When SGA presidential candidate Daniel Calhoun had a friend decline a trip to visit him at Auburn due to fears of racism, he knew a cultural change needed to be made on campus.
After interning in Washington this past summer, Calhoun asked a fellow intern from Atlanta, an African-American woman, to visit him.
“When I asked her to come visit after the internship, she said that she wasn’t interested because she has friends who go to Auburn, and they said the social climate is trying to change but is still rooted in racism and tradition,” Calhoun said. “She said that if her friends think they’re not welcome here, why would she be welcome here?”
This conversation lit a fire in Calhoun that inspired him to make a change. This is why he is running for SGA president.
“My goal is to create a balanced and equitable student body for all students,” Calhoun said.
The Nashville native has a strong love for the Auburn Family himself, which is why he wants every student to feel included in the community.
As the child of two Auburn graduates, he originally didn’t want to follow his parents’ footsteps and go to Auburn. However, after touring several schools around the country, he was continually drawn back to the idea of the Auburn Family.
Sign up for our newsletter
Get The Plainsman straight to your inbox.
“With every other school that I went to, I kept comparing it to Auburn,” Calhoun said. “Auburn has always had this home feeling for me, and I really feel like that’s important for a college experience.”
According to Calhoun, his platform’s diversity component will strive to make every student feel welcome in the Auburn Family.
To do this, Calhoun would have SGA collaborate with the Black Student Union, International Student Organization, Spectrum and other campus organizations to promote a more diverse population within SGA cabinet and Student Senate. This would include appointing voting delegates from each organization to provide different points of view during Student Senate discussions.
This component of his platform stands out among past and present campaigns. There are currently 34 voters in the Senate, so Calhoun’s platform would add several votes to that.
Max Zinner, a master’s student and member of Spectrum, Auburn’s LGBT organization, noted that Calhoun’s ideas stand out among those they’ve seen on platforms since becoming an Auburn student in 2011.
“His particular goal of giving the organization (Spectrum) a vote in Senate is not something I have seen in a platform before,” Zinner said.
This initiative — diversity — is the first focus of his platform. Additionally, his platform focuses on efficiency and collaboration.
Calhoun wants to strive toward efficiency because he believes Auburn’s student population growth has not been well accommodated for when it comes to transportation, housing and facilities.
As a double major in marketing and Spanish international trade, Calhoun has noticed a lack of transportation opportunities within campus. To fix this, he wants to expand the War Eagle Bike Share program and speak with city officials to reignite discussions about bringing Bird or Lime scooters to campus.
“I have a class this year in Goodwin, and then I have a class 10 minutes later in Lowder, and it’s really difficult to navigate campus,” Calhoun said.
His last platform component focuses on collaboration within and outside of SGA. Calhoun would promote better communication internally between SGA cabinet and Senate and externally with student organizations like Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council and National Pan-Hellenic Council.
Overall, Calhoun’s campaign goal is to make Auburn’s campus a well-functioning and accommodating place for everyone.
“I would love ... each and every student to be a part of the Auburn Family,” Calhoun said.
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.Support The Plainsman