By BRIAN BIGELOW | Assistant News Editor
Elections will be held next week for the Student Government Association Executive Council and Senate, with the exception of freshman and graduate Senate seats.
The executive council consists of the SGA president, vice president and executive secretary. Each college has three representatives in the Senate; each class has two representatives. There are also two graduate seats.
Voting for SGA elections begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 22, and end at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, March 24.
Candidates for executive office must be full-time students, have and maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA and have served a minimum of two semesters in student government.
SGA Presidential Candidates:
In his three years at APSU, Trenton Gaasch, SGA presidential candidate and current SGA chief justice, has served in all three branches of APSU student government.
In the legislative branch, Gaasch served as a freshman SGA senator and chief clerk of the Senate. Gaasch later served in the judicial branch as a justice and associate justice before being appointed to the executive branch position of SGA chief justice.
“The purpose of SGA is to be the voice of the students,” Gaasch said. “I believe a lot of the students’ needs and concerns are neglected and thus, remain agitations rather than being pursued and brought to the attention of the necessary faculty and staff on campus.”
“I believe that change is only plausible if one is willing to designate the time and effort required to accomplish it,” Gaasch said.
Gaasch lists among his chief concerns: greater communication between students and SGA, better parking, increased ridership of the Peay Pickup, access to the Foy pool during the summer for all students registered full-time for the following fall and establishing more engaging activities for students on campus. Gaasch also wants to establish a “table of concern” in the MUC where students can directly address concerns to a member of the SGA.
As chief justice, Gaasch was the chair of the Internal Affairs Committee and constructed the Mudbowl Executive Committee. Gaasch has twice attended the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature, where he wrote legislation encouraging the incorporation of Spanish classes into kindergarten through fifth grade curriculum.
TISL is an annual legislative session conducted by Tennessee college students providing an opportunity to write and debate legislation. Some TISL legislation is submitted to the Tennessee General Assembly.
Gaasch is a junior biology major with a concentration in pre-med and a minor in chemistry. Gaasch plans on attending medical school and “eventually becoming a medical missions doctor.”
Kelvin Rutledge, a candidate for SGA president, is a junior sociology and political science major with a minor in leadership.
“I have decided to run … because I believe that students want to see progress happen on campus and see that services are being used effectively,” Rutledge said. “I want to commit my time to ensuring that students are seeing APSU become progressively better in all facets of college life.”
Rutledge has served as a senior class SGA senator for one year and on the University Hearing Board and the University Diversity Committee. Rutledge also served four years in student government during high school.
Rutledge has titled his platform “Small initiatives to improve the big picture at APSU,” and cites “social development, safety development, student/staff relations development and media development” as the areas he would focus on in the coming year if elected.
During his time in SGA, Rutledge has written legislation for students “who were being cited for a specific [parking] lot, and seeing if the campus would pave and resign the lot,” and participated in the Online Course Committee where he has been involved in “looking at how to improve the quality of D2L content.”
Rutledge plans to pursue a master’s degree in higher education administration or sociology and hopes to work as a university official.
Vice Presidential Candidates:
Catherine “Cady” Denton
Vice Presidential candidate Catherine “Cady” Denton has served as an SGA senator for the College of Arts and Letters for the past two years. Denton has also been on the Public Relations committee and served as chief clerk of the Senate.
Denton lists among her primary concerns: advocating greater SGA involvement on campus, promoting “better senator retention,” “more legislation from senators,” increased Peay Pickup ridership, better ways to provide information to students and improving SGA sponsored events.
“I want to see that senators are more connected to their constituents,” Denton said. “I want to ensure that the student-elected, as well as appointed, representatives … are doing everything in their power to address the concerns of their constituents.”
This semester, Denton wrote and co-sponsored a resolution to make access to the Foy pool available free of charge during the summer to all students that have successfully completed the spring semester. Denton was also on the committee to review the smoking policy on campus.
Denton attended TISL in the fall and wrote and passed a piece of legislation “to set standards for security in Tennessee public schools.” Denton credits TISL with providing her a “crash-course in what it is like to participate in government at a state level” and gave her a “more well-rounded understanding of how the legislative branch works.”
Denton is a junior English major with a minor in psychology. After graduation, Denton plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career in higher education.
Denton is unopposed.
Executive Secretary Candidates:
Executive secretary candidate Jesse Brewer has previously served on SGA as a freshman senator and is currently serving as a senator for the College of Arts and Letters. Brewer is a sophomore.
“I care about APSU, which is why I am running for this position,” Brewer said. “If elected, I will work to hold a relaxed forum for students to voice their opinion of what they would like to see on campus. Properly pursued, students will have a voice in directing the legislation which senators write.”
Brewer is currently the president of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, the fundraising co-chair for the Dance Marathon and has participated in both Mudbowl and GHOST.
“I have high expectations of what SGA can accomplish,” Brewer said. “I know that, if elected, I will work with senators to encourage, unify and bring about great pieces of legislation to further enhance the college experience at APSU.”
Stephen “Drew” Smith
Stephen “Drew” Smith is a freshman history major and is running for the position of executive secretary. Smith is currently an SGA freshman senator.
“SGA has gotten away from the purpose of why we are elected,” Smith said. “When I joined SGA, I expected it to push me to be a voice for students, and I want to bring that back to the forefront of what SGA does.”
“I want to do everything possible to better the college for every student at APSU,” Smith said.
During high school, Smith was president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for two years. Smith also represented APSU at TISL in the fall, where he presented legislation that was passed.
After getting his undergraduate degree, Smith plans on attending the University of Tennessee School of Law and desires to ultimately get involved in national politics. TAS