Why you should pay attention to the SGA election: A talk with the all-female ticket running for office
There are many things that go on behind the scenes at UNC Charlotte and the Student Government Association has a hand in many of them. Most students do not realize the impact that SGA has, but the organization votes on issues such as transportation on campus, residence and dining halls and even how the library runs.
Jessie Puffer and Amber Creft are both current members of the SGA who have seen the organization make many changes on campus. Puffer is the current executive internal affairs secretary and Creft is the senator of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
“Even things that we may see as small make the biggest impact in the end,” Puffer said. “Students are able to give their input and participate in things and it changes their overall experience at the university and SGA is the liaison for that happening.”
“We really are the liaison between administration and students,” Creft said. “The Chancellor comes out to speak to us, as well as the Provost and the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs. So we really are the direct voice when students want to make changes. We get the students’ feedback and then the administration gets our feedback.”
Puffer constantly stresses the importance of students going to vote. She said every student should do research on the candidates and vote because the election will determine how the next academic year will be, as it effects everything for how classes are run to dining.
“SGA does a lot for the students,” Creft said. “Every week new organizations are approved and legislation is constantly being passed. Taking on part of the Belk Forum was SGA’s doing, we made sure that students were able to give feedback about what they wanted to see when the Belk Tower was removed. We deal with academic affairs and the advising system. If there is something that needs to be changed within that such as the withdrawal policy or the grade replacement policy that is something SGA is able to make a difference in.”
Puffer describes one of her favorite experiences as Secretary of Internal Affairs was sitting on the campus accessibilities organization. The goal of this organization is to figure out how to make UNC Charlotte’s main campus and Center City campus accessible to every student, addressing any type of safety or assistance need.
“We got to do a safety walk where we flagged all of the lights on campus that did not work, and flag areas on campus that are slippery or need to be fixed for safety,” Puffer said. We get to adjust the face of campus and the inner workings of campus.”
Puffer and Creft said one goal that they have is to gain as much community support as possible for the University. “Now that we are growing and becoming established, I think students want to see UNC Charlotte be that image in the community,” Puffer said. Creft said fostering tradition is important and making sure people know of the traditions that UNC Charlotte has.
Both Puffer and Creft are very passionate about the importance of the SGA and the difference it makes for students. They are hoping to take on new leadership roles and take their responsibilities to the next level. Puffer is running for Student Body President and Creft as Vice President. There has not been a female President in many years, and there has never been a female President and Vice President team.
“I feel that we may be the underdog in some sense because we are two women, but that doesn’t mean we are not able to do what we need to do,” said Creft. “We both have the mindset that women can do anything.”
Puffer and Creft said they want to build a cabinet that has a lot of diversity and reflects the student population. “If we can’t empathize with a situation, we want someone on or cabinet that can sympathize with the situation and help the student out with the challenge no matter what it is,” Puffer said.
“In general I don’t think the gender of a president is important, I think how they do their job and view the role as the voice of the students is the most important part of their job.”
“My main goal is to voice all of the main concerns and opinions,” Puffer said. “Whatever the students need, I want to take that to the administrations and student committees and make it happen. If students have the chance to be heard and say what they need to say then I think we will have done our job.”