DePaul SGA election: Candidate questionnaires

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Below are candidate questionnaires compiled by The DePaulia. Questionnaires were edited only for formatting, and candidates are listed in alphabetical order under their respective positions. All candidates were provided the same questions.

[toggle title_open=”President: Vanessa Cadavillo” title_closed=”President: Vanessa Cadavillo” hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default” excerpt_length=”0″ read_more_text=”Read More” read_less_text=”Read Less” include_excerpt_html=”no”]

Hometown/state:
Skokie, Illinois

Year in school/area(s) of study:
Junior, Major: Political Science, Minor: Economics

Name an interesting thing about yourself (not related to SGA):
Not many people know that I am a first generation college student within my family and have been a commuter for the past two years. The most pivotal moment for me thus far in my enrollment has been the opportunity of taking a course on the Life and Times of Vincent DePaul and participating in the Vincentian Heritage Tour in France during the spring break.

Please state your prior experience with SGA (if any):
Senator for First Year Students, Senator for Second Year Students, and Executive Vice President for Student Affairs.

Please state your current or prior experience in leadership roles (not related to SGA):
Panhellenic Council University Involvement Award recipient, Director of Chapter Archives of Delta Gamma Fraternity, Director of Rituals of Delta Gamma Fraternity, Sophomore Honor Board Member of Delta Gamma Fraternity, Morale Captain for DemonTHON, Orientation Leader in the Office of New Student and Family Engagement.
How have/has your previous leadership roles/experience prepared you to run for SGA?

I’ve been involved in various the organizations the past three years, being the Student Government Association but I’d like to highlight my role as an orientation leader. Through my interactions with students and departments, it enhanced my ability to inform others of all the university has to offer but also informing myself. It also allowed me to converse with first year students on theirinitial concerns and questions upon entering DePaul and has given me the opportunity to be a resource not only in their first year, but in years to come. Within SGA, I’ve been able to work on projects which have ranged from sustainability practices and campus safety within the Operations Committee to campus affinity and tradition efforts, Monetary Awards Program (MAP) lobbying, and student collaboration initiatives through the Student Affairs Committee. Furthermore, I’ve been involved in various committees, task forces and boards along with hiring search committees within the university. These experiences have given me a holistic understanding and appreciation for the existence of the Student Government Association. With my passion for serving students paired with my involvement in SGA and other organizations on campus, I am confident in my ability, along with my running mate, Ric Popp, to lead and further work for our peers. I am approaching the end of my third year on the Student Government Association and throughout my involvement within the organization each year has been different from one another. This has enhanced my adaptability within changing environments and situations. I have been able to learn more about the structure of this governing body, how to effectively accomplish initiatives, and how to communicate projects with students, faculty, and administration.
If you are elected, do you plan to serve in leadership roles in other DePaul student organizations? If so, which ones?

If elected as SGA President, I see it as my duty to continue my participation in the organizations I am currently a member of while also broadening my horizons by connecting with organizations that I am not so familiar with. My main focus will be enhancing SGA as an advocate for students and reaching out to as many students as possible.

What are your top three initiatives for your specific position in SGA? Please explain.
Throughout this campaign, my running mate and I have emphasized a set of ten initiatives. The three that I’d like to highlight are Educational Affordability, Inclusivity and Collaboration, and SGA as an advocate in Chicago and Illinois.

Educational Affordability: We recognize that higher education has a hefty financial impact on most college students which doesn’t include the other finances such as textbooks, room and board, and membership in student organizations. Through continued advocacy for the Monetary Award Program (MAP) and Federal Pell Grants, we hope to maintain those as resources for students to relieve financial burden. It is also our hope to push for an increase in those grant programs to adequately support the rising need from our students. Furthermore, we will strive to educate students on the resources for scholarship and grant opportunities accessible within DePaul through avenues such as Academic Works, and entities that exist outside of the institution. It is also our duty in representing student concerns regarding the rising cost of tuition during the tuition and pricing process. It is not only important to keep tuition costs down but we must also continue efforts to increase scholarships and financial aid available to our students.

Inclusivity and Collaboration: It is important to us as student representatives to engage with more individual students along with student organizations. One of the key initiatives in the upcoming school year is to create relationships with organizations and students on campus to engage in conversations that will help us better represent the student body. Through mix n mingles, student leader roundtables, promotion and attendance of other organization events on campus, we will enhance our understanding of the concerns and questions that linger within the student body. It is our hope to strengthen those ties with students not only for the upcoming year but for years to come.

SGA as an advocate in Chicago and Illinois: We believe that DePaul is an anchor institution within the city of Chicago. However, it is important to maintain interconnectedness with other colleges and universities statewide. By sustaining these relationships with other institutions that have formed this past year, we can collectively and productively discuss issues such as educational costs, financial aid, and current issues existing within our campuses such as instance sexual assault and safety. Thus we can create strong and unified messages to relay to government officials and state legislators that will elevate the priority of these concerns. Outside of current SGA initiatives, what do you believe are some of the biggest concerns ofcurrent students? Student Well-Being in general but more specifically sexual assault prevention, bystander intervention, and safety on campus are definitely at the forefront of student concerns not only within our institution but also colleges and universities nationwide. While there have been efforts that have progressed this past year getting students, faculty and staff, and administration involved, there are always ways we can improve the work being done. By educating students early in their attendance at DePaul, we hope to press the urgency of this topic through the implementation of the Haven module to first year and transfer students. Until sexual violence is 100% eliminated for all DePaul students, our work will not be done.

Name one area in SGA that you think can be improved upon. Please explain.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous answer, one thing that can be improved within SGA is the engagement with more student organizations and individuals on campus. We hope that by promoting student organized events along with department resources can help strengthen the relationship between SGA representatives and their respective constituents. SGA is here as a resource and advocate for DePaul students and it is our duty to better immerse ourselves in the work that organizations and students are doing to better represent student concerns. By becoming more engaged with students and student organizations will help us best represent the greater student body.

The lack of student participation in their student government has been a well-documented problem. How do you encourage students to be engaged in the process both during election season and throughout the rest of the year?
From my experiences in past elections as well as the current one, it is important to get outside of your comfort zone and interact with all students. It has been a personal goal of mine to engage in conversation with students I have never met before and create that first point of connection. It is through interconnectedness and personal relationships that encourage individuals to participate in times such as election season or simply encouraging students to attend campus events. This idea of reaching out to students and organizations will remain a priority in the upcoming school year, if elected.

Please identify areas where SGA can work with the university administration to achieve positive change for students.
It is important to maintain a relationship and conversations with administration which can lead to progression of the initiatives that I’ve mentioned in past answers. It is our role as SGA members to work with not only administration but students, faculty and staff to collectively bring positive change to fruition.

Please identify areas where you may disagree with the administration and be willing to challenge them.
We recognize that differences may arise between the perspectives of students and administration.It is our duty and purpose as SGA members to represent and advocate for student concerns. We also recognize the importance of sustaining productive dialogue and relationships withinadministration regardless in clashing views. So in an instance where we may disagree with administrators on a student concern, our focus will be on engaging productive dialogue to come to a compromise and enact some form of positive change. Please articulate your position on transparency in SGA and at the university-level. There is always room for improvement to increase transparency on the resources, processes, and initiatives that happen within the university. It is crucial in finding new and effective ways to better engage members of the DePaul community that will foster a safe and comfortable learning environment for all. Some ways we hope to increase transparency may include continuing to improve our SGA website and social media presence. Through these avenues, we also believe we can work to make university decisions and processes more accessible and transparent to students.

