By Cari Griggs, Senior Staff Writer
Two current student senators are running for vice president of Student Government Association. The candidates are Senate Sarah Cook, not-for-profit sophomore and Justin Blumer, first-year law/business graduate.
Each contender has a different set of ideas to bring to office.
Cook aims to reconnect senators with student organizations
Cook, current president pro-tempore for Student Senate, has served as president of residence hall association and on the executive board for Alpha Chi Omega. She also has been a member of Student Senate for two years and as a committee head last year.
“I am one of the longest sitting senators,” she said.
Cook said she wants to be vice president of Senate because she wants to continue to improve it.
“I really think that the organization of Senate is crucial,” she said. “We must be a well oiled machine, and I think that it’s possible for me to help get Senate to that place.”
Cook has plans in order to achieve this goal.
“Right now there is no senator training program,” she said. “I think it’s crucial that we start training so they know from day one how to make wise decisions.”
Cook has plans that she says will improve relations between Senate and organizations.
“I would like to work on combining Prexie Club and the organizational tour for senators,” she said. “Neither programs are working effectively, but they are crucial because Senate has the obligation to help organizations.”
Cook said she would do this by working with the executive branch to combine the two programs so SGA can use its resources and create a better program.
Other programs Cook said she would like to improve and reinstate are the mini-speech and OCU Speaks.
She also said she would like to work more effectively with the allotment process.
“This year Senate didn’t uphold their end, and so we need to be more proactive in making sure it is more effective.”
Cook said overall she wants to use the position to make SGA stronger.
“I want to not just work with Senate but to work more closely with the other branches to make better things happen all around.”
Blumer plans to use connections, undergraduate experience to advantage
Blumer completed his undergraduate degree at OCU and has spent more than four years as a member of the university community.
His campus involvement and previous leadership experience includes being a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, captain of the wrestling team and a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.
He currently is the law district senator and is involved with the merit scholars, legal honors fraternity and the energy law club.
“I feel as though I can better represent the overall objectives of the students and I can represent a more diverse group,” Blumer said. “Students can come to me and voice concern and I can represent them in an efficient way.”
Blumer said he has several platforms that he feels could improve Senate from as it was this year.
“I would like to implement procedural educational meetings for new senators,” he said. “New senators don’t have procedural posture and I don’t want to waste time on that in meetings.”
Blumer said he has plans to improve the committee programs.
“I want to make committees more efficient and accountable,” he said. “There should be an assistant chair in addition to the committee head, because that is a lot of responsibility for just one person.”
Blumer also wants to increase allotment awareness and senator interaction with organizations.
“We need to get involved in every organization because one of the biggest reason organizations don’t apply for allotments is because we aren’t doing a good enough job letting them know they have funds available,” he said.
Blumer said this applies to the law school fund and that he would be a good candidate for delivering that message to the students needing funds.
He would also like to increase involvement in SGA.
“I am not crazy about the idea that so many SGA spots run uncontested,” he said. “We need to increase involvement so that more people want to become a part of it.”
His plans to improve communication with the executive branch involve quick information sessions at every Senate meeting with what was spoken about in executive meetings, he said.
“If we do a better job of checking in, everyone can have their concerns voiced,” Blumer said. “More or less, we must hold senators more accountable to better represent the student population.”