On Nov. 15, Student Government hosted an elections panel in the Space in the Ehinger Center, which was open to all Drewids as candidates discussed their plans for the next year. Traditionally, the Student Government hosts a debate between those running for office. However, this year, Jared Sutton and Salma Mahmoud, the candidates for President and Vice President for the Student Government, are running unopposed. Despite this, Sutton and Mahmoud actively engaged in explaining their platform and answered questions by the attendees.
Followed by the meeting of the Drew Improvement Committee, Sutton and Mahmoud first identified three main objectives: increase accessibility of Student Government and the Budget and Organizations Board, maintain track record of institutional transparency, and professionalize and systematize efforts to ensure optimal efficiency of Student Government and associated bodies. “The hallmark is more information,” explained Sutton, who is running to be re-elected as president. Giving more information and hosting active conversation were the main themes that emerged in many questions who represented diverse groups of Drewids with different interests.
One of the main topics of discussion was increasing the inclusion of international students. “How are you planning to integrate the international students who are going through a big transition? Do you have any initiatives in mind?” asked one student from the audience. Mahmoud answered this question through expressing plans to have more focus on the freshmen orientations as well as offering more food options to international students from different backgrounds. In relation to more food options, Mahmoud addressed the religious concerns raised by the students and promised more options of halal, kosher, vegetarian, and vegan foods in the Commons and EC Food Court, and work with Aramark to ensure better employee training to serve it. This initiative was specifically started after the Diversity Forum that recently took place, which shows the intentions of Student Government to interact more with the students.
Mahmoud also revealed plans to move the location of the Interfaith Prayer room from the basement of Mead Hall to a more accessible location. Diversity and community building were big topics of conversation. “Bringing together all groups that make up Drew and promoting unity is extremely important,” explained Sutton. The agenda of the candidates included a vast number of ideas to promote community building. Having a gender neutral bathroom, improving the experiences of commuters, promoting sustainability, organizing an athlete advisory committee, and better cooperation with the Resident Hall Association to enhance the resident halls were other major issues that were brought up by the panel of students. On a question asking why they should even vote for the candidates if they were the only runners, both Sutton and Mahmoud stressed the pivotal importance of input and encouraged all students to participate in the voter drive. Student Government encouraged all students to take 30 seconds to vote on The Path, Friday, Nov. 18 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tables will be set up in the Commons Lobby and the EC main entrance or the following link https://path.drew.edu/election/start/115933
“Come to make a difference in your community,” concluded Sutton.