» By TIFFANY HALL – thall29@my.apsu.edu

The first ever SGA presidential debate of its kind was held Monday, March 19, with a small turnout of 25 students. The purpose of the debate was for SGA presidential candidates, Jesse Brewer and Drew Smith, to let the students know what they would do if elected.

Voting starts on Tuesday, March 27 at 9 a.m. and will end on Thursday, March 29 at 11:59 p.m.

Brewer is a junior majoring in History and double minoring in Education and Leadership. He is also the current Executive Secretary for the SGA. He has held other leadership positions on campus including working in Student Affairs for two years, being a peer mentor, a freshman orientation mentor and an active member of the Governor’s Ambassador Club. He has held Senate positions for both the College of Arts and Letters and the freshman class.

Brewer said that all of the leadership opportunities have opened doors for him to meet and develop relationships with a lot of the faculty and staff members at APSU. He said one of the most important things about being president would be to sit and have conversations, discuss ideas and communicate effectively with the administrators of APSU to get things done.

Brewer put a lot of emphasis on how communication is the key to being a successful president. “To be the voice of students,” Brewer said, “the students must be heard.”

Candidate Drew Smith is a sophomore majoring in History and minoring in Political Science. He plans to attend law school after graduating from APSU. He serves on the Academic Council, has been a part of SGA’s G.H.O.S.T., an active member of Governor’s Ambassador Club and is a peer mentor on campus. He was nominated and selected as a rising leader for the freshman class last year and was awarded the rising leader for the sophomore class this year.

Smith said that while he was not as well-known with all of the administrators or faculty on the campus, he is prepared to do whatever he can to get the students represented.

“Freshmen aren’t represented. They aren’t involved with things happening on campus because they don’t know about them,” Smith said.

Brewer said he wants to use social networks, such as Twitter, to communicate with students. He also mentioned the idea of having a SGA scroll board set up in the MUC, where students can tweet their ideas or thoughts to the SGA Twitter and it will show up on the board for everyone to see.

“Every student has a thought, but that is as far as it goes. With the scroll board set up, their thoughts can be heard and then be put into action,” Brewer said.

Smith’s plans include an incentive plan for students similar to UT Knoxville’s current incentive plan. When a student goes to a campus event, such as a public speaker or football game, their student ID gets points added to it. All of the points add up to coupons or discounts towards different things.

Smith also brought up the use of the social networking site, Twitter, as a way for students to communicate their ideas to the SGA and Senate. He made it clear it would also be a way for students to stay informed and up to date with different events happening on campus.

Smith said that in the two years he has been at APSU, he feels like there has been a lack of legislation. Students have had complaints that have not been heard or taken care of, according to Smith.

Each candidate was asked what three qualifications they bring to the table. Brewer said his qualifications are the “three Ps” – public speaking, professionalism and prioritizing. He said in order to be a great leader, you must have great public speaking skills for anyone to listen; you must always act professional because you are always representing something; and you must prioritize because it is too easy to forget things and get caught up in other activities.

Smith said his three qualifications are that he has positive leadership skills, he is friendly and is always involved.

Smith said in order to be a great leader, you must always be positive and make everyone around you see the positive side of everything; you must be friendly or people will not be supportive; and you must be involved so people are aware that you are an active member of the community.

The current SGA President, Trent Gaasch said they are both very qualified, and he hopes they both are able to get their ideas across to the students in an effective manner. TAS