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Student Government Voting to End April 6th as Students Rush to the Polls

By Jess Kleean

The student body presidential race is heating up at Appalachian State as we approach the final days of voting. The already record turnout has kept this election season particularly interesting as three campaigns go head to head to head in a pretty tight race. The campaign road has been long and hard, with each of the campaigns coming out swinging in an effort to prove themselves the best fit to represent the App State student body in the upcoming year. Each campaign offers different insight and expertise into campus life and how they believe they can positively impact our community, but as the race dwindles down it is almost impossible to tell who has the edge.

The Student Body President and Vice President of SGA represent the student body not only as an active force on our campus, but as a voice on the Board of Trustees, working to represent the Appalachian student body in the best way possible. This also puts these two elected leaders in a position to work on a campus, community and state level in order to implement policy and change they believe will best serve their constituents. Each of these campaigns is run and lead by incredible individuals, but don’t just take our word for it! High Country Press had the opportunity to speak with members of the campaigns and their candidates and they each explained to us what their campaign stood for and why they believed they were the best fit for the positions.

Photo Courtesy of Milbourne/Neese Campaign

Dejon Milbourne and Rice Neese: “Building the Appalachian Family” 

Dejon Milbourne and Rice Neese together have four years of combined SGA experience and are planning on using their combined knowledge to best serve App State. They want to emphasize above all else, that they respect the institution and respect each and every voice that makes up the Appalachian family.  Both their resumes are impressive, Presidential Candidate Dejon Milbourne is a quadruple major, serving originally on Hall Council, and then continuing on to Student Government, RHA and Minority Men’s Leadership Circle. While Vice Presidential Candidate, Rice Neese, served originally as an active member of Hall Council, SGA and his fraternity Alpha Tau Omega.

However, Neese wants to emphasize that their resumes aren’t the focus of this campaign, stating: “We’ve tried not to make this election so much about the four years of combined SGA experience we have, the numerous clubs of which we’re members or our ideas and positions on the numerous issues that affect our campus. While these are important considerations, we have to be honest and recognize the success that our competition also has. Instead, we want to focus now on who is approachable, who wants to get to know the students, and who makes everyone feel like they’re a part of the Appalachian Family. We truly hope that the students think that we are the ticket that most embodies these things.”

Check out their full platform and website for more information.

Photo Courtesy of the Wiley/Sullivan Campaign

Jaquan Wiley and John Sullivan: “Take Back Appalachian” 

Presidential Candidate, Jaquan Wiley and Vice Presidential Candidate, John Sullivan,  are somewhat of the dark horses in this race, but this is certainly an idea that they are capitalizing on. They view their inexperience in Student Government as an asset, claiming that the leadership experience they have acquired from other organizations are the skills and techniques that they need to bring about change to Student Government and truly represent the student body. Becky Parsons, the campaign manager for Wiley/Sullivan, spoke highly of the candidate qualifications stating: “JaQuan has a unique perspective of being the first African-American President of the North Carolina Music Educators Association, Collegiate Division, so he is not unfamiliar with being a strong leader. He has also been the drum major for the marching band, which allowed him the opportunity to work extensively with a large and diverse group of people. Together, they have been here at Appalachian longer than any of the other candidates, for a combined 6 years. In this time, they believe that they have seen little to no action from the Student Government Association. They know exactly how it feels to be a student on this campus who feels underrepresented and ignored by the Student Government, which is a sentiment that their platform really reflects. Their platform stands to advocate for some student groups who have not seen their needs and desires listed on a student government platform since they enrolled at this university.”

But the question, still remains, why? Why do two SGA outsiders want to run for Student Body? Well, Parsons states: “Both of the other candidates have had plenty of time and opportunity within SGA to do the work that they now claim to want to do. Our question is simple: what kind of change can truly happen when we keep electing insiders to the job? We feel that it is time to bring in some fresh faces to SGA, to revamp the system and to get our student government back on the right track. We believe that our candidates, with their combined 6 years of experiences here at Appalachian, are more than fit to lead this student body towards continued innovation and success.”

Check out their full platform and website for more information.

Photo Courtesy of the Clayton/Lee Campaign

Anderson Clayton and Alan Lee: “Shaping Our Campus” 

Last, but certainly not least, are Anderson Clayton and Alan Lee who together have 3 years of combined SGA experience with Anderson serving 2 years with one on senate and one on the council, and Lee serving one on the council. These are amongst various other leadership positions across Appalachian State’s including Greek Life, Appol Corps, SOUL, and the Student Conduct board. They highlight both what they want to do, but also what they have already done for the Appalachian Community through their leadership roles and how they hope to build on their successes moving forward. Their campaign wants to emphasize the importance of serving their Appalachian community and creating a space where each and every student has equal opportunity to grow and achieve their goals. Simply put, they want to make this campus home to every individual on it. 

Joe Wilkes, Core team member of the Clayton.Lee campaign had this to say: “Alan and Anderson are extremely qualified based on their experience within the SGA cabinet with Anderson serving as the Director of External Affairs and Alan serving as the Director of Student Affairs. They’ve already begun to build the connections with administration, faculty, and staff. Anderson is one the strongest and fearless women I’ve ever met, she will make sure that her voice and the voice of the student body will not be silenced. Alan is the kindest and most genuine soul I’ve ever met and will make sure that the concerns of the student body are addressed. They not only want to bring your ideas to the table but bring you to the table when having those important discussions. I believe in Clayton.Lee because they believe in my voice and the voice of the students!”

Check out their website for more information and their complete platform.

Voting ends April 6th at 12pm, so stay tuned for the results!