By Laura McDonough
A debate between two parties running for Youngstown State University Student Government Association president and vice president was held Thursday in The Hub in Kilcawley Center.
The participating candidates were Ernie Barkett and Caroline Smith versus Logan Barna and Samantha Heestand. The debate was moderated by Eddie Howard, vice president of student affairs.
Barkett, a senior, is running for SGA president. He is the current vice president of SGA, previously serving as a freshman representative and a senator. He plans to remain at YSU next year to complete a master’s degree in economics.
Smith, a junior, is running for SGA vice president with Barkett. She has served for two years on the academic affairs committee and is now the chair.
Barna, a sophomore, is running for president. He is not in SGA but served as a Beeghly College representative his freshman year. He is a part of the Emerging Leaders program.
Heestand, a sophomore, is running for vice president. She is not a member of SGA.
Barkett and Smith are running on a platform of dining, parking and advisement. Barna and Heestand are running on a platform of climate control, school security and parking.
The debate began with Howard asking a series of questions before opening to student questions.
Barna said he wants to pursue the presidency because he feels there are many issues students have that go unaddressed or candidates plan to take on those issues but don’t get to it during their term.
“I’m running because I am really passionate about tackling those issues,” Barna said. “Parking is our number one concern, with addition to school security.”
He said those are the top two areas he and Heestand would like to see YSU implement changes to.
“At the end of the day it is all about the students,” Barna said. “We feel that it would best serve the students that way because parking is the number one concern that we hear from every student that we’ve talked to.”
Heestand said she is running for vice president for most of the same reasons.
“I see a lot of issues that go unresolved, and I think that it would be nice to come together with the students and be able to talk about those issues,” Heestand said. “I just hope that if we were elected, you guys would hold us accountable for that, so that we can help you guys to make this the best campus possible.”
Barkett said he decided to run for president because he believes continuity needs to continue in SGA.
“One year in an academic term is a very short period of time,” Barkett said.
For example, Barkett said SGA brought the idea of fall break to the provost in early October. He said it took until about three weeks ago to collaborate with everyone to pass it.
“Another thing that we’re really interested in this year is a grocery store we’re trying to get funding for in Kilcawley Center,” Barkett said. “That’s something we’ve been working on for three or four months now, and we just passed our first level of getting that cleared by a budget advisory committee.”
Barkett said it is all about continuity.
“Since one year is a very short period of time, I think having a second year while bringing in new people would be great to make more progress at YSU, while also continuing all the good projects we started last year and seeing them be completed,” Barkett said.
Smith said she wanted to run for vice president because she believes she and Barkett are a highly qualified team.
“We’ve served in student government for a really long time now, and we know what it takes to get things done quickly and to get done efficiently,” Smith said.
Additionally, she said she is passionate about the student body.
“I love being here at YSU, I love the community and I really love student government,” Smith said. “Based on my service and time at YSU, I think that Ernie and I would really make a great team to advance a lot of our goals.”
If you would like to see the debate, check out the live stream from the YSU SGA Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/ysusga/videos/10157186370543222/
Voting for YSU SGA president and vice president is open April 3 and 4.
How to vote:
- Log in to the YSU Portal.
- Under “e-services for Students” column, click on “Student Organizations.”
- A new tab will appear. On the home screen, scroll down to the “polls’ column (on the right hand of your screen).
- Follow the instructions to cast your vote and click “Submit.” You will only be able to vote once.