Student government candidates' pitch to lead is personal

Candidates for student body president Ashley Cote (right) and student body vice president David Pritchard answer questions during a town hall on Monday.

Photos by Ralph Freso / Slideshow

The team running to lead student government at Grand Canyon University is unopposed, but there was still much to learn about Ashley Cote and David Pritchard at the Associated Students of GCU Elections Town Hall on Monday.

“Hey, your voice matters on campus,” Cote told students assembled in the Colangelo College of Business lobby for the question-and-answer session. “It is your job to tell us what you want and advocate for yourself as students. How can we get better?

“We know behind the scenes what can and cannot happen. We are really hoping to make sure students know they are being communicated to.”

Cote, a sophomore from San Diego majoring in sports and entertainment management, hopes to be an ASGCU president who leads with transparency. It’s what excites her about the role, working internally with University leadership and sharing the possibilities, or limitations, with the student body.

ASGCU student body president candidate Ashley Cote talks about her team’s agenda for the campus.

“We want to enhance resources on campus,” she said in an interview afterward. “GCU has done so much in the last couple years to make the campus bigger. But how do we take what we already have on campus and make it better?”

For example, though students often say they want a specific burger chain added to campus, she said her team is not into making promises. The reality is if the chain doesn’t have a partnership with the food service provider, it’s not going to happen, she said. So what are the other food options or additional locations, especially on the growing east side of campus?

“I’m really passionate about working with higher ups to make things happen,” she told the group, such as safety enhancements that would include charging units for mobile phones or laptops and improved night lighting on campus.

Students can vote from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and are encouraged to still do so. Though Cote and Pritchard are unopposed, voters can abstain, meaning they choose not to vote for the options available.

Both Cote and Prichard hold roles within ASGCU this year, Cote in community engagement and Pritchard in the Senate.

A student presents a question to ASGCU student body candidates Ashley Cote and David Pritchard during the town hall.

Pritchard, a sophomore from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, majoring in finance and economics, wants to bring a human touch to his role. It was evident after current ASGCU president Jagaar Halverson turned the questions over to the audience and one student asked about purpose – “what gets you up in the morning?”

“I am not a morning person,” Pritchard joked, before getting serious. “I try to read the Bible in the morning and see what God is trying to teach me.

“I just want to impact people through interactions. Something I learned recently is to stay present in each moment. That is something,” he continued, his voice cracking with emotion, “that I learned from my dad.”

He was asked about his deep feelings about wanting to connect with others that he learned from his dad.

“He passed away. He was riding his bike and had heart failure,” he said of 53-year-old Douglas Pritchard, who died in November.

“The reason why I wanted to become vice president was one of our last conversations and we talked about running (for student leadership), and he encouraged me to do it. That’s the reason I wanted to continue on with this role: To be intentional with every moment and every interaction with people.”

ASGCU student body vice president candidate David Pritchard shares his desire to reach out to the student body.

His dad, a pilot in the Air Force and with Southwest Airlines, became an elder in the church in the last years of his life.

“His heart changed in the last couple years to try to impact as many lives as he could, just caring for each person’s soul and being selfless and humble and just being intentional trying to help people,” he said. “I want to bring that to GCU, hopefully not just in making policies but impacting peoples’ lives.”

He wants any student to feel like they can walk up to him and have a conversation.

That started Monday.

Cote told the group that means balancing a big list of daily tasks with the personal moments that Pritchard talked about.

“So asking God, ‘What do you want from me today? Is it this to-do list or is it having intentional conversations with someone?’”

Grand Canyon University senior writer Mike Kilen can be reached at [email protected]

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