Meet the Candidates!

Come to the Festival Lower Drum Feb. 24 & 25 at 6pm to hear the SGA candidate’s platforms! If you can’t make it check out their platforms here! Voting will take place on Feb. 26 & 27. Click here to vote!

President-

Greg Bahou

photoHello Dukes! My name is Greg Bahou and I want to serve as your Student Government Association President for 2014-2015 year. I have had a passion for James Madison University from the first moment I visited. Serving as your President would allow me to give something back to this University that I love, and will give you a servant dedicated to improving this already great institution. Every Duke loves JMU and the traditions and spirits we live by, but there are a few issues I can work on during my Presidency that will make JMU even better. Let Us Start Thinking Differently Together.

NO MORE CROWDED ICS BUSES: The Inner Campus Shuttle Buses are too crowded! I experience it every day,  just  like  you.  Sometimes  the  buses  are  so  crowded  they  don’t  stop  at  the bus stops, so I have to
wait for the next one, delaying me and making me late to class. We have to find an answer – it may be a scheduling issue like hiring more drivers and compressing the route schedule, or it might be a resource issue, and adding another bus will fix the problem. It might be something else altogether — I’ll  work  with   the transportation officials to identify the cause of the problem, and make sure we have a lasting solution.

#STOPTheDrop: The new administration governing our Commonwealth is proposing a $25 million cut in the budget for higher education. What does this mean for you? It means JMU will lose about 46% of current financial aid funding, making it harder for students to afford higher education. #STOPTheDrop is a campaign by the Virginia21 Organization that helps lobby for young voters on a non-partisan agenda. They are focusing on higher education to keep it affordable. I stand behind this 100%. As your President, I’m  JMU’s  representative  to  a  council  of  other  college  and  university  presidents  in  the  state.    I’ll  work   with them to develop a successful campaign to lobby against these cuts. We have to keep education affordable, so everyone has the opportunity we have had to attend this amazing University.

Unity & Inclusion: I believe the relationship between the SGA and the student body can be better! With your  help,  we’ll make it just that – closer, more open and more effective! My staff and I will be open to discussion with any student about any issues happening on campus. I want us to start working together to make JMU better than what it is. I am here for YOU.

Let Us Start Thinking Differently Together.

Mckenzie Quinn

McKenzie Quinn

Student government is the voice for students across campus. We are an organization the prides itself on representing the needs and concerns of the students and doing what is in our ability to make the necessary changes on campus. However, both sides could do better with communicating to each other so that our organization could serve as a better representation of students. Student Government needs to be actively seeking student opinion whenever they can because administrators use us to represent the ideas and thoughts of the students. Students should also be using the Student Government as an avenue to administrators and a means to an end to bring about change on campus.

In order to obtain this vision, I believe we need to be discussing big decisions that the university faces with the students because we are the ones who are impacted by these changes. We gain knowledge and understanding about the wants of the students from this and it paints a better picture for administrators when they come to Student Government for the students’ voice.  I would be a valiant supporter for the students when representing them to the administration. I think student engagement is the top priority in order for the President to effectively complete the duties and tasks that he/she faces.

My overall goal and mission for the year is to change the way people view their education. With such an emphasis on grades and classes it is easy to lose sight of the ultimate reason why we attend James Madison University—to learn, meet new people, and gain new experiences that will aid us in the future as we move on to bigger and better endeavors. James Madison University offers so much more to learn than just what is relevant to our degrees. I would like to foster an academic community where we actively discuss current events and ideas we learn in class more openly and commonly. Knowledge and education is sexy and I believe people should wear it and own it as if it is an extension of themselves. This is something we should value. I believe collaboration with of other academic-focused groups on campus we could bring about change to our beautiful campus.

My years spent in Student Government has offered me unforgettable experiences and knowledge that is invaluable. I continue to grow with this organization and while at James Madison University. I hope that my vision is one that can unite JMU students and administration to actively work together with the great ideas brought up by student, faculty, and the JMU community.

Taylor Vollman

Taylor Vollman

Hello James Madison University, I am Taylor Vollman and I want to be your Student Body President. In my time at JMU, I have witnessed an intense spirit, a philanthropic nature and a studious attitude among my peers. As my love for this university grows each and every day, I hear a call to duty to accurately and passionately represent my fellow Dukes.

