By Travis Boren – Reporter
Allison Nottingham and Lacey King will be elected President and Vice President of the Student Government Association (SGA) next week, whether students like it or not. Both candidates are running unopposed for their respective offices.
“I definitely would have liked competition,” Nottingham said, “but I’ll accept it either way.”
Nottingham, only in her second semester at PPCC, sought out the opportunity to run for SGA President.
“I really love this school, and I just said, ‘Why not?’”
However, Nottingham was the only student who expressed such enthusiasm for the position.
“It might be that people are afraid to volunteer – they think that it’s more than they can handle,” said Nottingham.
Nottingham is joined in her unopposed candidacy by King, running for Vice President.
King is currently a Student Senator and has started her tenure strong with an initiative to start a women’s self-defense class to “introduce women to some quick, lifesaving tactics.” She hopes to add it to the agenda of “Denim Day” on Apr. 25 “to turn it into a complete female empowerment event.”
King understands why it may be difficult to engage the student body at PPCC. “Everyone at this school is an adult,” King said. “We all have lives and families to take care of, and that doesn’t afford much time to be involved, since most of their lives take place off campus.”
Current SGA President Adonis Jaramillo agreed with King’s sentiment. “I’ve been in Student Government for three years, and reaching out to students and getting them to participate is tough,” said Jaramillo.
Jaramillo ultimately won his election last year when his opponent dropped out of the race, but about 400 students of the 20,000 plus student population voted in his election – roughly a 2 percent voter turnout.
Students seeking to run for an office in SGA must submit a Letter of Intent to SGA for the office they want to run for. The window to submit Letters of Intent opens at the beginning of Spring term and closes fifteen school days before the election, not counting Spring Break.
To advertise, SGA members post posters and flyers, set up tables in the common areas on campus, and talk directly to classes.
Through polling, Jaramillo found that the advertising that Student Government conducts becomes part of the white noise of activity at campus.
Jaramillo feels as if a lot of people do not even realize there is a student government, and current Student Treasurer and former SGA President, Ty Upshaw, agrees. Both Jaramillo and Upshaw said they have found the most effective way of engaging students is approaching them directly.
Student Government requires a 20 hour a week dedication, and Jaramillo admitted that he often puts in more than that.
Despite the work, Jaramillo believes that participating in Student Government helped him with school. His dedication to helping others helped him maintain focus and stay invested after returning to academia after a decades long absence.
Student Government has multiple roles that are filled each election. Presidents and Vice Presidents coordinate the efforts of the group, Senators directly reach out to the student body, the Treasurer helps allocate funding to clubs, and the State Student Advisory Council (SSAC) representative. The SSAC position is the most unique, meeting with SSAC representatives from other colleges in the state and communicating needs to legislators.
Other than electing candidates, Jaramillo says that there are only two initiatives being voted on this semester: a rewording of the student constitution and the trans-campus bus initiative in coordination with Mountain Metro Transportation.
Students vote on PPCCOnline and the link to vote will be available on April 10 and 11 in the Announcements section.