Explain why you are most qualified for the office you are running for and why students should vote for you in three sentences or less (basically, give us your campaign stump speech).
Through my three years of involvement within Student Government Association, participation in the plethora of student organizations and functions on campus, experiences as a first generation college student all while being a commuter, has helped me gain a more holistic understanding of the questions and concerns our diverse student body is currently facing. With that, I recognize that there is room for growth and improvement in my ability, along with SGA’s role, as a resource for all students which is why this upcoming school year, if elected, I look forward to enhancing the inclusivity and collaboration on DePaul’s campus toward common goals. My passion for serving students and the greater DePaul community paired with my integrity and appreciation for the Vincentian mission, I am confident that I am the most qualified candidate because I know how to pinpoint student issues and take action to confront those concerns. If elected, Ric and I will work day and night to serve the DePaul student body in every capacity.

Anything you would like to add?
I am passionate about DePaul and I am passionate about DePaul students and the DePaul community. To me, the Vincentian mission means serving the community and not only challenging myself but also challenging my peers to go outside of what is comfortable. By doing this, we allow ourselves to have productive collaboration and healthy dialogue thus being able to come together toward a common goal. There is nothing more I’d like to do than to continue serving the DePaul community. St. Louise de Marillac once said, “All must be done with gentleness of heart and humility, as we consider the interests of those with whom we are working rather than our own”. I find this quote to encompass my feelings toward serving the students of this institution and my hope for the upcoming school year.[/toggle]

[toggle title_open=”Close” title_closed=”President: Luke Kula” hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default” excerpt_length=”0″ read_more_text=”Read More” read_less_text=”Read Less” include_excerpt_html=”no”]
Hometown/state:
Des Plaines, Illinois

Year in school/area(s) of study:
Junior, majoring in political science, minors in economics and Spanish

Name an interesting thing about yourself (not related to SGA):
I have played in three different rock/hip-hop bands in which I sang, rapped, and played guitar.

Please state your prior experience with SGA (if any):
I have served for the entirety of the 2014-15 academic year as one of the two Senators for the College of Liberals Arts and Social Science

Please state your current or prior experience in leadership roles (not related to SGA):
For two years I have been President of DePaul Congressional Debate, in which I organized and registered as a student organization from scratch. It has become a quite successful team, placing first at the Northwestern Tournament this past winter, and second at the University of Illinois Tournament this past spring.
How have/has your previous leadership roles/experience prepared you to run for SGA?
Being President of Congressional Debate has taught me the intricacies of personal relationships with other people and the importance of listening to what other people have to say and keeping an open mind. I have learned that I am only one set of ears and that my experiences might not be analogous to those of other students. Therefore when a student comes to me with a problem and is from a background that is wholly different than my own, it is my duty to listen to everything they have to say.
If you are elected, do you plan to serve in leadership roles in other DePaul student organizations? If so, which ones?
I may stay on as Captain of DePaul Congressional Debate, but that will depend on the time commitment required of the SGA Presidency. First and foremost will be my dedication to achieving change for the DePaul student body, and fighting for their interests.

What are your top three initiatives for your specific position in SGA? Please explain.
Supporting Students – ensuring that students are supported in all capacities, that is financial, but also physical, emotional and environmental
Common Campus Environment – making strides to reach out to and involve students that traditionally may find it hard adjusting to DePaul or the college life-style, students such as long-distance commuters, transfers, veterans, international, freshman, low-income, and first generation students.
Campus Safety – making sure that DePaul students always have a physically safe environment on campus, and that fighting sexual assault remain at the forefront of SGA’s mission.
Vincentian Values – always asking the question of ‘What must be done?’ and following in the footsteps of St. Vincent DePaul by always fighting for those who may not have a voice, or who are unable to help themselves. Ensuring that DePaul remains an environment open to all students and that we welcome everyone with open arms.

Outside of current SGA initiatives, what do you believe are some of the biggest concerns of current students?
I would have to put it down into largely three categories, that many long distance commuter, transfer and low income students find it hard to get involved at DePaul, the rising costs of higher education, which has become an especially difficult burden on low-income students, and physical security on campus.

Name one area in SGA that you think can be improved upon. Please explain.
I personally believe that SGA could do more to reach out to students who don’t traditionally get involved on campus, students such as those I have mentioned before, long distance commuters, veterans, transfer students, low income students. I believe SGA could do more to engage students like these and help provide them the avenues to get more involved on campus, so every DePaul student, no matter their background or circumstances can have the same opportunity.
The lack of student participation in their student government has been a well-documented problem. How do you encourage students to be engaged in the process both during election season and throughout the rest of the year?
First of all, by giving students an option in who to vote for in their executive branch, which has largely been absent over the past four years or so. This will be the first election in several years for example, in which there is more than one ticket running for President and Vice-President.
Additionally I would like to do things to engage students in fun, original ways, perhaps by creating SGA sponsored mix and mingles that would allow DePaul students to meet other DePaul students or by reaching out and asking students what their concerns are and constantly working with them to see improvement.

Please identify areas where SGA can work with the university administration to achieve positive change for students.
I believe that first and foremost, SGA should be essentially a mouthpiece for expressing student concern. That beyond anything else SGA can provide a great service to DePaul by letting DePaul faculty, staff and administrators know about and understand student concerns. Such as the mental, emotional and financial difficulties of students commuting long-distances, barriers that prevent students from getting involved, or a lack of assistance for DePaul students living off campus.
Please identify areas where you may disagree with the administration and be willing to challenge them.
I want to work with the administration wherever possible. Conflict, to me, is a road to nowhere. I believe that the administration is full of likeminded, open-minded individuals that I will be able to work with to achieve the change that students need.
However, if conflict does arise, at the end of the day, my loyalty is to the DePaul student body, and I will always voice their concerns and fight for them.

Please articulate your position on transparency in SGA and at the university-level.
I believe that since we live in a democratic society, and that we got to a university that prides itself on allowing students from all background come and express their opinions, that SGA has a duty to be as transparent as is possible. This to me means ensuring that secret votes are eliminated wherever possible, that minutes are published after every meeting, and that SGA positions, when they become available are known to students.

Explain why you are most qualified for the office you are running for and why students should vote for you in three sentences or less (basically, give us your campaign stump speech).
Coming to DePaul, has been for me, probably among the three greatest choices, I have ever made in my life. The student body, the opportunities, the mission of ‘What must be done?’ are all things that speak to me. I believe that I have the proper balance of having served on SGA, having been a student leader, always and being a DePaul student that allows me to first of all recognize problems facing DePaul students and then go out and fight as hard as I can to see that they are addressed and fixed.

Anything you would like to add?
I would absolutely be humbled to take up the duties of President of the DePaul Student Government Association. I want to be your advocate, and with your support and engagement we can make DePaul into the University we know it can be.
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[toggle title_open=”EVP of Operations: Adriana Kemper” title_closed=”EVP of Operations: Adriana Kemper” hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default” excerpt_length=”0″ read_more_text=”Read More” read_less_text=”Read Less” include_excerpt_html=”no”]
Hometown/state:
Peoria, Illinois

Year in school/area(s) of study:
Freshman- Environmental Studies concentration in Sustainability and minor in Economics

Name an interesting thing about yourself (not related to SGA):
I have been a vegetarian for 4 years and am on my third week being a vegan!

Please state your prior experience with SGA (if any):
2015 Senator for First Year Students

Please state your current or prior experience in leadership roles (not related to SGA):
Green Team Eco-Rep, member of Fair Trade Committee and in Richwoods High School Student Council Executive Secretary.

How have/has your previous leadership roles/experience prepared you to run for SGA?
Within student government this past year I was on the Operations committee and attended many of the CAPS events as well as promoted Vinny Van during Midterms and Finals weeks. Also, being involved within these organizations has taught me the importance of time management and developing relationships with people.