Duties: The Student Body President leads the Student Government Association in their efforts to fight for and enact change on behalf of the student body. The President serves as the main advocate to administration, conveying the student body’s needs and desires. This person sits on various committees around JMU, serving as the student voice and opinion. They take their role outside of JMU, working with various student leaders at other Virginia and national universities.

Students First: I believe it is the duty of the Student Government to work first and foremost on behalf of the student body. My reason for being at JMU is the same as all others, to be a student first. With such as strong commonality binding together members of the Madison community, it is essential to focus on academics and the students who comprise this university.

Accurate representation: No one student fits into a certain mold. While the Student Government has put forth considerable and successful efforts to reach out to the student body as a whole, I believe it would be effective to pinpoint the specific needs of various groups at JMU. I want to understand the balance of working students or student athletes. I strive to understand the needs of our transfer, graduate and nontraditional students. I would focus on creating a dialogue with various subsections, gaining feedback and really striving to understand their viewpoints.

A coalition of leaders:  Every year the conversation of forming a team of leaders from various organizations comes up. This year, I would love to do something about it. Starting small, with some of the largest groups on campus electing a representative to this panel, it would hopefully grow to a network and sounding board for many ideas. In cases of shortened timelines, this board could give a nice perspective into the way the student body would respond to various projects and efforts. This panel would also serve to promote projects to other organizations and hopefully foster further collaboration.

Embodying “Be the Change”: JMU fosters a student population focused on giving back to JMU and the greater Harrisonburg community. While the Student Government strives to be that positive impact, with projects like the Big Event, I believe it is important to try to cultivate this connection throughout the year. Putting forth joint efforts with the Downtown Renaissance and other service oriented groups around JMU, it would help branch the students off campus. I would also reach out to service organizations on campus to help foster their endeavors, whether making them aware of the Contingency funding SGA offers, helping with publicity or giving forth extra manpower on specific projects.

Transparency: I would champion further SGA transparency. I would ensure our budgets and resolutions are more easily accessed, as well as explanations about their meanings. I would also ensure the Student Government is helping JMU in their efforts to disperse information and provide explanations about how certain facets of JMU operate. I would hope to increase traffic to our office, Taylor 203, so we have more direct contact in order to give face to face responses and foster more in depth conversations with students from around campus.

Academics: JMU is first and foremost an academic institution. I would make sure to champion the academic needs and rigor for the bettering of the student body. I would convey the importance of academics to various councils and planning teams. I believe to have the best students, we much encourage and maintain the best professors and foster healthy student professor relationships. I would ensure the student perspective is being heard during any changes which may come, whether athletic or otherwise. During the lobbying trips every year, I would fight for student rights and funding in both Richmond and Washington, D.C. Many organizations, including SGA, offer out of the classroom learning experiences, which should be encouraged so they prosper and an academic culture is maintained.

Building a Foundation: I want to create a more solid foundation for students to understand JMU and SGA. With such an incredible Orientation Program, I would work to continue what they started by partnering to encourage year-long integration efforts and filling voids they have noticed in programs and initiatives. Moving focus of certain campaigns to First Years and transfer students would help grow they knowledge base. I really want to encourage the healthy introduction of new students to JMU and the greater Harrisonburg community.

Vice President-

Kathy Corena

Kathy CorenaI’ve been a member of the Student Government Association all four semesters that I have been at JMU. Since the beginning I’ve actively seeked ways to get involved and make a difference. The Student Body Vice President does a lot within the Student Government Association and outside of it. If elected Vice President, I will be able to help lead the organization and change the way students and the administration view the Student Government.

Serving as a primary resource and voice for students. We, as a Student Government, do so much more than is visible to students. I want students to think of the Student Government first if they have questions or concerns with anything at JMU. Given our connection to administration, we have the power to convey what the student body wants and cares about. We serve advocates and the student voice. We will be able to better perform our role if we have greater student input. One of the most effective ways to do this is to continue with the Town Hall meetings that were started this year. Another good way to get feedback has been by surveying students on the commons. We do miss a lot of the population on East Campus, therefore I would like to extend events to that side of campus to capture different views. 

Creating informed members. If we want to serve as a resource to the student body, all of our members have to be well informed and prepared. My hope is that any member be able to explain the various aspects of Student Government. I will work on developing our membership knowledge on both internal and external matters to make sure that the every student receiving the same information from our members. If we are able to do this, it will also increase the transparency of the organization because more students will be aware of what we do. 

