Student Body Presidential Candidates Share Their Platforms
Liberty University’s Student Government Association’s student body election campaigns are now in full swing, as the three tickets for president and vice president of the student body have launched. As the candidates prepare for voting day April 20, here is what each one is hoping to do for the campus.
A.J. Strom and Chris Porter — We Hear You
For Strom and Porter, politicians are notorious for making abstract promises that make it difficult to measure any solid success or change, and their promise to not follow suit is central to their campaign.
Strom and Porter said they are running a campaign that lays out four solid steps that make SGA do what it was designed to do, which Strom says is two things: be the bridge between students and administration and work with clubs as a resource for them.
“We understand that SGA has a lot of problems, and in our campaign, our platform is that we want to take concrete steps to fix SGA so that it is as effective as possible,” Strom said.
Strom and Porter’s plan is broken into four action steps centered around making the voices of students heard.
- Relevant Reform: Strom and Porter said they do not plan on “telling people what the issues are,” and instead want to listen to what students think should be addressed.
- True Accountability: The candidates have a plan for an updated online legislation tracker that includes a voting tracker for students to monitor and check on delegates and executive officials to see what progress is being made.
- Clubs Done Right: Strom claims under his administration, there will be more hearings for clubs to make their complaints and needs heard and that SGA will help clubs expand their marketing.
- A Christ Centered SGA: The two would like to add a new focus in SGA on spiritual life by hosting more spiritual life events and by creating the position of Christian Life Director who would help foster a Christian community within SGA.
“We are not coming in to this campaign with a personal agenda for change,” Strom said, “We want students to bring their ideas for change to us.”
If you would like to learn more about Strom and Porter’s campaign check out their website: https://ajandchris18.com/
Caleb Fitzpatrick and Esther Lusenge — Lead with Your Voice
Fitzpatrick and Lusenge’s campaign is centered on a strong message of inclusivity, wherein they have said they hope to break the world’s assumption of the “typical Liberty student.” Their campaign slogan of “Lead With Your Voice” comes from a promise to support students in speaking out for themselves.
Fitzpatrick and Lusenge thus propose a Student Government Association that is not revolved around them, but rather the voice of the student body.
“The hope is that this isn’t just me. If it is, I am in trouble,” Fitzpatrick said. “But we have gained so much feedback already. It’s contagious; our team is so passionate.”
Fitzpatrick also said he believes SGA has the resources and potential to initiate a movement on campus to become more engaged and involved in community service project in Lynchburg. He has brought up the need to alleviate Lynchburg’s extraordinarily high poverty rate.
The three main points of their campaign reach both on and off campus.
- Events: These candidates plan on hosting more events to foster discussion between students and SGA and bring more awareness to the resources provided by SGA.
- Clubs: Fitzpatrick and Lusenge believe that clubs are an important piece of the student body, and they plan on bringing more focus to promoting, funding and gathering feedback for improvements in clubs.
- Community Engagement: Of the points presented by this campaign, this is the one the candidates are most passionate about. Fitzpatrick has been building relationships with local officials in an attempt to create more opportunities for students to become more engaged in the Lynchburg community.
For Fitzpatrick though, his hopes are that this movement will carry on long after his time as a student here.
To find out more about the movement check out their website at: https://calebesther.com/
Jacob Page and Derek Rockey — Rise and Shine
Similar to Strom and Porter, Page and Rockey have centered their campaigns on the frustration of elitist politics, and they have communicated that they are hoping to take their campaign in a different direction.
“We don’t want SGA to be some political, elitist, secluded club,” Page said. “We want it to be something where anybody can access it and don’t feel like they’re on the outside.”
Page and Rockey said that students should be able to access the untapped potential of SGA’s resources and position.
Furthermore, the candidates said they were grateful for everything the school has done for them, and they wanted to bring back a sense of appreciation for the campus.
Their campaign is summed up in two words.
- Rise: They hope to instill a renewed sense of pride, tradition and school spirit on campus and generate a movement of fresh zeal for the school’s original vision that will rival the greatest schools across the country.
- Shine: Page and Rockey hope to encourage a broader student support for community action to fulfill what they have said is the original purpose of Liberty.
They plan on partnering with LU Serve to present students with more service-oriented projects, creating opportunities for local pastors and leaders to speak, and they have already built relationships with town officials to begin brainstorming community outreach projects.
“There is that saying, ‘If it’s Christian, it ought to be better,’” Page said, “We want to see the school rise to the top and be all that it is called to be.”
You can find more information about rising and shining on their Instagram: @pagerockey18