Lumination Network teamed up with Lipscomb’s Student Government Association (SGA) to host the 2018 SGA Presidential debate this Monday. Sitting on the stage of Zebi’s Lounge were SGA Presidential candidates Ralston Drake and Sierra Sparks. 

The typically-quiet hangout in the heart of the student center was bustling with candidates and their peers eagerly waiting to hear more about the candidates and their platforms. 

Moderator Lindsey Nance introduced all of the students running for the position of senator before giving each of the executive candidates 30 seconds to introduce themselves and offer reasons why they feel qualified for the positions they are pursuing. 

Running for the position of treasurer, Emilee Goss and Matt Welborn both spoke of their desires to work on behalf of the students. Goss emphasized allocating the budget to best fit the needs of the student body. Welborn agreed, adding, “I saw an opportunity to combine my passions of hard work and organization for students.”

On a similar note, Macy Glassco, secretary hopeful, said, “I’ve been able to use my gifts and talents to make goals happen.” Her competitor, Deanie Pedigo, highlighted the need to keep SGA organized so that they can more efficiently help students. 

Both Annie Moore and Jack Webber campaigning for the office of vice president gave messages similar in tone, affirming their plans that helped achieve the ultimate goal of making Lipscomb a better place for enrolled and potential students. Since Webber is studying abroad in Santiago, Chile, Glassco read his pre-written statement to the audience.

 The more challenging questions were reserved for the presidential candidates. When Nance asked the two current SGA members running for president what problems and potential solutions they saw on campus, Drake spoke of better allocation of funds and being a bridge between the administration and students. 

Sparks, too, hoped to use funds more efficiently, but her main platform was to encourage unity among students, despite the walls that are typically built between different on-campus organizations.

 “I wanna know what you guys want to do to make Lipscomb better,” Sparks said. She plans on undertaking the task of unifying the student body by intentionally making herself uncomfortable. She gave the example of something as simple as sitting in a place in the student center she wouldn’t normally sit.

 Both spoke of their love for their university, despite things they might see that need improving. “This is an incredible place,” Drake said, “where you can pursue what you want to do with a community all around you that can encourage you… I want to empower students to realize that they can actually change things themselves.” He gave the example of the Diverse Student Coalition seeing a need for change, assembling a team, and fighting for it without the direct aid of administration.

Drake spoke also of a student-funded scholarship he helped initiate. The “Make A Way” Scholarship will help fund the tuition of a student that otherwise would not be able to attend Lipscomb, creating and fostering a more diverse environment on campus.

Nance asked Sparks and Drake to state simply why they believe they are qualified for the office of SGA president. Sparks, who has participated in various SGAs since the 6th grade, described herself as experienced, service-oriented, humble, approachable and organized. Drake told of his love for every group within the student body and described himself as personable, relatable, and knowledgable of many diverse social groups. 

Elections take place from noon to 3 PM Tuesday in the Bennett Campus Center. This election will be for executives and class senators. At-large senators’ elections will take place at the same time on Thursday.

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