Increased visibility among student body. As Student Government we also have to work on branding ourselves. Our visibility among the student body can be increased. The more students are aware of us, the more we can do to help them. I will do this by creating coalitions with other organizations that are already visible on campus such as UPB, Student Ambassadors, and Safe Rides. They can help us learn how to better publicize our events. Not only will not only work with these organizations, but also some that may not be as big. These coalitions would help us reach more of the student body.

Class Council: Leading Class Council is one of the duties that I will make the most of. The Class Officers have a greater reach among the student body because given their nature they are more recognizable. I will have each class pair up with one of our committees for their educational, unity or social programs. This would increase the bonds between Class Council and Senate and create a stronger Student Government.

Unity Events. Traditions are very important at JMU. The switch to Festival Lawn created a bigger and more efficient Purple Out, but there are still ways to improve upon this. I will make sure that the lines are clearly set and move at a fast pace so the event moves smoothly. Madison Week is a fairly new and exiting event. It is great way to establish our presence with the student body and celebrate James Madison. I would like to have events that are both educational and social.

I have learned many things from the opportunities that I have been given and grown as a leader. I know that I will continue to grow learn more with new experiences. Supporting me means that you believe in the vision for a better and more active JMU.

Kaitlin Thomas

Kaitlin ThomasI, Kaitlin Thomas, am running for Student Body Vice President of James Madison University (JMU) to bring inspiration and passion to my work and to foster meaningful relationships with students and administrators alike.  I am a junior Hospitality Management major who has served two years on Class Council and a year on the Student Government Executive Board as Director of Membership Development.  I plan to best represent the interests of the students through the strong pride and dedication I have for JMU and for the individuals who make JMU the best university in the world.  Through my role as Student Body Vice President, I plan to:

Strengthen the relationship between students and administrators.

  • Represent the student voice in diverse and impactful interactions with administrators
  • Develop and continue relationships with administrators and stress the importance of student opinion and essential JMU traditions
  • Continue to be a voice for the students in discussions on differential tuition and how it may affect student traditions and student life
  • Fill the UCAC committees with passionate representatives who are well-equipped for their responsibilities and commitments
  • Work with the Leeolou Alumni Center and SAA to create a variety of networking events to introduce students to administration and alumni to spark leadership and career growth

Inspire Class Council to positively engage with their respected classes in exciting and innovative ways.  

  • Revive student-centered town halls meetings that provide relevant outlets for students of all classes
  • Empower Class Council to think creatively and collaborate with different Student Government committees and organizations
  • Be a mentor to new Class Council members and acclimate them to their Student Government roles in a timely manner to ensure lasting productivity
  • Continually provide Class Council and the rest of Student Government with administrative contacts who can help turn great ideas into realities
  • Develop a uniform system to publicize and promote events

Continue making traditions on James Madison University’s campus and in the community.

  • Create “The JMU Limelight” – interview a different JMU student each week, who best exemplifies the JMU way, “Be the Change”
  • Continue to deepen the tradition of Purple Out by unifying the event and focusing on a higher retention rate
  • Work with the Presidential Office & University Events in uncovering past traditions in addition to implementing new ones
  • Be a voice for the students in the planning of Madison Week, a celebration of the James Madison Legacy with a week of fun activities and knowledgeable events
  • Establish ties with Renaissance Downtown to build relationships and traditions between the city of Harrisonburg and James Madison students

To most of us, James Madison University is more than just a campus.  It is a way of life where we ‘love purple and live gold.’  I want to make an impact as Student Body Vice President inside and outside of Student Government.  I want to encourage students to make their mark on Madison by focusing on their passions.  Most of all, I hope to inspire everyone I meet on this campus with the heart, soul and dedication I put into this school.  With my experience in Student Government, academic focus in event management, and love for JMU, I know that I will be an inspirational Vice President.

Treasurer-

Aaron Brown

Aaron BrownAs Executive Treasurer of SGA I plan on expanding the position and adding more validity to the position. I plan on accomplishing this by having interacting more with other FEB (Front-End Budget) groups on campus to build coalitions to help accomplish each of our goals. I plan on working more with administration and trying to get more money allocated to student groups on campus, especially the Sports Club Council and Contingency. I also want to bring awareness of what SGA can do for student groups on campus. There is lots of money available for student organizations on campus and many of them have no clue of it.

