Last updated on May 2, 2019
By Gloria Cortes
The Volunteer State Community College Student Government Association (SGA) presidential election will take place March 18 and 19.
The two candidates are Mary Dobbs, the current vice president, and Preston Tatum.
There will be voting booths in the Mary Cole Nichols Dining Room A (from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., both days), the hallway of the second floor of the SRB (from 10:45-11:30 a.m. on Monday, and from 12:15-1 p.m. on Tuesday), the hallway of the first floor of Caudill (from 9:15-10 a.m. on Monday, and from 10:45-11:30 a.m. on Tuesday), and the main hallway of Wallace North (from 12:15-1 p.m. on Monday, and from 9:15-10 a.m. on Tuesday).
“I saw advertising for [the election] on Elearn,” said Vol State sophomore Jackson Bradds.
Students can vote without their Vol State ID.
There is an SGA table in the cafeteria with informative papers about the candidates, the election, and other aspects of SGA for students to take.
“We do have bios for any student that wants to read about each candidate. They can come up to any of the tables pretty much all day Monday and Tuesday. There will be a bio about Mary and a bio about Preston they can read, and it tells about what they would like to see on campus, and the students can vote using that,” said Caityln Ellis, former SGA president, current assistant for the Office of Student Engagement and Support.
SGA positions other than vice president and president are determined through an interviewing process.
This is the first SGA election in the past few years because candidates have normally ran unopposed, which automatically guarantees them the position.
“A lot of people don’t want to take on these roles because it’s a lot of work, but they also don’t realize that they come with paid tuition. So, even if you’re on TN Promise, it ends up just being extra money for you,” said Ellis.
With voting tables around campus, student participation is expected to be high, said Ellis.
Ballots will be sent to the other Vol State campuses so students at those locations can vote, since the president oversees those campuses as well.
The biggest challenge SGA elections faced in previous years is finding candidates and getting students involved.
“Just trying to get people to want to be involved and to want to participate, not to just come here and leave is a big issue,” said Ellis.
Ellis said this election is relevant to students because “SGA pretty much has the power to make decisions regarding students’ money and the way it’s spent…. A part of everyone’s tuition goes into an SGA fund and a campus activities fund, and a lot of students don’t realize that. You’re money is basically going out into this reining body, and you’re not helping make decisions, so we try to tell people, ‘If you come to SGA meetings, you can vote, you can talk about things.’ It’s important that we have a good president who can answer questions and who knows all the ins and outs of how Vol State and SGA work.”
“I plan to vote,” said Vol State sophomore Ciona Killian.