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The Chimes

The Student News Site of Biola University

The Chimes

The Student News Site of Biola University

The Chimes

Meet the candidates

Student government candidates talk and answer questions at SGA Elections Night.
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Olivia Kam
SGA holds the first SGA Election Night.

It is election season for Biola. On Feb. 2, the Student Government Association (SGA) held its first-ever event called SGA Elections Night where students running to be senators of their respective dorms or to represent commuters and presidential candidates spoke about their goals and vision for the 2024-25 academic year. 

The event began with a time for students to visit each candidate’s tables set up in the Andrews Banquet Room to ask questions and learn more about them and their mission. The current SGA President Iziphozonke Mlambo introduced each student running for their respective office.

JACQUELINE MCCAUSLIN, ISAHI MINERO AND ISAIAH SWASEY RUN FOR SGA PRESIDENT

Sophomore political science major and philosophy minor Jacqueline McCauslin talked about her experience in student government positions along with her running mate, junior theater major Andrew Ambrose. In high school, they worked together with McCauslin as president and Ambrose as vice president for the National Honor Society at their school. 

She noted that one area where her campaign is distinguished from other candidates is her vision to introduce a leadership program that would attract students to Biola, make it easier to network and obtain scholarships, and bring more money into SGA that could be used to fund proposals for the benefit of Biola students. 

Other goals as president would include standardizing communication on campus so students could easily be notified of events and happenings around campus, SGA scholarships, cheaper meal plans for commuters and working to spread awareness about proposals at SGA. 

McCauslin said, “We want to make people more aware that you can propose things in SGA. We want to work with the leaders of minority groups on campus, as well as the affinity groups… and make sure that all of the leaders of these affinity groups know how to make proposals so that they and their community can help get resources from SGA.”

Isahi Minero, a political science major and a Spanish minor, is another presidential candidate but does not have a running mate. He opened by acknowledging the opposing candidates as people of integrity who love Biola. He highlighted his background and experience as a political science major, the Commuter senator for the 2023-24 academic year, as well as working with other organizations and groups on campus. Minero noted that he wants SGA to provide senators with ample resources to have their proposals become reality for the benefit of Biola students. He also included remarks about being transparent and working on bridging the gap between upper administration and students and advocated for better financial decisions within SGA. 

Minero said, “We have to cut down on spending in areas where it’s not wise and invest in areas where it’s a necessity and it’s wise to do so. I think the presidency is in a unique position because it spearheads a lot of these initiatives and it’s able to bring forth a vision for us that is influential and it goes down all the tiers down to the various senators who are actually at the forefront of the communication and the advocacy and the relationship between university and student.”

Junior cinema and media arts major Isaiah Swasey revealed that running for SGA president has been difficult. He heard that some people were talking about how he was only running because he is disabled and wanted to become more involved. 

His running mate Zurisaday Arreola a political science major and sociology minor said, “A large part of it [being SGA president] is like being vocal. Isaiah has a large amount of history and experience with being vocal because that was kind of the nature of his position before when he was the Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator for SGA.”

Swasey revealed that he decided to run for SGA president because he believes that there is still good to be done. 

Swasey said, “What we can promise though, is two things. Number one, and we’ve already mentioned this a couple times, but the SGA scholarship.”

He went on to emphasize his desire to have clear communication between upper administration and Biola students as well as his role in that process.

Swasey said, “I want to work with the upper admin to provide more spaces and more opportunities for them to come and talk to you as students because I’m one person, and yes it will be my job to speak for all of you.”

After the presidential candidates spoke, there was a session of questions and answers moderated by SGA President Mlambo where they explained their various goals in depth, explored hypothetical situations, and discussed their spiritual growth as people in the past semester. 

MATTHEW GARCIA RUNS FOR BLACKSTONE SENATOR

Matthew Garcia, a Bible, theology, and ministry major shared his hope for Blackstone Hall. He emphasized the importance of community within the dorm and promised to push for more activities encouraging residents to interact with one another. He also stated his goal in the position of Blackstone senator.

Garcia said, “My campaign platform consists of fighting for the needs and wants of all of Blackstone.”

He talked about some problems with the Blackstone facilities that he hopes to fix such as flickering lights and the elevators in the dorm that often break down.

KIARA RASCON RUNS FOR COMMUTER SENATOR

Kiara Rascon is a commuter and a political science major who wants to represent fellow commuters as one of their senators. She noted how it is difficult for commuters to feel like a part of the Biola community. 

Rascon said, “I remember when I was a freshman. I really wanted to be dorming and I thought, you know, that’s the only way to really feel like you’re part of the community.”

Her vision is to help students, whether they are commuters or not, to be aware of events and opportunities at Biola to foster community.

Rascon said, “My goal for this upcoming year is to make sure that I am able to properly represent everyone and I want to be that person that you feel comfortable just walking up to me and telling me, ‘Hey, you know, as a commuter, this is something that’s really heavy on my heart.’”

AUSTIN ROHM RUNS FOR HART SENATOR

The next candidate introduced was Austin Rohm, a freshman English major. He highlighted the importance of keeping God first in everything, especially SGA. He also emphasized that his role as Hart Hall’s senator is to serve students.

Rohm said, “We can make financial decisions that are going to be amazing for the campus and all, but if they’re not centered in what we want to do for students and students alone, why are we making them?” 

EVAN THOMPSON RUNS FOR SIGMA SENATOR

Freshman political science major Evan Thompson shared his personal experience dealing with administration in the field of education. He talked about being stuck in mediocrity and how he wants to make Sigma Hall into a better if not the best dorm on campus. 

Thompson said, “My experience with how to interact on a first-hand basis with students, in educational environments, especially dealing with administration, and overall in being a helper and a mentor to freshmen, is one of the reasons I want to stay at Sigma. Even though it’s the most mediocre dorm, I want to help it reach new heights.”

KAITLYN STETZER AND JACOB COHEN RUN FOR HOPE SENATOR

With two students vying for the opportunity to represent Hope Hall as its senator, both sophomore psychology major Kaitlyn Stetzer and sophomore business administration major Jacob Cohen focused on different goals, but the common theme throughout the SGA Elections Night was that of community. 

Stetzer outlined the ways she plans to improve Hope Hall. 

Stetzer said, “I believe that I can make real change in Hope, and here’s how I’m going to do it: First and foremost, I would like to have direct and constant communication with resident advisors and resident directors… Secondly, I intend to renovate communal spaces, specifically the kitchen in Hope.”

She also noted that she wants to update communal space electronics all to build and encourage community. 

Cohen pledged his dedication to the community with SGA hour and the promise of a dropbox where students can bring their grievances. 

Cohen also said, “I’m fully committed to fostering a stronger bond between Hope and SGA. Senators fill a unique role on campus and if elected, I would strive to both be an advocate and a friend; someone who can represent Hope’s interests and someone you can be genuine to and talk with.”

He also promised to advocate for furniture and appliance upgrades and his vision for SGA’s financial reform. 

VOTING INFORMATION

Students will be able to vote from Feb. 5 to Feb. 7 in the Student Union Building (SUB) and the Library from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The location changed from the Bell Tower to the SUB due to the rainy weather forecast for the majority of the election days.

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About the Contributor
Olivia Kam
Olivia Kam, News Editor
Olivia Kam is a sophomore English major with a concentration in literature who loves music, matcha, volleyball, and going to the beach.
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