer
The season of change is approaching the University of West Florida campus as the 2019 Student Government Association elections enter full swing. Candidates were required to get all of the necessary materials in by Feb. 15 to qualify for the election, and students have been exposed to marketing strategies ever since.
After the controversial run-off election of 2018, the anticipation for this year’s election has been higher than ever.
With a total of 42 candidates and a high number of freshmen running, students are making constant efforts to have their voices heard and a chance to make a difference through elections.
There are two presidential and vice-presidential tickets this year: One is a pair of upcoming seniors who have previously been on the Executive Branch of SGA, and the other is a pair of current freshmen who are taking the direct leap from Freshman Committee to try their chance at the largest position in SGA.
Zenani Johnson, current Student Body Vice President, is campaigning with her running mate Jamie Calvert, current Chief of Staff, for the positions of president and vice-president, respectively.
Beginning their time in SGA together on the Freshman Committee in the Fall 2016 semester, Johnson and Calvert are approaching the 2019 election with a platform founded on the issues they have grown to be most passionate about, including student health and safety, campus amenities, and efforts to help the university go green.
“Being able to use my position to advocate for students is something I never thought I would be able to do,” Johnson said. “Giving others a voice is what these opportunities are for.”
The Johnson-Calvert ticket is running against newcomers in the presidential election. Their opponents are coming out of their freshman and junior years as they campaign for their chance to make an impact on both SGA and the student body.
Alby Clendennin, a freshman, and Brennen Beckwith, a junior, are running on a campaign to motivate students to “Think Different,” as they hope to bring new voices and ideas to SGA. Serving on the SGA Freshman Committee this year, Clendennin hopes to use his experience to motivate his campaign for presidency alongside his vice president, Beckwith.
The Clendennin-Beckwith platform includes plans to improve commuter and transfer student engagement, to support diverse student needs and to help create better lives for working students.
“We want to be more present in the University community,” said Clendennin. “We want to continue conversations with students on campus, so they don’t get the impression that SGA isn’t listening to them.”
Both the Johnson-Calvert and Clendennin-Beckwith tickets hope to use their platform to create the best experience for UWF students.
When voting, students will also be presented with choices for candidates of Treasurer, Emerald Coast Governor, and senators for each college on the main campus.
Emerald Coast Governor:
Senator – College of Science and Engineering
Senator – College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities
Senator – College of Business
Senator – College of Health
Ruben Gardner Jr.
Senator – College of Education and Professional Students
Elections will be from March 4-6, during which time students can vote through Argopulse or in person at the University Commons, and elected candidates will be announced the evening of March 6.