If you are elected, do you plan to serve in leadership roles in other DePaul student organizations? If so, which ones?
I do not hold any leadership roles next year; however, I do plan on joining more organizations.

What are your top three initiatives for your specific position in SGA? Please explain.
Sustainability
Continue communication with Chartwells to implement more sustainable options such as reusable dishware and continue biodegradable containers rather than styrofoam.
Continue conversations that will encourage the expansion of meal options for individuals with dietary restrictions such as gluten allergies and veganism.
Educate students to be more cognizant of their ecological footprint by implementing interactive programs, media, and activities that foster conversation regarding sustainability.
Blue Demon Affinity
Improve the climate of institutional pride by encouraging student to take part in the “On Thursdays We Wear Blue” campaign and promote university traditions and events.
Work with facility operations to further connect DePaul identity throughout campus.
Coordinate with Athletic Department to host game watches.
Safety
Coordinate with Public Safety to enhance the service efficiency to students though suggesting a system that will notify waiting time of the next available ride.
Educate students on various topics regarding safety through quarterly Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) meetings.
Continue to promote Vinny Van during midterms and finals.
Promote expanding hours in the library and other quiet study spaces throughout midterms and finals.

Outside of current SGA initiatives, what do you believe are some of the biggest concerns of current students?
I believe some of the biggest concerns to current students are educational affordability, stress from class, work, and future debt.
Name one area in SGA that you think can be improved upon. Please explain.
I think that SGA can expand their outreach to student organizations, rather than organizations reaching out to SGA to discuss concerns have student government representatives go to the students.
The lack of student participation in their student government has been a well-documented problem. How do you encourage students to be engaged in the process both during election season and throughout the rest of the year?
Most students do not know about Student Government because they have not had someone reach out to them personally. Students may see many posters around campus; however, I believe it is more effective to speak to individuals personally. By attending meetings of organizations and spreading events to people are more likely to remember and participate.

Please identify areas where SGA can work with the university administration to achieve positive change for students.
Student Government can advocate on behalf of the students to the administration in many circumstances. For instance, in regards to my candidacy for EVP of operations this position has the ability to advocate for convenient and easy accessibility of room reservations and when buildings are open. SGA as a whole has the ability to inform the administration of student concerns and make steps to address the issues.

Please identify areas where you may disagree with the administration and be willing to challenge them.
Some areas I may disagree with the administration would possibly regard tuition pricing, if the administration wants to place additional charges on students that could potentially cause some students to not afford attending DePaul.

Please articulate your position on transparency in SGA and at the university-level.
I believe that if students have questions about what is happening within SGA and the administration they should have the ability to know how to get those answers. Although our meetings are open to the public, I think it would be more effective to have more representatives from SGA to reach out to other organizations.
Explain why you are most qualified for the office you are running for and why students should vote for you in three sentences or less (basically, give us your campaign stump speech).
I LOVE DEPAUL! It is extremely cliché; however, after my first year at this institution I absolutely adore what it stands for and the opportunities we have with a DePaul diploma. I am also extremely passionate about sustainable development, and as EVP of operations I have the ability to express my DePaul pride by incorporating more “blue” on campus as well as reducing our waste and carbon footprint.

Anything you would like to add?
Thank you very much for the opportunity! I am really enjoying getting to participate with not only the DePaulia but also all the other organizations we have visited.
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[toggle title_open=”EVP of Operations: Lindsey Salter” title_closed=”EVP of Operations: Lindsey Salter” hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default” excerpt_length=”0″ read_more_text=”Read More” read_less_text=”Read Less” include_excerpt_html=”no”]
Hometown/state:
Chester County, Pennsylvania

Year in school/area(s) of study:
Sophomore studying Public Policy and Peace, Justice and Conflicts Studies

Name an interesting thing about yourself (not related to SGA):
I have lived in six different states, played basketball and soccer for most of my life, and hate raisins.

Please state your prior experience with SGA (if any):
I have no prior experience with SGA.

Please state your current or prior experience in leadership roles (not related to SGA):
Last summer I served as an Orientation Leader for DePaul’s New Student and Family Engagement Office. Currently, I am a DePaul Community Service Association Coordinator for D.R.E.A.M., and a mentor/volunteer for Community Peacemakers.

How have/has your previous leadership roles/experience prepared you to run for SGA?
My pervious leadership roles have given me the skills necessary to organize, communicate, develop and execute various projects efficiently within group settings. I have also developed critical listening skills, which are necessary when addressing issues that affect a diverse population of students and communities. My experiences have taught me how to be a sensitive, but effective leader.
If you are elected, do you plan to serve in leadership roles in other DePaul student organizations? If so, which ones?
Yes I plan on service as a DCSA coordinator and continuing my work with Community Peacemakers.

What are your top three initiatives for your specific position in SGA? Please explain.
Build campus affinity by establishing plentiful and more transparent methods for students to safely voice their opinions, questions and concerns in the ways in which DePaul operates,

Establish more efficient ways for student organizations to reach students (and vice versa) by updating the methods of communication, such as Orgsync, used to communicate on and off campus events,

Enhance DePaul’s mission of sustainability by addressing the need to do even more. We have done a few noteworthy projects, but we need to truly take a leap forward in campus sustainability by moving forward on every front, not just an individual project here and there.

Outside of current SGA initiatives, what do you believe are some of the biggest concerns of current students?
One of the biggest concerns that I have repeatedly heard stated by students is the lack of transparency, and appropriate representation of student communities within and by the student government association. In the past couple of years, the SGA has neglected to take strides to address relevant student concerns. Although providing water bottle filing stations and discounted DePaul gear during the basketball seasons have in some ways contributed to the DePaul student community, those achievements certainly do not outweigh the importance for the SGA to address issues pertaining to rising tuition costs and sexual assault remediation to the administration.

Name one area in SGA that you think can be improved upon. Please explain.
Taking a stand to appropriately voice student concerns to the administration. The SGA has notoriously taken the side of complacency in order to avoid conflict, which is no longer an acceptable approach to fostering student affinity, and conveying student concerns to administrative decisions that directly affect student life at DePaul.
The lack of student participation in their student government has been a well-documented problem. How do you encourage students to be engaged in the process both during election season and throughout the rest of the year? I will encourage students to be engaged in SGA processes by making sure that minutes from every SGA meeting are published and accessible to all students, encouraging SGA to hold their meetings in spaces that are accessible to the public, taking an extra stride to relay information to executive members of all student organizations so they can further inform their members about SGA resolutions, providing open and honest communicative methods for students to reach SGA members, making sure that member of the DePaul community (outside of SGA) are represented on SGA committees, and advertising the specific duties and workings of SGA to students so they not only understand how to get involved, but also how the SGA can work for them. Being a woman of color, and a ‘non-traditional’ student makes me well equipped to serve in this capacity because I am able to relate to populations that have notoriously been underrepresented in SGA.

Please identify areas where SGA can work with the university administration to achieve positive change for students.
SGA cannot continue to compromise student concerns for the sake of maintaining approval of the administration.

Please identify areas where you may disagree with the administration and be willing to challenge them.
Sexual Assault Reform
Appropriate representation of Multicultural Greek Society and minority groups on campus in general
The policing of bodies of color by Public Safety

Please articulate your position on transparency in SGA and at the university-level.
Transparency has become significantly stifled within SGA in their representation of student communities. There should be removal of secret ballots because they prevent the ability of students to hold their elected officials accountable. There needs to be established minutes of every meeting and information about all on-goings within the SGA should be publicly available to any who wish to access it. At the university level, the administration needs to be willing to take a step forward to be as transparent as our public counterparts.

