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A spirit that is not afraid

SGA candidates take the stage for candidate debate

Auburn SGA kicked off the 2023 election in the Quad at 3:00 p.m. on Jan. 31. Dozens of supporters cheered for their favorite candidate as they briefly announced their platforms from the overlooking patio.

According to Coleman Turnipseed, the incumbent SGA vice president, candidates will spend the next day handing out election swag and spreading their message across campus. However, candidates completed most of the work in the weeks leading into the campaign.

"Everything is done. The stressful parts are done. Now it's about actually getting everything implemented, which is so fun,” Turnipseed said.

Later that evening, SGA held the annual debate for major candidates at 5:00 p.m. in the Student Activities Center. 

The debate allowed the candidates to discuss their platforms and answer questions from students and SGA members. 

Ryan Hall and J.D. Jones are the two candidates running for SGA president. They both offered insight into their platforms and intentions as potential leaders.

Hall was the first to speak, and he elaborated on “an inclusive student experience, unmatched tradition and shared governance,” which are the three main focuses of his platform.

"What all this means is pursuing initiatives that really are geared up to keeping students active on campus and even in creating something new worth passing down to the next generation,” Hall said.

Jones followed with his platform, prefacing that he was running because he had the opportunity to attend Auburn athletic events as a child, which forged a sense of family and tradition.

“My platform is set up to serve the Auburn family, both old and new, through just beginning, just belonging and just believing,” Jones said.

In the first question, current SGA President Jake Haston, who moderated the event, asked Hall to elaborate on specific projects or goals Hall was looking forward to accomplishing in his first term if elected president.

Hall defaulted to his platform, emphasizing his effort to craft new traditions for future generations. 

“I think that being able to stand alongside your fellow Auburn man or woman is really, really important,” Hall said. “We can really work together to create something that we're proud of and something that really marks this generation of Auburn students.”

Jones explained how he is interested in collaborating with University leadership to shape the campus for years to come. 

“Students want to be at Auburn and love our campus, and so working with the Board of Trustees to determine our admissions focus over the next five, ten, 20 years,” Jones said.

In his closing remarks, Hall elaborated on his vision for the SGA presidency if elected.

“The role of SGA president is a position to serve, not one to win,” Hall said.

Jones closed with a quote from former University President Luther Duncan to the graduating class of 1936, where Duncan discussed that the traditions at Auburn had “meaning to students and faculty” that become stronger through time.

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Julianne Lozano is running uncontested for vice president. Lozano wants to inspire the student body to engage with the SGA so they can better serve their constituencies.

“My goal is to make every student feel like they are represented by SGA and ensure that we are using our platform to amplify your voice specifically centered around the Senate,” Lozano said. “I want to promote an inclusive experience by facilitating legislation that will benefit every individual on campus.”

Ashton Dickinson, Jacob Saavedra and Vincent Indovina are the three candidates running for treasurer.

During his platform discussion, Dickinson stated how he intends to use the position to communicate the University's financial and student aid resources and ensure students receive information to prepare themselves better financially. 

“I'm focusing on bringing more awareness to financial literacy across Auburn's campus, providing more transparency for all financial services and programs offered by the university and advocating for each and every student here at Auburn,” Dickinson said.

Saavedra, also running on a platform for enhancing financial literacy, wants to help students overcome the financial burden of their education.

“Financial literacy should never be a problem, and we should always work on personal finances,” Saavedra said.

Indovina, the last candidate of the evening to speak, discussed how he will use the office, if elected, to make Auburn a better educational experience by focusing on the specific needs of the student body.

“Investing is when you put your trust in something, it's when you put something in because you know you'll get more out than you started with,” Indovina said. “That's what I want to do for you, and that's what I want to do for Auburn. I want to deliver for you every day and invest in what you need.”

Campaigning will occur on the concourse until election day when voters decide their next SGA president, vice president, treasurer and Miss Auburn. Voting for SGA will begin this Friday, Feb. 3, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on AU Access.

Audrey Kent | News Writer

Audrey Kent, junior in creative writing, is a news writer for The Auburn Plainsman.

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