USG presidential election voting opens Tuesday
Undergraduate Student Government presidential elections kick off April 25 with steep budget cuts on the horizon for the university.
The election has candidates running for the presidential seat. Joshua Bowens, Brandon Kyles and Will Schefelbein are seeking to move up in the governing ranks. Students have the opportunity to vote on SIUonline starting April 25 through April 26.
Joshua Bowens, a junior from Chicago studying political science, previously served as a senator at-large and chief justice of the USG judicial branch.
Bowens is a transfer student from SIUE, where he also served on the Residence Hall Association. At the Carbondale campus, he has served as president of Phi Rho Eta Fraternity and chief of arms of the Black Men Roundtable committee.
Bowens said if elected he will focus on keeping professors and students accountable for the reputation of SIU by requiring senators to be more involved on campus.
“The involvement of USG is close to none right now,” Bowens said. “It really is crucial that not just senators, but every student be involved.”
Bowens also said he wants to increase accountability for senators by keeping public video records of the meetings on the USG website.
“My first priority is the students,” Bowens said. “Students as a whole run the entire campus.”
Brandon Kyles, a junior from Chicago studying political science, has held six different positions in USG over the past three years.
Kyles is currently the senator for the College of Mass Communications and Media Arts and the chair for the external affairs committee. He previously served as the senator for undeclared students, Schneider Hall and was a member of the internal affairs committee in 2014. During his sophomore year, he was the senator for Neely Hall and became the chair for the external affairs committee.
Kyles said his time in USG has been full of “dual positions” and his experience working closely with the executive board has taught him the necessary lessons for becoming USG president.
“I’ve learned a lot as I went over the years,” Kyles said. “I just want to make sure USG used its power to represent all students to its full extent.”
Kyles said maintaining student opportunities while the state budget crisis endures would be his top priority as president. If elected, Kyles said he would allocate USG funds to directly help students through changes in the funding guidelines and potential scholarship opportunities.
“I can’t make money rain out of nowhere, but I can help my students in any way possible,” Kyles said.
Kyles also said he would work to create transparency between administrators and students by “reaching out to students before any USG decision is made.” He also said he would increase USG’s social media presence and update the governing body’s website with every new legislative decision in an effort to keep students up to date on policy changes.
“I’m here to be a microphone for my students,” Kyles said. “Their comments don’t fall on deaf ears with me.”
Will Schefelbein, a junior from Peoria studying business management, is an intern at the SIU Foundation and is an ambassador for the College of Business.
Schefelbein said his main priority if elected would be to focus on increasing USG funds through philanthropy and development. He also said the USG funding guidelines are in desperate need of revision.
“Revising the guidelines won’t just take one meeting,” Schefelbein said. “It’s going to take input from RSO’s and listening sessions to know what students need.”
Schefelbein said he wants to collaborate with graduate students and administration in an effort to keep the student body informed of the on-going budget crisis because “right now there is too much division.”
“We are not separate,” Schefelbein said. “We’re in a place we’ve never been before, so we need to work together.”
Schefelbein said if elected he plans to organize the USG meetings, further clarify guidelines and require senators to attend events USG funds in an effort to keep senators accountable to their constituents.
“USG has a right to its students,” Schefelbein said. “They’re the top priority here.”