Explain why you are most qualified for the office you are running for and why students should vote for you in three sentences or less (basically, give us your campaign stump speech).
I am an individual with an intimate understanding of the issues that face many DePaul students and I have the ability to look at SGA with fresh eyes that will implement necessary reform to cater to our diverse student population. I’m an experienced leader that has a working relationship with students of all backgrounds, which is the most important factor in being an elected student leader.
Anything you would like to add?
Leaders cannot simply say they represent diverse backgrounds, they must include diverse backgrounds to truly be representative at any scale.
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[toggle title_open=”Treasurer: Joseph Kerins” title_closed=”Treasurer: Joseph Kerin” hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default” excerpt_length=”0″ read_more_text=”Read More” read_less_text=”Read Less” include_excerpt_html=”no”]
Hometown/state:
Hermitage, Pennsylvania

Year in school/area(s) of study:
Junior, Economics, Geography

Name an interesting thing about yourself (not related to SGA):
I have played classical piano for 14 years and I am passionate about how my queer identity intersects with various social justice movements.

Please state your prior experience with SGA (if any):
Appointed Senator for Intercultural Awareness April 2014, Elected Senator for Intercultural Awareness May 2014 and served until resignation in April 2015.

Please state your current or prior experience in leadership roles (not related to SGA):

I have served as marketing director prior to becoming the current President of UNICEF-DePaul. In this role, I had the opportunity to interact with variety of different student organizations through fundraising and promoting awareness of UNICEF’s worldwide humanitarian relief efforts. I have benefitted from this experience greatly, and am fortunate enough to have made many new friends in the process.

When possible, I like to volunteer my time with local community organizations that give back to the city of Chicago. Particularly, I had an opportunity last summer to serve as a Job & Employment Volunteer at RefugeeOne. At RefugeeOne, I got to work with clients to prep for job interviews and search for employment opportunities. Also, from time to time, I volunteer at the Center for Economic Progress, a free tax-filing assistance program based here in Chicago.

How have/has your previous leadership roles/experience prepared you to run for SGA? If you are elected, do you plan to serve in leadership roles in other DePaul student organizations? If so, which ones?:
I believe my prior experience within SGA will give me a clear vision on how certain initiatives can be executed. Particularly regarding transparency, as somebody who has spent time in and out of SGA, I understand what ways SGA can be feasibly informed by the DePaul student body. This can include but not be limited to: openly polling student opinion, or installing chat and anonymous complaint features on the DePaul SGA Website.

Next year, I plan to continue to play a key role in the daily initiatives of UNICEF-DePaul, but I will no longer be serving as President.

What are your top three initiatives for your specific position in SGA? Please explain.
1. Fight for the financial feasibility of DePaul. I want to work in every which way that is possible to make DePaul more financially accessible to every future and current Blue Demon. First and foremost, I would seek to use SGA’s platform to find and promote scholarship opportunities to the wider student body. I would also like to take a close, hard look at the SGA budget and see what ways SGA can provide direct financial assistance to students who face expenses that impedes their education; this can taken the form of providing textbook vouchers, Ventra/Metra passes or more general unexpected expenses. I believe establishing these type of initiatives which actively benefits the entire DePaul student body can be executed and begin immediately.
2. Incorporate student feedback and streamline SAF-B funding. Vincentians United strongly believes SGA should advocate for changes within DePaul which caters to the vast majority of non-traditional students in our student body. I believe this can be manifested through actively surveying student organizations regarding SAF-B, allowing a full and thorough and review of how the student funding application process can modify to reflect these needs.
3. Promote transparency and clarity around the SGA budget. I would like to post the SGA budget on the SGA website and update it on a regular basis as changes are made throughout the year. I am confident students will be satisfied seeing how their student dollars are spent, and should encourage such transparency among other offices and organizations at DePaul.

Outside of current SGA initiatives, what do you believe are some of the biggest concerns of current students?
I think the biggest concern amongst students is why they should even care about SGA. Often, students aren’t even aware to what extent SGA can fight on their behalf. DePaul’s current SGA sits on 70+ task forces and committees throughout the university, each seat being an opportunity for student voices to be heard. Many students are unaware of this, therefore, I would advocate for wider recognition and more realistic representation of DePaul’s diverse student body on these committees.

I believe this is in line with our institutional Vincentian Values of community and identity, and should be acted upon as the mission of our university calls upon us to.

Name one area in SGA that you think can be improved upon. Please explain.
I believe SGA can improve the way they receive student feedback and opinions in order to help rank the priority of their initiatives. First and foremost, there has been a known attempt by student organizers on campus to place a referendum on this year’s SGA ballot regarding DePaul’s policy towards contraceptives on campus. It should be SGA’s responsibility to conduct thorough surveys and statistical analyses to figure out what they can do to be effective student representatives on this issue, and all issues student raise is general.

The lack of student participation in their student government has been a well-documented problem. How do you encourage students to be engaged in the process both during election season and throughout the rest of the year?
I would like to take issues students are already talking about on campus, and bring them to a university-wide level. By creating a space to discuss these issues, students will feel more engaged about what SGA does. Primarily, I feel we can use our social media presence to begin creating these discussions.

Please identify areas where SGA can work with the university administration to achieve positive change for students.
I believe an SGA informed of student concerns, paired with the DePaul’s resources, will produce many positive changes all members of our student body can benefit. For example, by establishing more ways of communication between students and student organizations on campus, DePaul can create a community network, which extends far beyond our campus.

Please identify areas where you may disagree with the administration and be willing to challenge them.
I would primarily disagree with the administration’s silence regarding various, national issues. If universities are supposed to be “beacons of light,” for future generations, what hope is there if DePaul remains silent during #BlackLivesMatter? Where was our university endorsement during this time? Considering how our urban and Vincentian identity is highlighted in every Chicago Quarter class, I interpret this silence is hypocritical.

I would challenge the administration to be more vocal and open about how our Vincentian mission and identity intersects with issues that students are discussing on campus and in our classrooms. I would fight for DePaul to be a leader in these types of national conversations.

Please articulate your position on transparency in SGA and at the university-level.
I believe SGA must conduct open meetings where all members of the DePaul student body are encouraged to attend. This will improve accountability between senators and respective student groups on campus. As well, publishing meeting notes on the SGA website will improve transparency within SGA. I promoted this idea as a former Senator; however, it was not supported or implemented by the current Cabinet of SGA.

Explain why you are most qualified for the office you are running for and why students should vote for you in three sentences or less (basically, give us your campaign stump speech).
As a Vincentians United candidate, I plan to prioritize our institution’s Vincentian values first and foremost when fulfilling all duties as Treasurer. This includes critically thinking about how every dollar spent by SGA best benefits the entire DePaul community. As a third year Economics major, I have developed a passion for economic empowerment and social justice, and I believe these perspectives are needed in a student representative during a time when students are experiencing a disconnect with their form of campus representation.

Anything you would like to add?
Vote for Vincentians United! We are a diverse and dedicated group of students who truly care about the DePaul community and how SGA can play a leading role in improving it. You think it, we say it—vote for VU!
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[toggle title_open=”Treasurer: Damian Wille” title_closed=”Treasurer: Damian Wille” hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default” excerpt_length=”0″ read_more_text=”Read More” read_less_text=”Read Less” include_excerpt_html=”no”]
Hometown/state:
Appleton, Wisconsin

Year in school/area(s) of study:
Sophomore/ Finance and Economics double major, International Business minor

Name an interesting thing about yourself (not related to SGA):
I love to try as many Italian restaurants as possible and have done professional theatre in the city!
Please state your prior experience with SGA (if any):
Attended nearly every meeting in Spring Quarter to prepare for elections and holding a position. I believe that bringing a fresh perspective to SGA can really benefit the stalemate it is locked in now.

