By Nicole Calacal
Each of the three candidates running for the Student Government Association (SGA) student body president have something in common: they are all passionate about leaving a lasting impression in students’ lives, even after graduation.
As the time to elect a new president is quickly approaching, junior film, TV and radio major Paige Ewing, junior political science major Allison Anderson and junior marketing major Kaylin Garcia have seized the opportunity to run and hopefully bring their ideas to life.
Ewing, Anderson and Garcia may have different goals when it comes to what they want to accomplish if they’re elected, but they have a mutual ambition to enhance the Rider experience for every student.
Ewing has been in SGA for three years and has been on the executive board for two. Additionally, she is a member of the Baccalaureate Honors Program and the Communication Honors Program, Lambda Pi Eta. She is also a tour guide on campus, a junior admissions fellow, hosts a radio show on 107.7 The Bronc and is a former writer for The Rider News.
As SGA’s Vice President for Communications, she has already implemented a new tradition — Midnight Breakfast — where students can receive free breakfast at midnight during finals week at Daly’s without using meal swipes.
Garcia, in her campaign, is also determined to push for more campus traditions.
“I want to work on creating that community vibe on campus. I’ve seen a lot of good things since my freshman year with new clubs being added, new events happening, things like that. They kind of fizzle. We could have some really great Rider traditions that amp up the Rider experience [so] that people come on campus, and they’re like, ‘Wow, everyone is so excited to be here. Everyone loves being here,’” Garcia said. “I think I just really want to focus on making sure that, when we have those great moments, we continue to expand upon them so that everyone who comes here is like, ‘Rider is my home.’”
Garcia has also been in SGA since her freshman year. In addition, she is the president of the junior class, a sister of Alpha Xi Delta, a member of the Rider’s Women Leadership Council and works for Gourmet Dining doing on-campus catering. She believes that being involved in a variety of extracurricular activities has been beneficial in viewing students from different perspectives.
“I have a much broader view of what it’s like to be a student here, so I’m not just someone who’s only involved in Greek life, and that’s only going to be the way I look at things. I’m also involved in professional organizations, [and] I’m also working,” Garcia said. “By having all of these extracurriculars that I am involved in — and that I do hold very close to me — really gives me that full student view of all the students at Rider, which is important when you’re going to be the representative for students. You have to be able to understand where everyone’s coming from.”
SGA Executive Vice President Anderson agreed that students should work together with the organization to make changes to improve students’ overall experience at Rider.
“The mark I want to leave at Rider is [to get] one person or one group or one professor [to] look back and say, ‘Wow, I made a change, too,’” Anderson said. “That’s what I want at the end because I don’t want it to just be me that’s communicating with the president. I don’t want it to just be me that’s deciding, ‘Oh, what should go outside of the SRC?’ Like how we just did the senior walkway. Little stuff like that [shouldn’t] just be up to student government itself. Student government is a liaison for other students to say what they want. So, at the end, if I could say [a non-member of] student government was able to use their resources in order to get something at Rider or do something at Rider and leave their mark, I would say I would be able to leave my mark on Rider as well.”
Anderson is a Bonner Community Scholar, the president of her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, a member of the Unashamed Gospel Choir and has been in SGA for the past three years as well. She wants people to know about the resources the university has to offer and that SGA is always available for whatever the students may need.
“Over my time in student government, I’ve been able to see so much change, not even just in the school but [in] some of the students as well. I want to continue that change and possibly make it even better. People have complained about the time for the meal exchange, so we were able to push the time back from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. now. Even though it’s something small and something that the students wanted and spoke out about, we were able to get that done,” Anderson said. “Something that small gave me a little taste. So it’s like, what else can we do? What else does everybody think that’s impossible that we can actually accomplish?”
In addition to enriching the Rider experience for students, Ewing addressed that the SGA and university administation should be more active in communicating with the students.
“I think my biggest platform is really holding the administration accountable for what they say. You know, the Rider promise. We have all these Rider values that no one walks these halls as a stranger, things along those lines, that we’re nurturing the present and past generations for future ones. I think a lot of the time we forget about those Rider values, and we don’t really apply them to everyday life. Administrators sit in their offices a lot and they wait for students to come to them. I really want to encourage both SGA administration and university administration to go out into the community, to reach out to students when there’s a problem instead of waiting for students to come to them. This year there’s been a lot of issues with the administration, with faculty, a lot of rumors around the students, and I want there to be a better bond of communication so that we can ultimately form a stronger community,” Ewing said.
Being involved in student government as early as fourth grade, Ewing has been in presidential positions before. She is enthusiastic about her role in SGA and loves looking at the big picture and making effective changes that make a difference.
Although Ewing, Anderson and Garcia have different goals they want to accomplish, they ultimately want to continue enriching their peers’ experience as a Rider Bronc. Garcia said, “I think the interesting thing with the three of us though, too, is that we have all worked together so closely for these last three years. We’ve all been involved, so I think that we all have different strengths, and we are going to really bring different things to the table. I’m really excited to see what happens.”
Voting takes place on BroncNation from April 3 to April 6. Additionally, students are welcome to attend senate meetings every Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. in Sweigart 115.
Published in the 4/3/19 edition.