Oxford Student Government Association’s (SGA) campaign week began on April 5 with a SGA-led discussion featuring candidates running for the offices of executive president, executive vice president, second-year senator and Oxford continuee legislator to College Council.
Voting begins April 9 at 8 a.m. EST and ends April 10 at 10 p.m. EST with results to be announced April 12 at 8 a.m..
Vice President of Elections and Charters Aditi Vellore (21Ox) and Elections and Charters Committee member Naeman Mahmood (22Ox) moderated the Zoom event, which was optional for candidates. The format allowed for all candidates to respond to the same four questions with one minute allowed for each response.
Uncontested Presidential Candidate Calvin Bell III (22Ox) outlined his platform to bridge divides and amplify student concerns at Oxford. His suggested measures included creating a club council for SGA president and vice president to meet with other student leads and educating students on how to use the existing Speak Up form.
“I want to change the voice and the demographic of what SGA, not only on the Oxford campus but also on the Atlanta campus,” Bell said.
Pointing to his work on Oxford’s Anti-Racist Committe, Bell emphasized that he plans to use “our campus as a platform” for progressivism. Bell also proposed more SGA attention to student mental health concerns and resources.
Vice presidential candidates Roxanne Chou (22Ox), Maylynn Hu (22Ox) and Michael Chan (22 Ox) discussed the position’s opportunity to foster community post-pandemic. They focused on strengthening resources as the prospective head of the Interclub Council and streamlining both internal and external SGA communications.
Chou said her experience starting her own club shed light on the need for increased information on resources available to “sustain a club and engage the community as a whole.” She aims to improve communications through Engage and create an Interclub Council workshop for club leadership.
Hu outlined how her training as a mental health and inclusion facilitator would help in “rebuilding community and reunifying the Oxford community” by focusing on building mental health resources and club longevity resources.
Chan discussed his plan to “make a change in the community,” continuing current projects through a lens of “advocacy, accessibility and accountability.” He highlighted his work to reform meal plans, reopen campus facilities and update the housing portal in addition to plans to centralize resources and club communications.
Second-Year Senator candidates Luxe Langmade (22Ox), Chitra Yarasani (22Ox), MaKenzie Jones (22Ox), Nick Qin (22Ox), Muskaan Vohra (22Ox) and Tamecka Marechaeu-Miller (22Ox), running for the position’s five open offices, also participated in the discussion. Arden Chan (22Ox) attended the event but opted out of answering candidate questions.
Langmade said her club involvement, especially as the Oxford Young Democrats phone banking coordinator, lent her experience in organizing and insight into student concerns. Speaking to SGA communication, Langmade proposed streamlining the SGA website as a central source for organization information and establishing on-campus informational sites like a bulletin board in the student center.
Yarasani centered SGA accessibility as well. She proposed an expansion of her current effort to publicize SGA committees through social media posts and hopes to foster student engagement by publicizing general body meetings through a student center table and advertising open committee positions.
Addressing student concerns, Yarasani also proposed required student meetings with mental health counselors, on-site dining hall critiques and creating a burrito bowl station.
Qin focused on ensuring everyone on campus felt “safe and protected.” Discussing mental health and pandemic recovery, he suggested a mental health week and working with faculty and advisors to coordinate more rest days. To improve SGA accessibility, Qin proposed weekly and monthly SGA updates to the student body that include accomplishments and planned goals.
As a first-year senator, Jones said she discovered an “intense passion” for student government, leading initiatives like introducing sustainable dining hall takeout bags, expanding gender inclusive housing and publishing bills and resolutions on Engage. Jones emphasized improving SGA transparency and accessibility to better represent students.
Vohra centered connecting a “fractured” on-campus community in addition to including off-campus students in mental health programming. She proposed expanding gym access, affinity spaces and the check-in program she created as a first-year senator. Vohra emphasized that her range of extracurriculars, from Honor Council to cultural club, gave her an ability to represent “different facets of Oxford.”
Focusing on mental health, Marechaeu-Miller discussed a “poor pressure cooker sense of imbalance” between academics and community-building. Marechaeu-Miller highlighted empowering students to reach out to appropriate SGA members and committees and collaborating with the Counseling and Career Services office to expand mental health resources.
In an uncontested race for the two Oxford Continuee positions, current Oxford SGA Vice President Dylan Goldberg (21Ox) pointed to his experience over two years in SGA, highlighting initiatives to eliminate the student activity fee amid pandemic financial hardships, expand residence hall access to students on campus in the fall and organize vaccine distribution with administration.
Goldberg outlined advertising existing College Council positions and Atlanta events open to Oxford students to connect the two campuses. She also pushed for Oxford student engagement with Atlanta campus clubs through executive board positions.
Alyssa Stegall (21Ox), the other candidate, did not attend the discussion, writing in an April 6 email to the Wheel that she “was unable to work around” a conflicting commitment. She encouraged students to reach out with questions about her platform.
Chitra Yarasani, who has contributed to the Wheel, was not involved in the writing or editing of this article.