Please state your current or prior experience in leadership roles (not related to SGA):
President – Alpha Phi Omega
Scholarship Coordinator – Undergraduate Admission
Financial Representative – Northwestern Mutual
EDGE Team Leader – Undergraduate Admission
National Convention Steering Committee Member – Alpha Phi Omega
Music Director – DePaul Theatre Union
Production Manager – Brown Paper Box Co.

How have/has your previous leadership roles/experience prepared you to run for SGA?
My previous experience has provided me with a varied and wide-spread background that perfectly aligns with the responsibilities as Treasurer. I believe handling budgets is an absolute prerequisite for this position and one that I readily satisfy. I also believe that there is much more to this position that just the SGA budget. The accessibility of SAF-B resources as well as the promotion of financial resources to make DePaul affordable for students are the areas of this position that need the most attention. My extensive knowledge of both topics prepare me to take on those issues head-on.

If you are elected, do you plan to serve in leadership roles in other DePaul student organizations? If so, which ones?
Yes! I plan to continue my involvement with the Office of Undergraduate Admission, Alpha Phi Omega and DePaul Theatre Union.

What are your top three initiatives for your specific position in SGA? Please explain.
SAF-B Accessibility: Continue to work toward enhancing the process of applying for and receiving funds through the Student Activity Fee Board. SAF-B allows student organizations to flourish and by making the process more transparent, students will be able to better promote their student organization on campus.
Educational Accessibility: Continue to learn more about opportunities and help provide students with the resources needed to ensure educational accessibility through scholarships, grants and loans offered through the government, DePaul and outside organizations. Also continue the work towards maintaining the MAP grant and promoting the completion of the FAFSA in a timely manner.
Campus Collaboration: Promote collaboration among student groups and organizations on campus to strengthen the DePaul sense of community and instill synergistic events among various organizations.

Outside of current SGA initiatives, what do you believe are some of the biggest concerns of current students?
I think that outside of the current SGA initiatives, one of the biggest concerns of students is understanding the applicability and usage of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Currently, SGA is doing a great job of promoting the completion of the FAFSA but I think that students need to know more about what goes into the FAFSA, the different places it will go to and how money is awarded.
Name one area in SGA that you think can be improved upon. Please explain.
I believe that one area that can be improved in SGA going forward is the relations between senators and cabinet. I’ve attended quite a few SGA meetings this quarter and have felt the tensions between the senators and those on the cabinet. I believe that maintaining open and trustworthy relationships not only among peers in SGA but also with the administration allows for productive and respectful conversations to take place that lead to real change for students.
The lack of student participation in their student government has been a well-documented problem. How do you encourage students to be engaged in the process both during election season and throughout the rest of the year?
I agree that lack of student participation has been an area in need of improvement within SGA, and I can attest as I am usually the only outsider that would sit in on the meetings. I believe that in order to get more students involved with the process, there needs to be more transparency about the purpose of SGA. I am determined to promote active student engagement with SGA by not only becoming a more open and approachable cabinet, but by personally visiting student organizations to sit down and talk with students from a variety of areas of the university to understand their concerns.
Please identify areas where SGA can work with the university administration to achieve positive change for students.
In the role of Treasurer, I will work with administration in Student Affairs to ensure the wide-spread accessibility of SAF-B funding for student organizations. Acting as an advocate for student voices, I will express the concerns of students about the SAF-B process and push for change that will be meaningful and transparent to the student body.

Please identify areas where you may disagree with the administration and be willing to challenge them.
Personally, I disagree with the university policy on contraceptives being offered on campus. While I understand the hesitance from the administration, I believe that this policy is outdated and is doing more harm than good. That being said, if I do my job correctly you do not know my personal opinion on a topic as I accurately represent the majority opinion of the student body. I look forward to creating trustworthy and respectful relationships with administration so that difficult conversations can be held to make progress. I believe only with mutual understanding and respect from both parties, can meaningful change begin to happen.

Please articulate your position on transparency in SGA and at the university-level.
I believe that transparency is absolutely integral at the university-level but also more specifically within SGA. The accomplishments and progress that is made towards change in the organization needs to be documented so students know that their concerns are being brought to the attention of administration and that progress is being made towards meaningful change. Making the accomplishments and progress of SGA, and of the university as a whole, more public provides for a more transparent and productive community.

Explain why you are most qualified for the office you are running for and why students should vote for you in three sentences or less (basically, give us your campaign stump speech).
With my past experience as a leader on campus with a variety of student organizations, I am determined to work with administration to streamline the process of applying for and attaining funds through SAF-B. Additionally in my role as the Scholarship Coordinator in Undergraduate Admission at DePaul, I am extremely knowledgeable and experienced in providing resources to students in order to find and apply for a variety of financial aid opportunities such as the FAFSA, DePaul scholarships and outside scholarships. With the SGA budget, I will carefully consider every line item to ensure that resources are being allocated towards promoting resources for students and for the continued renewal of the MAP grant.

Anything you would like to add?
DePaul University awards more the $24 million in scholarships and over $16 million in need-based grants to students each and every year. Approximately 78% of all undergraduate students receive some sort of financial assistance, whether it be need-based or merit-based. I firmly believe that the promotion of these resources and the streamlining of SAF-B are above all the most important aspects of the role as Treasurer. My main focus is consolidating and promoting these two integral aspects of student life at DePaul University.
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[toggle title_open=”EVP Student Affairs: Cara Anderson” title_closed=”EVP Student Affairs: Cara Anderson” hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default” excerpt_length=”0″ read_more_text=”Read More” read_less_text=”Read Less” include_excerpt_html=”no”]Hometown/state: Chicago, IL

Year in school/area(s) of study:

Freshmen International Studies Pre-med

Name an interesting thing about yourself (not related to SGA):
In my spare time I love to draw, write poetry, dance, and eat lots of food! (then workout haha)

Please state your prior experience with SGA (if any):
I have no prior experience with SGA.

Please state your current or prior experience in leadership roles (not related to SGA):
Captain of the high school and college volleyball teams, premed leadership at University of Missouri-Columbia., Vice President of National Honor Society, Old School New School DePaul team leader, I also was member of a service and leadership F.I.G. while attending Mizzou. I also was the first to coordinate an introductory luncheon into the program Target H.O.P.E for students at my school that resulted in the most attendees in the program from Jones College Prep.

How have/has your previous leadership roles/experience prepared you to run for SGA?
I have held a variety of leadership roles that required a substantial amount dedication that is similar to those of EVP of Student Affairs.

If you are elected, do you plan to serve in leadership roles in other DePaul student organizations? If so, which ones?
I definitely do plan to expand my involvement in other organizations that supports ideals and hold the same goals, I plan to serve as the Executive Board member of Community Service on S.T.R.O.N.G and assisting the non-profit by the name of MOVE. Hopefully, if I am able to be elected for the positions on those boards.
What are your top three initiatives for your specific position in SGA? Please explain.
Establish a trustworthy, transparent relationship between the student organizations and SGA; ensuring that student government is more accessible, personable.
→ I wish to have direct student interaction and hold polls on issues that they wish to be handled by DePaul.
Develop affordable student safety initiatives in coherence with DePaul public safety.
→ I believe that DePaul should stop telling females “take your headphones out” instead of “we are here to provide protection”. We need to push an end to victim-blaming. Though it is a helpful tip to notify individuals that taking headphones out, it is more helpful there should be an implementation or opportunity for students to have access to minor self-defense classes, nothing major just the basics.
Implementing new First Year Student programs and fine-tuning the current one’s to increase Vincentian pride.
→ As a transfer student, who is a freshmen and commutes I know what it is like to go through orientation and be a transfer while also being kind of lost. Though, DePaul does a great job of creating a community environment for current students it is a somewhat difficult process to transition
Outside of current SGA initiatives, what do you believe are some of the biggest concerns of current students?
The biggest concerns for students after many conversations with individuals seems to be financial stability. From tuition payments, housing, supplies, etc. I constantly hear students expressing their distress on the lack of affordability that exists here at DePaul or in college in general.

