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SGA candidates pitch campaigns

Left: Daniel Elliot (‘23) and Ingrid Ryan (‘24), Photo by Jeremy Laplanche
Right: Akheem Mitchell (‘23) and Sendy Sejourne (‘23). Photo courtesy of campaign team

The Student Government Association (SGA) presidential and vice presidential candidate speeches took place on March 3 at 7 p.m. Below are the transcribed candidate speeches. 

Daniel Elliot (‘23) and Ingrid Ryan (‘24)

RYAN: My name is Ingrid Ryan, and I am a sophomore at Rollins. As my freshman year in 2020 began with a lack of connection on campus, I wanted to bring an environment that would help foster lasting friendships. I built that space during my time as SGA Events Chair, creating events like Homecoming Week that brought the campus back to life. This year I’m running for Vice President to help build back that sense of community. 

ELLIOT: And I’m Daniel Elliot, your current student body president. Right after I was elected last year, we got to work: hiring one of the most diverse and qualified teams and navigating a challenging year to deliver on campaign promises. Together, we built a coalition of students, faculty, and staff to bring about more positive change than any other administration in our history. 

I am running for reelection because there is so much more work to be done. The top priority of my administration this year has been to ensure that every student has a safe and inclusive experience at Rollins. We will continue to fight to make sure Rollins is truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive. No longer can we allow students of color to be tokenized. As an Asian student and a member of the LGBT community, and as a financially independent student, I know first-hand how hard it is for students of low-income backgrounds and marginalized communities to find their place at our school. Every single student deserves to feel perfectly at home on campus. And that starts with making our curriculum more inclusive, changing our marketing practices, and creating a diversity and inclusion competency. 

As President, I‘ll also continue working to achieve this through fair financial practices. I’ll fight for phased tuition and tuition freezes. I’ll fight for student access and input in the budget, and I’ll fight for every single student every single day. That’s what I’ve done the past three years and what I’ll continue to do when reelected. 

We’ll continue fighting for better housing and dining quality. This year my team and I toured Liz to review the poor living conditions first-hand and found that RLE needs to take an individualistic and compassionate approach to housing quality. 

RYAN: As a student with a life-threatening allergy, I see it as vital to push for more oversight in Dining Services so students with dietary restrictions don’t have to live in fear of allergy mislabelling. Because of our activism, we now have a kosher option available for students.

RYAN: As I mentioned before, connection on campus is one of our top priorities. It is paramount that we incorporate academic burnout into the conversation. There is a large disconnect between students and the school regarding mental health on campus. CAPS has struggled to accommodate students requiring these services. This needs complete reform and these resources should not go away with COVID-19. As this pandemic turns into an endemic, students have felt frustrated with inconsistent COVID-19 policies and a lack of clarity. We plan to ensure policy changes that don’t leave students left in the dark. Additionally, attendance policies do not accommodate students who are ill or have disabilities. And students aren’t the only ones struggling. Faculty, staff, and admin have had these lasting effects as well. We plan to focus on student faculty coalitions rooted in mutual understanding and combat this. 

We have made monumental strides with SGA’s relationship with administration. Now that we have built an outstanding rapport with them, we plan to represent the student voice to the fullest extent possible. This includes student representation on the Board of Trustees so our perspectives are given the elevation they deserve. 

Lastly, students need to have access to resources and education related to sexual assault, harrassment, and hate-based crimes. As we are discovering our passions and creating friendships, students’ safety should never be out of the question. We plan to address this by creating adequate resources for students alongside Title XI, the Lucy Cross Center, and the CICI. 

ELLIOT: A year ago, students voted overwhelmingly for change because they were tired of their voices not being heard. They voted for experienced leadership and trusted that we would bring about change, and under my leadership, we have. Over the past year, I organized town halls with administration members so that they could hear directly from our students, and I made SGA more accessible and more representative of the student body by creating the Student Organization Council. A year ago, I was begging the school for more input from the students. Now they are asking me for student representation, including 15 members across the DEI task forces and the residential life planning process. 

We made monumental changes on campus, but we can and will do so much more. We’ve made… Rollins needs proven and tested leadership to usher in a new era of student involvement. Thank you for your support and I hope to gain your vote. Thank you. 

Akheem Mitchell (‘23) and Sendy Sejourne (‘23)

MITCHELL: Greetings. I am Akheem Mitchell, a third-year majoring in political science and philosophy, with a minor in African American studies. I currently serve as your SGA vice president as well as Black Student Union (BSU) vice president. I’m also an RA in Cross Hall. 

SEJOURNE: Greetings. I am Sendy Sejourne, a third-year student majoring in health services leadership and management, with minors in communications, African American studies, and English. I currently serve as an associate justice on the judicial board. I’m the Health Promotions intern at the Wellness Center, a Wellness Ambassador, Academic Honor Council member, Student Care Services assistant for Student and Family Care, professional development chair for Rotaract, and Hamilton Holt Peer Mentor. Akheem and I get to stand before you and share the goals and aspirations of our campaign. Today, we hope that, at the end of our speeches, you vote Mitchell-Sejourne next week. 

MITCHELL: Before we get into our platform ideas, we want to start off with our slogan: Breaking Barriers and Building a Future. [..] So before this current administration with Daniel and I, the college was very much in a stagnant place. It was as if people wanted to create change, but they either a) didn’t know how to, or b) didn’t want to put the work into making a change. And with this administration with Daniel and I, we created tremendous strides. But it doesn’t end there. It’s time to take the next steps. 

SEJOURNE: And the next step begins with us. The central goal of the Mitchell-Sejourne administration is to place the voices of students first. That means that, as students, you are represented, welcome, and supported, not just in SGA, not just in your student organizations and clubs, but here, right here, on campus. 

MITCHELL: So how do we do that? We do that by planting seeds. See, what Rollins does right now is place flowers above the weeds. The weeds represent the broken things within this institution. But Sendy and I, we’re committed to pulling those weeds out and planting different seeds for Rollins to have a newfound foundation to stand upon.

SEJOURNE: While that garden analogy was beautiful and touching, Akheem, let’s dissect it and let’s talk about what it means to us as students. What are the weeds? The weeds are the lack of initiative when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion on this campus. The weeds are the lack of financial transparency between the college and students. The weeds are the lack of mental health advocacy and awareness and faculty seeing it as a priority for us as students. The weeds are student organizations not feeling represented on campus. 

MITCHELL: With Sendy and I’s administration, we are committed to have a plan that is…[unintelligible]. Because of longevity, we want this to enact for future generations of students. This is because we know, in order for real actual change to be implemented on campus, it has to take time to grow. The seeds that we are putting in place take time to grow. And that growth isn’t just within SGA. It’s across campus. And per our introductions, our resume speaks for themselves. We have the campus involvement to put you, the students, at the pillar of our administration. 

SEJOURNE: In the past weeks, we’ve spent time talking to different student organizations and students. We’ve been asking you to jot down some of your major student concerns and, because of you all, you brought up amazing suggestions and things that we couldn’t even think of ourselves. Which is why, again, you are the pillars of our administration. We will make sure you feel supported, welcomed, and feel at home. Making Rollins a community not just for us, but for you as well. We want your voices to be the pillars, the center stones, of our administration. Helping us break barriers—

MITCHELL: And build a future. We want to thank you all tonight for giving us a chance to convince you to vote next week for Mitchell and Sejourne for your SGA President and Vice President. We hope you have a good night. Thank you all.

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