Presidential candidates discuss plans for next year

UNA students will choose between junior public relations major Will Riley and junior history major William Nash for the Student Government Association presidential seat during elections March 12 to 14.

Riley—who served as a member of freshman forum’s social service committee, a University Program Council live acts delegate and public relations chairman and currently as vice president for UPC—said he thinks students are the most important part of universities.

“We are a student-led university with faculty and staff support,” he said. “I am a big supporter of student empowerment. I believe the students can’t be taught enough about that.”

Riley said he has several concrete goals for next year if the students elect him as president.

“My platform consists of three key words: conserve, coordinate, communicate,” he said. “One of my main goals is to get UNA to go paperless like some of the larger schools in the state.

“I plan to work with the business office to have refund checks directly deposited, and I want to attempt to make all applications online.”

“Communicate” will be defined by SGA-student interaction, Riley said.

“I want the students to feel like they are a part of SGA without having to attend meetings,” he said. “I want to do biweekly videos and social media forums to keep the student body connected to SGA.”

Riley said he wants the different branches of student government to work well together to accomplish their goals.

“I want to continue to coordinate with the different branches and continue the unification we have undergone this year,” he said.

Riley will focus on getting the word out when it come to the Division I move, he said.

“I want to maintain the vision of possibly moving to D-I,” he said. “I want SGA to push for more education to inform students about the move.”

Riley said he believes he brings a lot to the table as a presidential candidate.

“My experience can be used to its advantage,” he said. “I have worked with the programming side with UPC and have a knowledge of the senate side.”

Nash—a transfer student and U.S. Army Reserve soldier who served as an SGA senator and chairman of the information and communication committee—said his campaign is about raising awareness of the issues.

“I want to focus on what we’re doing right and work on fixing what we’re not doing right,” he said.

A big issue is veterans affairs, Nash said.

“As a soldier, I am passionate about veterans affairs,” he said. “Last year, I formed an ad-hoc committee that helped set up the Military Veterans Alliance. I believe in serving those who have served you.

“I’d love to get a veterans center and a real Veterans Affairs representative on campus.”

Another area Nash wants to focus on if he is elected is disability support, he said. Nash said he has been talking to senate and other campus groups about this topic.

“I knew of a blind student who had to transfer because we didn’t have enough railing on campus,” he said. “To me, that’s wrong.”

Nash said he will continue to work on campus beautification if he is elected.

“Our campus has a traditional feel,” he said. “The better the campus looks, the more students we attract. I want us to continue to grow.”

He said he opposed a move for an informational kiosk to be placed centrally on campus because he thought it would be an eyesore. Instead, he said he suggested the flat-screen televisions in the process of being placed on campus that stream information to students, faculty and staff.

Lowering book costs is a focus of Nash’s campaign, he said.

“I want to find out what SGA can do to lower book costs,” he said. “I’ve talked to the off-campus bookstore about the Adopt-A-Book program, which would help a lot.”

Nash said he wants to make sure UNA is on the right track regarding D-I.

“I am personally opposed to D-I,” he said. “But—as the next president—I would make sure we’re doing the right things to be on track even though we weren’t ready to go that way.”

Overall, Nash’s campaign is about students working together to continue to make UNA a better place to go to school, he said.

“I believe in working with others toward common goals,” he said. “I don’t care what group you come from or what belief you hold. Together, we can all build a stronger pride.”