Name one area in SGA that you think can be improved upon. Please explain.
Activism and Execution.
The lack of student participation in their student government has been a well-documented problem. How do you encourage students to be engaged in the process both during election season and throughout the rest of the year?
As I mentioned before online polling, visiting student orgs, having lunch with students in the student center (without bombarding them of course) and have them voice their opinions. Also, make SGA seem fun or by having them see the accomplishments of the association throughout course of the year I believe that will heighten students’ viewpoint on SGA and encourage them to engage more.

Please identify areas where SGA can work with the university administration to achieve positive change for students.
The SGA can work in a variety of ways to achieve positive change. Rather than just focusing on specific areas, SGA needs to focus on assertiveness, on not being afraid to step on toes for the well-being of the student body.

Please identify areas where you may disagree with the administration and be willing to challenge them.

Contraception
Sex Education
Minority Organization support

Please articulate your position on transparency in SGA and at the university-level.
Reporting referendums and voting outcomes to the student body
Providing access to minutes

Explain why you are most qualified for the office you are running for and why students should vote for you in three sentences or less (basically, give us your campaign stump speech).
I am a hard-working, efficient individual that adapts well to any situation. Even though I have not previously held a position exactly like EVP of student affairs I possess the qualities that are essential to being successful as a representative for the student body, such as leadership, team-oriented, and dedicated. I am passionate about the needs of others and I have a true desire to improve upon the sense of community that exists at DePaul and truly create a cohesive environment for students.

Anything you would like to add?
CHIPOTLE IS LIFE
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[toggle title_open=”EVP Student Affairs: Patrick Pfohl” title_closed=”EVP Student Affairs: Patrick Pfohl” hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default” excerpt_length=”0″ read_more_text=”Read More” read_less_text=”Read Less” include_excerpt_html=”no”]

Hometown/state:
Arlington Heights, Illinois

Year in school/area(s) of study:
Sophomore studying Public Relations and Advertising

Name an interesting thing about yourself (not related to SGA):
I am a Legend of Zelda fanatic.

Please state your prior experience with SGA (if any):
I have served as the liaison for the LGBTQAI+ Student Services Office this past year.

Please state your current or prior experience in leadership roles (not related to SGA):
Currently I am Vice President for Act Out, the queer Activist Organization on campus. I was a Morale Captain for DemonTHON this past year. I spent this past summer working as an Orientation Leader through the Office of New Student and Family Engagement. Currently I am in training to be a Chicago Quarter Mentor for the next school year. I also currently work as a Student Development Representative through the Office of Advancement where I call alumni and ask for their donations to the student scholarship fund and the student emergency assistance fund.

How have/has your previous leadership roles/experience prepared you to run for SGA?
I have spent my past two years at DePaul getting to know various student populations on campus. I spent over 100 hours training to be an Orientation Leader, where I learned the ins and outs of various on campus resources, first year programs and student transitions. I also have shown that I clearly have a passion for working with students. DePaul’s student body is a community that I am extremely connected to, and I believe my experiences working as an Orientation Leader and serving as Vice President for Act Out allow me to possess a unique viewpoint of the DePaul community.

If you are elected, do you plan to serve in leadership roles in other DePaul student organizations? If so, which ones?
I plan to continue my role as Vice President for Act Out if elected.
What are your top three initiatives for your specific position in SGA? Please explain.
Collaboration and Inclusion: Sustain student roundtable discussions while creating more opportunities for various organizations to come together in order to encourage a collaborative and harmonious student population.
Identity and Diversity: Nurture DePaul’s diverse student population by instilling and revitalizing programs that promote the development of inclusivity and acceptance through the university’s urban Vincentian identity.
Safety and Wellness: Ensure the safety and welfare of DePaul students, staff and faculty by encouraging inclusive language and productive health programming while centralizing a cohesive message throughout the university,

Outside of current SGA initiatives, what do you believe are some of the biggest concerns of current students?
I think something that is a top concern of students is the spending of university dollars. It is frustrating to not know where your tuition money is being allocated, especially since school is so expensive! Hopefully, if elected, I can work with administrators to help educate students on where money is being spent and why.
Name one area in SGA that you think can be improved upon. Please explain.
I think the biggest improvement that SGA can work on is advocating student voices. I do not believe that many students currently are aware that SGA is an organization they can reach out to if they feel concerned or they want to see something changed. I want to work towards creating a more collaborative student government, and increasing exposure to all of the students of our diverse campus.

The lack of student participation in their student government has been a well-documented problem. How do you encourage students to be engaged in the process both during election season and throughout the rest of the year?
As listed above, one of my biggest initiatives is collaboration and inclusion. To get students to become more involved with student government I am going to make SGA more vocal to the student population. I want to make an effort to meet with student leaders of clubs and organizations, especially those with smaller student populations where their voices aren’t heard as often, to hear their concerns and comments first hand. I also want to sustain student roundtable discussions and encourage students to attend. I also hope to strengthen the liaison positions for SGA.

Please identify areas where SGA can work with the university administration to achieve positive change for students.
I think working with administration to provide more opportunities for students to express their concerns first hand. It is difficult to know who exactly is making decisions on university policy and procedures, and it is even more challenging to reach out to these professionals. Since SGA already works closely with these administrators I hope that we can create opportunities for student leaders to meet and discuss their concerns with them first hand, hopefully constructing a more cohesive relationship between students and administrators.

Please identify areas where you may disagree with the administration and be willing to challenge them.
I disagree with the administration’s policy on contraception. I think that as a place of higher education we have an obligation to provide access to contraception. This responsibility increases since we are also located in a big city. I also can tell that this is a concern of many students on campus, especially with the Feminist Front referendum that was just circling around campus. I hope to continue this conversation with the administration and student body if I get elected to my position. Disallowing contraception to be provided to students is extremely outdated as well as unsafe. Hopefully this can change during the coming years.

Please articulate your position on transparency in SGA and at the university-level.
Transparency is an extremely important component in creating an honest relationship between members of SGA and the students of DePaul. I believe that transparency is something that definitely can be improved upon in student government. I think by publishing updates of meetings between SGA members and administrative officials is an important part of transparency. Not only updating students that meetings took place, but also articulating what was discussed during those meetings. Within SGA as a whole, I believe publishing minutes, or at least keeping a detailed log of what was discussed during meetings is a great step towards increasing our transparency as an organization.

Explain why you are most qualified for the office you are running for and why students should vote for you in three sentences or less (basically, give us your campaign stump speech).
I have a huge passion for working with the students of this university, and I believe that shows in my past experiences on campus. From serving my school as an Orientation Leader to performing in the Amateur Drag Show, I have showed that I am not only well-rounded as a leader, but as a person as well. Together we can create change for our university, and my dedication towards conversation and open dialogue illustrates that.

Anything you would like to add?
DePaul University has become a place where I have had the opportunity to grow and learn. I cannot wait to have the opportunity to give back to the university that has already given me so much. Vote WPKP/Cadavillo Popp for the 2015 SGA cabinet!
[/toggle][toggle title_open=”EVP of Academic Affairs: Kristina Pouliot” title_closed=”EVP of Academic Affairs: Kristina Pouliot” hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default” excerpt_length=”0″ read_more_text=”Read More” read_less_text=”Read Less” include_excerpt_html=”no”]

Hometown/state:
Novi, Michigan

Year in school/area(s) of study:
Junior, studying Sociology, Marketing and French

Name an interesting thing about yourself (not related to SGA):
I am really good at knitting and I knit my first sweater this year!

