For his experience as the student leader of one of the University’s divisions, dedication to student concerns and fresh perspective on student government, the Wheel endorses outgoing Oxford Student Government President Sam Skardon for SGA vice president.
Skardon was responsible for a number of improvements both to Oxford’s SGA and Oxford’s campus. His administration streamlined Oxford’s budget, redirecting more than $15,000 to student groups by negotiating with the administration to split the cost of Oxford’s yearbook. He also showed his willingness to respond to the needs of his constituents by working on even the little projects, such as providing more water fountains, or securing an information kiosk at Oxford’s student center. He also boosted the visibility of SGA on Oxford’s campus. Under his term, the number of Oxford SGA office-seekers rose from eight the previous year to 21 this year.
While his relative lack of experience on the Atlanta campus doesn’t help him, we don’t think that continuing from Oxford should serve as a kiss of death to any candidate. Skardon already has a head start building the relationships necessary to be a good vice president: He got to know the divisional presidents and other officials through monthly meetings with current SGA President Emily Allen. Skardon knows firsthand the benefits of bringing the divisions of student government together, but he also knows that in order to get students involved, SGA has to start doing things that benefit them.
Although current sophomore representative Alex Kappus does have more experience operating within the inner workings of the University’s SGA, we question his willingness to work against the status quo of student government. His experience seems tilted toward participating in commissions before the administration on behalf of SGA, not necessarily responding directly to student concerns. We applaud his work on the search for a new mail provider, but we’re not convinced his safe-ride dispatch program is the best solution to the issue of late-night transportation. We’re also concerned about his focus on making internal changes to SGA. Students don’t care about the way SGA works; they care about what SGA can do for them.
We, like Skardon, are of the opinion that the best way for SGA to come together internally is to refocus the organization on doing its job: providing tangible results to better life for the student body.
The new SGA vice president must realize that doing so is the best way to maintain morale, stop the student body’s disillusionment with student government and bring more people into the organization. We believe Sam Skardon is the candidate to make these changes happen.