SGA Election Candidate Spotlight: Rayann Atway and Ernie Barkett

By Morgan Petronelli 

The Jambar had a discussion with the Student Government Association president and executive vice president candidates, to get to know them and their campaign’s platform better before voting ends on April 6. To vote, go to “Student Organizations” in the YSU Portal, or visit the first floor of Kilcawley. erniebark

Q: What kind of people are you and what are you involved in?

Atway: Besides SGA, I am involved with the Honors College, the American Medical Student Association, and Alpha Epsilon Delta. These organizations have contributed to my overall growth as a leader and individual.

Barkett: I have really enjoyed being a part of College Democrats, Sigma Tau Gamma, and music ensembles at YSU. Although I hope to attend medical school, I love politics and made it a priority of mine to get involved with a multitude of campaigns over the last three years.

Q: What kind of leaders do you describe yourselves as?

Atway: Without a doubt, I most identify as a servant leader. It has always been a passion of mine to serve others and to motivate other leaders. This is one of the biggest reasons I am running for this position. I believe as President, I will be able to best serve the students at YSU. I want to hear all students’ concerns and actively convey their feedback and ideas to SGA. Without the students’ voices, SGA has nothing to work off of.

Barkett: I would consider myself more of a hands on leader. I have always enjoyed working with others, especially when we are all trying to achieve a similar goal. I always want to hear from others and try to focus on combining common ideas into a useful plan or initiative.

Q: Why do you think you’d be a better president and VP of SGA?

Atway: Ernie and I are the best choice for president and VP of SGA because we have the most experience out of the two tickets running. Ernie has served on SGA for a year and the Academic Senate for an additional year. I have been on SGA for 3 years and have served on the executive board for 2 years.

Q: What kinds of things would you like to see change around the university?

Atway: I would love to see the SGA food pantry grow in size. The amount of donations we are constantly receiving is so wonderful, but we really need a bigger space for them. There is an obvious demand for the services the food pantry has to offer, which is why I think it is necessary to expand.

Barkett: I would want to see an easier access to affordable textbooks at the university. Especially with the opening of our new bookstore, it is important that we give students more affordable alternative options. I would also like to see a non-partisan voter registration effort across campus for students, incoming freshmen included.

Q: What do you wish to accomplish in your time as SGA president and VP?

Atway: Overall, we would like to see YSU become a more inclusive campus. The current administration has worked tirelessly to start an Inclusion and Awareness Ad HOC Committee and we both would like to see this develop into a permanent, standing committee. In addition, by having the opportunity to speak with many student groups, we have seen there is a recurring theme that students would like to see dining options on campus stay open later. This is something we will bring up to Chartwells to ensure students with later classes have places to eat open when they get out of class.

Q: Why should people vote for you?

Atway: People should cast their ballots for us because we will be bringing great ideas to SGA, as well as the experience and knowledge to get them done. We have both known each other for years and work extremely well together. It is necessary for the SGA president and VP have a good, working relationship, as they will be working in a team environment along with the other executive board members.