Please state your prior experience with SGA (if any):
Since January, I have served as the Honors Student Government Liaison to SGA, allowing me the interesting opportunity to observe and learn from SGA without directly being a part of it.

Please state your current or prior experience in leadership roles (not related to
SGA):
President­ Honors Student Government
Program Assistant­ Masters of Liberal Studies/Interdisciplinary Studies Office
Director of Career and Personal Development­ Chi Omega Fraternity Student Representative­ University Honors Program Committee Student Representative­ DePaul Alumni Board
Student Alumni Ambassador
Trip Leader­ 2014 Service Immersion Trip to New Orleans, LA Chicago Quarter Mentor
HSG Liaison to Honors Student Government
Panhellenic Recruitment Rho Gamma

How have/has your previous leadership roles/experience prepared you to run for SGA?
My leadership positions have given me a glimpse into a variety of perspectives of academic life at DePaul. From learning about the transition of first year students to DePaul life as a CQM, to being a student representative voting on courses to be offered in the Honors Program, to being the program assistant in a graduate office, I have three years of experience thriving and understanding DePaul academic life. Finally, my experience as a DePaul Service Immersion Trip Leader has given me invaluable understanding of Vincentian Servant Leadership and valuing the perspectives of everyone in a group.

If you are elected, do you plan to serve in leadership roles in other DePaul student organizations? If so, which ones?
Yes, I will continue my involvement with being a Chicago Quarter Mentor, in Honors Student Government, Chi Omega Fraternity, and as a Rho Gamma.

What are your top three initiatives for your specific position in SGA? Please explain.
Quality of Professors: Engage more students on the tenure process at DePaul to further enhance and maintain the high teaching quality at our university.
Scholarships: Promote the accessibility of scholarship opportunities for students using DePaul resources such as “Scholarship Connect”, and educating students on available scholarship opportunities outside of DePaul as well.
Trigger Warnings: Work alongside faculty to enhance the classroom learning experience by facilitating conversations regarding sensitive materials and inclusivity.
Research: Work with the various colleges to advocate for more professor­facilitated student research opportunities and continue to engage DePaul University students in larger scholarly dialogues.

Outside of current SGA initiatives, what do you believe are some of the biggest concerns of current students?
I think students are always concerned about finding jobs post­graduation. Students come to college in order to further their job prospects, so they want to ensure that everything they do at university prepares them for their future careers. There are already many resources (such as the Career Center, Advisors, and Networking events) available for students to prepare for jobs, but there are always new ways in which students can prepare themselves for their careers.

Name one area in SGA that you think can be improved upon. Please explain.
I think visibility and accessibility is an area where things in SGA could easily be approved upon. Students clearly have many concerns, and often they just don’t know where to go with them! “SGA Hours” is an initiative from this year that has worked to combat this issue, but even little button pins that say “I’m in SGA! Talk to me!” would be a really easy way to increase visibility and conversations on campus!

The lack of student participation in their student government has been a well­ documented problem. How do you encourage students to be engaged in the process both during election season and throughout the rest of the year?
I think students will be encouraged to participate in SGA throughout the year once they know who their SGA representatives are! Once students know where their concerns can be relayed and how they can share their opinions, that’s a very easy way to begin this engagement and foster a community in which transparent dialogue is happening for all.

Please identify areas where SGA can work with the university administration to achieve positive change for students.
I see many areas where the DePaul administration can work to benefit students socially, economically, and academically. As EVP of Academic Affairs, I would strive to engage administration in conversations about scholarships, academic rigor, and tenure of professors. Not only would I strive to have these conversations, but I would work to ensure that positive changes come from these talks. From increasing the availability of course evaluations for students, to creating more opportunities for students to dialogue with their Deans and Professors, there are many areas in which I could express student concerns and work with administration to make positive changes.

Please identify areas where you may disagree with the administration and be willing to challenge them.
I believe, if I am to serve this position effectively, my personal beliefs shouldn’t matter. I am to serve as an advocate for the students in the areas in which they disagree with administration and are looking to challenge the status quo. My motivation in running for this position is not to advance my own positions or beliefs, but to advocate for the beliefs of my fellow peers and students.

Please articulate your position on transparency in SGA and at the university­ level.
I think transparency is the only way to have productive and open conversation. Whether at a university ­level, or within SGA, I firmly believe in being open and honest about accomplishments, goals, and even conflicts. Students deserve to know how their student government is working for them, so that they can be sure that their elected student representatives are working towards meaningful change.

Explain why you are most qualified for the office you are running for and why students should vote for you in three sentences or less (basically, give us your campaign stump speech).
In my three years at DePaul, I have had experience in a vast number of different programs and spaces. From my active involvement in the DePaul Honors Program, to my work as a Chicago Quarter Mentor and Program Assistant for a Graduate Office, I am able to understand the issue of academics from many different perspectives. My training in Vincentian Servant Leadership grounds me to always listen to the perspectives of others and work towards the common good.
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[toggle title_open=”EVP of Academic Affairs: Tyler Solorio” title_closed=”EVP of Academic Affairs: Tyler Solorio” hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default” excerpt_length=”0″ read_more_text=”Read More” read_less_text=”Read Less” include_excerpt_html=”no”]Hometown/State:
Modesto, CA

Year in School/Area of Study:
3rd Year, Public Policy Studies

Interesting thing about myself:
I’m an Army veteran and I identify as pansexual.

Prior SGA Experience:
Former Senator of Third Year Students

Leadership Roles:
Currently, non-traditional student board member on the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) and within IBHE, I’m co-Convener for the Non-Traditional Learner Action Team, the youngest in such a position, where I lead policy discussion on what we can do to help non-traditional students succeed.
Prior leadership roles, I was Vice President of Oakton Community College’s Student Government Association, where I helped create additional sources of financial aid for students and passed funding for free HIV/AIDs testing. I was President of the Students and Veterans Organization at Oakton Community College, where I helped create a week-long event focused on Veterans’ mental health and community reintegration. As a former soldier, I had trained teams of Afghani police and lead teams in a variety of dynamic capacities.

Experience in relation to SGA:
I have served as a statewide leader with policymakers in trying to solve for problems that students currently faced. I’ve lobbied at the state capitol for affordability, sexual assault, financial aid for undocumented students, and for MAP grants. I’ve also lobbied for a higher education caucus, which is bipartisan, which is now in the works at the state level. It is these experiences, combined with my leadership within my higher education institutions, where I helped develop numerous initiatives to improve the academic and personal success of students at Oakton Community College, that I feel I am best prepared to serve our students on SGA here. As we reflect, time and again, that it is not only about doing good, but to do good well, I bring not only a skillset that is capable of doing such, I bring an understanding with it on the importance of institutions serving not only as a place of education, but as a place of hope.

Other Leadership Roles:
I do not plan to serve, in an official capacity, as a leader in any other role than what the students have elected me to. As much as I would be happy to serve in other organizations on campus, I feel that EVPAA is a position that requires a lot of attention, due to the potential to impact the entire university. I would like to devote my time to the position.

