CORLISS SMITHEN |
ST. THOMAS – The campaign for Student Government Association positions has reached a fever pitch in recent days.
With barely one week left before poll day, candidates vying for seats on the SGA board are pulling out all the stops to distinguish themselves from their rivals. Seven positions are up for grabs – president, vice president, sophomore senator, junior senator, senior senator, treasurer, and student representative to the Board of Trustees.
Three candidates – Marvin Shelford, Yohance Martin, and Ish-Shawnnn Halbert – have thrown their hats in the ring for the SGA presidential seat.
With his campaign slogan, “Your Choice; Your Change,” Shelford is promising that once elected, he will improve the UVI shuttle transportation system to make it more reliable and less congested. He will actively advocate for the improvement of campus surveillance and security and increase on-campus and off-campus activities and entertainment.
He will coordinate an effective and efficient grievance committee to defend the rights of students and lobby against the inflation of students’ tuition and institutional fees. He will also actively advocate for profitable ventures and opportunities for students, such as on-campus jobs and scholarships and enhance the overall academic, recreational and sanitary conditions at UVI.
Martin’s aim, according to his catchphrase, is “To Satisfy the People.”
If given the mandate, Halbert will ensure “better cafeteria conditions, learning assistance, new and diverse activities, renovations and additions and policy updates and outreach programs,” according to his campaign poster.
Deeno Cumberbatch, Cashkim Bussue, and Cody Richardson, who is Martin’s running mate, have their eyes on the vice presidency.
“Change is a must, not an option” is Bussue’s rallying cry. He is assuring students that a vote for him is a vote for “re-evaluated parking system; improved health system/insurance; employment opportunities for international students; and revived campus life.”
The position of SGA Treasurer is being sought after by Tonya Greene and Denaesha Phipps.
Greene has taken to social media to boost her campaign and according to her Facebook page, her number one focus “would be the financial and economic concern of the student body.” As SGA Treasurer, Greene will “lobby for fair and equal disbursement of funds to all registered clubs, organizations and associations and actively advocate for profitable ventures for the benefit of the SGA and student population.
She will coordinate financial seminars to educate and encourage students on the best practices for savings and wise money management and encourage clubs to collaborate with other clubs on events to help share the financial burdens of organizing events. She will also have monthly financial reporting for transparency and ensure the proper and accurate record keeping of the SGA.”
Phipps is simply urging students to “Make A Vote That Counts.”
Contestants vying for SGA Sophomore Senator are Denine Hurtault and Kaunda Williams.
Both Lisa Marie-Hodge and DeWein Pelle are campaigning for the office of SGA Junior Senator.
If elected to serve in that position, Pelle plans to increase campus engagement/activities, foster UVI-related projects to better the Virgin Islands community, increase students’ academic performance and facilitate student internships (career productivity and readiness).
Hodge’s catch line is, “Let her voice be the change you wish to see! Vote for progress and equality!”
The lone candidate for senior senator is Tonecia Rogers.
SGA hopefuls have been seen around campus familiarizing themselves with students in meet-and-greet sessions inside the classrooms, at the library, at the cafeteria, in the hallways, and in dormitories.
Two students – Hakim Potter and Devon Williams – are each hoping to be elected as Student Representative to the Board of Trustees.
Potter describes himself as “a student who is not afraid to speak up; a student who believes in equality” and he is asking his peers to “let him be your voice.”
On Tuesday night, SGA aspirants will officially launch their platforms before the student population at a “Meet the Candidates” forum scheduled for 7 at the West Hall Conference Room.
Election Day is slated for Thursday April, 15. There will be two polling stations – juniors and seniors will cast their votes at the library (upper campus), while freshmen and sophomores will be balloting at the CA building (lower campus).
Polls open at 9 a.m. and close at 6 p.m.