Candidates share plans, platforms at ASGCU debate
By Jeannette Cruz
GCU News Bureau
Candidates for the two highest ranks in student government at Grand Canyon University answered questions Monday on their plans to advocate for students’ needs, the importance of accountability and the components of their platforms.
With Associated Students of GCU adviser Moyo Harris serving as moderator, the candidates addressed an estimated crowd of 200 students on the second floor of the Student Union.
The two teams kicked things off by outlining their platforms and discussing the experience that qualifies them for the positions.
Junior Sydnee Akers, running for president, and her vice presidential running mate, junior Colson Franse, cited current experience in ASGCU as evidence of their qualifications.
“We feel this would give us more of an opportunity to grow,” Akers said. “We want to be able to pour what ASGCU does externally.”
Their opposition, juniors Nathan Carpenter (president) and Matt Shinn (vice president), emphasized their experience as residence hall leaders as a sign of their commitment to learn the ins and outs of ASGCU and passionately advocate for the students.
“There isn’t anything that we can’t learn from,” Carpenter said. “We are rooted in this campus, and we want to continue being a part of this.”
Carpenter and Shinn shared their goal to create a more “grounded” student body by specifically targeting a better informed student body, bringing more awareness to mental health and counseling, and building traditions that are engaging and entertaining. They emphasized a new Golden Initiative, which would integrate students with more nonprofit organizations, such as The A21 Campaign, to end human trafficking and create awareness.
“God called us to go forward and make brothers of all nations. That means we have to go out and love the community around us,” Carpenter said.
Akers and Franse shared their slogan of “PASSION” – passion for student safety, communication and university-wide awareness weeks.
Franse said he and Akers are looking to provide free self-defense classes, increased shooter drill awareness and a diversity week at the end of the school year.
Both platforms agreed on improving communication between students and administration and fostering current initiatives, including “It’s On Us,” a sexual assault prevention campaign.
Questions from the audience centered on why they’re running for office, their plan for reaching students with different religious beliefs, challenges during the campaign process and their steps upon winning or losing. They also were asked how they would support upperclassmen and commuters.
The question on engaging students with different beliefs and backgrounds raised thoughtful responses.
“We want to set a vision going forward no matter where you’re from and what your background is,” Carpenter said. “As R.A.s, we’ve had two different groups of 80 residents each, and the way we connect them has been something we’ve been very successful at. We’ve been able to create community in our hall, and we want to create this Christ-loving community at GCU.”
Franse said that although his campaign with Akers is Christ-centered, their ultimate goal is to serve students.
“We are here to serve the students and in that we want to support students and whatever beliefs and cultures they bring to the table,” he said. “The cool thing about GCU is that you are always accepted.”
Voting ends Wednesday at 5 p.m., and ASGCU plans to announce the election results Thursday morning.
Contact Jeannette Cruz at (602) 639-6631 or firstname.lastname@example.org.