Top three Initiatives:
1. We must tailor our current academic structure for non-traditional students, which is the majority of students that we, and other higher education institutions, have currently and incoming. By this, I mean we have to focus on how faculty and the administration interact with a student body that consists of a broad variety of students: employed, single parents, first generation, undocumented citizens, those of us outside of gender and sexuality norms, survivors of traumatic experiences, and veterans. Although this is a large list, it isn’t even the cusp, and in order to better help our students we need to be ahead of the game in bettering relationships with these communities rather than being behind.
2. Course evaluations have been used within faculty to a great extent in how they conduct promotions and configure coursework, it has been argued that it needs to be transparent, so that students could use it to their benefit as well, but I believe it is important to take that and take it even a step further. We need a means of evaluating our majors and not simply by students who’re graduating or who’re applying their major to the outside world. There is an importance to establishing a form of evaluation for students to evaluate how they first feel about their major, what they believe they can get out of it, and why they chose it. Through that, we can look at mid-term evaluation, if they still kept these same beliefs, if they were expanded, or let’s say if a student transfers, we can more accurately find out why they pick another major over the one they had, or what caused them to depart from the one they had. There could be an exit evaluation as well, to further gauge the students’ perceptions of their major, and to provide an opportunity for those future alumni to also critique how their major educated them. By having such a system in place, we can develop a comprehensive, qualitative approach to enhancing how our majors interact with the students that take them.
3. DePaul has really pushed forward a social media platform in a way that markets itself and engages with the student body. I think this is another concept that can be taken forward, yet again. There are smartphone apps and a variety of social media platforms that can be used to maximize student interaction, not just with one another or the college, but within the classroom. There are ways to help develop study groups, create textbook sharing programs, apps to streamline D2L, and develop campus affinity. Part of being the best is serving as a vanguard in some manner, I cannot fathom why DePaul shouldn’t be at the forefront of being able to implement social media on an even broader scale to improve the lives of students.

Biggest Student Concerns:
The problem with trying to simplify such a complex issue as biggest student concerns is that the concerns are largely demographic. While there may be universal concerns, such as affordability and financial aid, there are also a variety of concerns that are unique to the students of which community they are a part of. To truly be able to handle student concerns is to have a firm understanding of the concerns unique to each campus community and to be able to argue on their behalf. One set of students may have a set of concerns completely different and independent of another set of concerns.
A common concern I’ve come across in my time speaking with different student groups is feeling this sense of disingenuous coming from the administration and SGA. Although DePaul does have a great foundation of social justice, along with amazing faculty to support it, there are moments where Vincentian values as they’re portrayed through the administration do not accurately reflect the feelings of the student body. The best example I can give in this regard is with the recent Service Day. It was great, it did have bonding moments, but these actions largely catered to a privileged mindset, where people felt great about the end of the day for lending their hand to help contribute to aesthetics. I knew a variety of students who wanted to do more significant things, have more significant interactions with the community, and work in the parts of the Chicago that dealt with more struggles than some of the places we went too. This comes off as disingenuous rather than truly Vincentian as continually espoused.
Another concern is discrimination students’ face by certain faculty members. These same students do not feel comfortable trying to take care of the situation through the institution for a variety of reasons. I have heard students experiencing what they recognized as racism from teachers, dropping the class because they didn’t feel secure in approaching the administration about this, and I have heard other students experiencing discrimination in regards to gender identity, in which some faculty respond dismissively. The things students should never feel are insecure about the administration being on their side with issues and discrimination from within the faculty.

Within the SGA:
I’m taking this question as to interpret what is one area that the SGA can be improved upon. I’m going to take liberties with the term one area and expand it to the entirety of the SGA. There’s a lack of division of powers, there are repeated attempts to increase the standards for student participation in SGA, there are a lot of decisions of student participation that rests in the hands of the executive rather than all elected officials, and the list could go on and on. The SGA itself is in need of total reform. In my position on IBHE, I serve with dozens of student leaders across the state, all members of their respective SGAs, and I get to learn about how their administrations work. These SGAs have created textbook sharing programs, they have created transparent course evaluations, and I even know of SGAs out of state that are fighting for affordable student housing among other issues. Our SGA, as an institution, is nothing like others, and while that kind of statement can be used as a good thing, in this instance, it unfortunately isn’t. Our SGA has accomplished some things, yes, and some great things, but there are a lot of problems institutional within the SGA that I think needs change to better serve the students.

SGA Engagement:
I think this question imposes as misunderstanding. Students have been proactively trying to engage with SGA and the SGA has voted down resolutions presented by students, it has failed to push forward referendums, which it is constitutionally obligated to support, that have succeeded, and members within SGA have tried to increase standards that would create difficulty for student participation. In my conversations with students know about SGA, which many do not, they don’t see it as able to serve them. They see it as a group of student leaders who serve as “yes people” to the administration and they don’t know how SGA can serve them. To put the fault of student participation on the students’ themselves, in this particular case, is erroneous. In elections past, there has been no competition for President and Vice President because the constitution limits the ability of those to compete, and it took such division within the SGA this year as to create competition for the first time in many students’ recent memory. We can encourage students to engage by changing SGA, by making the elections truly open, by easing Election Operations Board bylaws to make it easier to participate, and by creating amendments that strengthen student participation and not do the opposite. Even speaking like this could put me in threat to be removed as a candidate, because it borders ill-defined regulation, which speaks to the importance of institutional change within the SGA. That is the first priority in engagement and outside of that, it is simply discussing with students and student organizations. SGA needs to stop asking for liaisons and needs to start sending liaisons of its own. I have educated more people about the SGA in my time campaigning than I have following initiatives established by the SGA.

SGA involvement with administration:
The SGA does, through its EVPs, have established paths of operating with the administration. EVP of Operations position, for example, does literally work with all operations aspects of the university. The way we can achieve positive change in our interactions with the administration as SGA is not only to have capable student voices representing the student body, but being able to bring students on board as well to have these discussions and participate. The SGA can help demand for resources to be allocated in ways that support students in a variety of fashions, from financial to personal, it can also promote a demand in how teachers interact with students, and how the administration interacts with students, with another example outside of the many I’ve explained over the questionnaire, with streamlining the SAF-B process for student organizations.

Challenging the administration:
One of the largest issues of elected student leaders I believe is the lack of willingness to challenge the administration. Anyone who knows me or the work that I’ve done knows I have no problem, when I believe it is necessary, standing up against even the closest of friends or leaders to do what is right. When Feminist Front had presented a resolution that covered a variety of issues on campus, from trigger warnings to increasing sexual health resources, I agreed, and I fought for them, even publicly discussing my own personal traumatic events and how I believed trigger warnings were relevant for it. Many of the student leaders, who may’ve voted it down (we cannot know because they decided to implement a secret vote to protect their identities), argued that the administration may not like it and that we should only pass forward resolutions they would hear. I voted for it, I fought for it, and if it had passed, I would’ve gladly taken it to the administration myself. Our job, as representatives, is not to cater to the administration, but to serve the students that elected us. If a group presents a well-thought out resolution that caters to the student population, but may not cater to the administration, it is my job to take that resolution and fight for it, in an educated and well-mannered approach. The administration needs to focus more on tackling the issues of rape culture and sexual assault on campus, it also needs to focus on being more inclusive, and it needs to do better in its treatment of student activists on campus.

SGA Transparency:
We must mandate publishing of minutes of every meeting (Not currently done), this goes for every committee meeting as well (Not currently done), we cannot have secret votes (currently, we do), we must have an accessible record of voting (Not currently done), and we must avoid a culture of censorship to further transparency. This not only goes for SGA, but for the administration and the administration needs to take measures to be as transparent as its public counterparts.

Why am I qualified:
I’ve fought for measures statewide that have saved students money, I’ve pushed a sexual assault resolution through the state legislature, and I have helped guide a state agency in handling student concerns while facing one of the largest budget cuts in Illinois history. I have created textbook financial aid programs, emergency financial aid programs, and pushed funding on sexual health resources at another higher education institution. I am not here to tell you what cannot be done, I am here to help you answer what must be done.

Anything else I’d like to add?
We’ve been the only group, Vincentians United, that actively endorses removing secret ballots and publishing minutes for every meeting.
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