SGA Election: Meet the presidential candidates

The SGA presidential candidates share their platforms and vision for 2022-2023.

Caleb Jonker, News Editor

The Student Government Association holds elections every year to appoint the president and vice president as well as senators for the following year. This year marks Biola’s first in-person election since 2020.

In the presidential campaign, two teams will appear on the ballot—Richard Villarreal and Rudy Torres opposed by Christie Macris and Andrew Cantelmi. The Chimes spoke with both campaigns about their platforms and goals for the next academic school year. 

MEET THE CANDIDATES

Richard Villarreal is a junior political science major who is running for SGA president alongside Rudy Torres, a junior political science major, running for SGA vice president. Villarreal and Torres are both FirstGen students, and worked various jobs within SGA. Currently, Villareal is the senator for Stewart Hall and Torres represents the Block.

Christie Macris is a junior public relations major running for SGA president with junior psychology major Andrew Cantelmi as her running mate. Macris grew up in Greece and is currently serving as the Hope Hall senator, while Cantelmi serves as the Sigma Hall senator.

VILLARREAL-TORRES

The Villarreal-Torres campaign is focused on students, specifically celebrating the diversity of Biola’s students.

“We think that more SGA funding should go to FirstGen and [Student Enrichment and Intercultural Development], celebrating Biblical diversity is really important to us,” Villarreal said. 

Villarreal expressed the importance of creating communities for FirstGen students, reflecting on his own experience. 

“I’ve had to go through the journey of figuring out how to do this whole college thing on my own, and that’s been hard and overwhelming,” Villarreal said. “There’s resources on this campus that can help you on that journey, I just want more students to know about that.”

Torres explained that their campaign slogan is, “We want to put Biolans first.”

For Villarreal, this means hearing students when they come to SGA meetings, but also pursuing the student perspective.

MACRIS-CANTELMI

Student needs are also central to the Macris and Cantelmi campaign. Among their main concerns are global students. Macris explained that they want SGA to amplify voices of the disabled community on campus. Additionally, she believes that campus-wide events like Nationball are a great way to unite the campus. Their campaign hopes to raise the frequency of involvement fairs, giving students more opportunities to join clubs across campus.

Cantelmi added that their campaign hopes to optimize some of Biola’s systems. Rather than leaving money to roll over from semester to semester, Cantelmi suggested using that money to improve student experiences. 

Macris acknowledged that one of their campaign promises, to improve the Caf, is slightly outside of their immediate control. Macris explained that they want to advocate for student requests, even if some of the things they want are outside of their control.

CAMPAIGN CHALLENGES

Both teams had to overcome obstacles in their respective campaigns. 

Macris explained that their biggest learning curve was the campaigning itself, especially after a year of virtual elections. 

“We really felt kind of blind about it. Like we knew we could do posters or chalk the ground, but we didn’t really have a lot of other information as to what a good campaign strategy would be,” Macris said. 

For the Villarreal-Torres campaign, obstacles have been more tangible. Torres explained that because of a print shop back-up, the team was a day behind in putting out posters. Villareal reported that they were going to start going to students directly, moving door to door to spread their campaign message.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Macris explained that their team has been having fun in the campaign process. 

“We’ve had a lot of fun doing it and we’ve had to not take ourselves too seriously,” Macris said. “We’re going to be running an honest campaign where we, you know, talk about our values, but also just have fun with it and be approachable.”

Macris added that for herself and Cantelmi, it is not about boosting their resumes but about seeing Biola, a place they love, thrive.

In his interview, Villarreal shared a similar sentiment.

“It’s not about electing me or Rudy,” Villarreal explained. “Even if I lose, let’s get behind Christie and Andrew because it’s not about the campaign, it’s about the school.”

 

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