As a member of the Executive Council I will represent all student voices and concerns to serve the student body. I will bring a lot of experience to this position, being in the Student Government since freshman year and being the Finance Chair for two years I have the leadership skills and knowledge to change this position for the better!

Student Representative to the Board of Visitors-

Nico Climaco

Nico ClimacoHi, my name’s Nico Climaco, and I am running to serve the JMU community as the Student Representative to the Board of Visitors. I’m a Junior Political Science major from Ashburn, VA. Throughout my past few years here, I’ve been involved with Student Ambassadors, Phi Alpha Delta, Virginia21, the Alternative Break Program, and the Office of Orientation as an Orientation Peer Advisor. My experience as a student ambassador and OPA has really helped me spread my love of JMU with future and current Dukes. With Vriginia21, I’ve been able to explore issues in higher education and serve as an advocate for students across the state. Now, I want to combine my passions of service, higher education advocacy, and JMU to serve the student body as your representative to the Board of Visitors.

Advocating for Student Opinion

During meetings, I plan to advocate for the voice of students, so members of the Board of Visitors know how students feel about certain issues.

  1. Continue a strong relationship with the student organizations on campus and speak to them about what happened after each board meeting.
  2. Hold town hall meetings quarterly to discuss what important issues impact our student body at JMU allowing all students to have a voice represented for them.
  3. Form a coalition with other student representatives across the state to discuss state issues that impact all students across Virginia.
  4. Spread awareness campaigns on big issues that relate to students and how students can get involved to share their thoughts.
  5. Develop connections with students on how they can engage directly with other members of the Board of Visitors.

Most importantly, I will serve as an open and transparent representative allowing students to connect with me to discuss issues and understand what steps the university is going in.

Josh Humphries

JOSH HUMPHRIESAs the Student Representative to the Board of Visitors, I will report to the Board at their quarterly meetings and inform them on student reaction, positions, and opinions regarding their decisions. Furthermore, I will seek to inform the Student Government Association of any decisions made by the Board that may impact student life at James Madison University.

As the student representative to the Board of Visitors, I want to cultivate meaningful relationships with the Board to accomplish today’s problems for tomorrow’s James Madison. I will make it my priority to actively pursue an engaged student body that seeks to leave their own legacy through their individual passions. Moreover, I will make it my duty to vocalize the passions and desires of students who want to make a positive change in this community.

Currently, I am a Senator in the Student Government Association and the first student representative to the Faculty Senate; in which I inform the Faculty Senate at their monthly meetings on the student perspective and inform committee chairs of the Student Government Association regarding decisions of the Faculty Senate as to have a free flow of information from all levels of the university. Since the student population of James Madison University is the main constituency of the Board of Visitors, I will keep students informed and represent the interests of all students to the best of my ability.

David Scala

David ScalaI, David Scala, am running for Student Representative to the James Madison University Board of Visitors. I am beyond excited for the opportunity to serve this great university. Here are a few ideas that if elected I will implement for the 2013-2014 year.

Establish a greater voice for the students on the Board of Visitors

  • If elected I would vie for a more dominate Student Representative voice on the Board, and in the administration, to listen to the concerns of the student body and be accountable to the students themselves.
  • JMU is at a crossroads when it comes to planning for the future and establishing the culture for the next 20 years. I will represent the student opinion at Board meetings including student opinion that is outside the leadership bubble of JMU.
  • Issues that I personally wish to speak about include: financial aid, general education requirements, strategic planning and the budget.

Be an open and transparent avenue for student input

  • Establish a Twitter, Facebook and Email address for the Student Representative to allow easy access for students to seek answers, be educated and provide feedback
  • Actively communicate with the JMU community to better understand their vision for the university.

Collaborate with campus leaders to best represent the student body

  • Work with the Student Government to insure there is collaboration between the Student Body President as well as other Student Government leaders.
  • Work with club, program and organization leaders to better represent the entire student body. This will allow for efficiency as well as working together to solve our collective problems.

Be an active and important part of the Board of Visitors

  • Work with the members of the Board giving them as much student information as they need.
  • Be an active participant in Board meetings and decisions.
  • Establish a positive and vital relationship between the Board and the Student Representative to allow better collaboration to solving university problems for years to come.
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