Prior to the opening of the polls at 7 p.m. Monday, March 20, sophomore Nancy Haddad and junior Lauren Kreiss went head-to-head in the Student Association Presidential Debate.
Both candidates addressed what they thought were the most pressing issues on campus, while highlighting their platform, the need for more inclusion at SVSU and what could be done to make the university a more positive place for students.
Kreiss, a business management major and communication minor, opened the debate by explaining why she would the most appropriate choice for the role.
“As some of you may know, I am in Student Association right now,” she said. “I was a representative last year and this year I am the Public Information Officer. I am in many activities, such as Delta Sigma Pi, and I am in the College of Business and Management Student Advisory Council.”
Kreiss said she also played rugby, so she can take a hit, and she is running for Student Association President for the same reasons she attended SVSU.
“That reason is I just love this school,” she said. “I enjoy the many people I’ve met here and the many opportunities that have been provided to us as students.”
Haddad, a communication major and legal philosophy and political science double minor elaborated on her credentials and illustrated why she should be elected.
“At this point in my college career, I have been involved with many different organizations on campus,” Haddad said. “Just to name a few: I have been involved with Greek Life, Phi Sigma Sigma and I am also involved with Law Club. I am the vice president of that currently and have been a member for two years.”
In response to the question, “What is the best thing you’ve seen Student Association do for the SVSU community?”, Kreiss said it was hard for her to pick just one thing Student Association has accomplished.
“We’ve done multiple great things throughout the year,” she said. “Not only did we start this new Wi-Fi, but we spent $1 million on it at SVSU. And, we started a great Dow endowment specifically for SVSU students.”
She added, “But, if I had to choose, I would pick the bus route that is being implemented this weekend … Student Association has been collaborating with the Office of External Affairs to put on this new bus route system specifically for the weekend.”
Haddad explained that her outside perspective will benefit the Student Association, as she has never been a member of Student Association and is not a native of the United States.
“I was not born in America,” she said. “I was born in Jordan, which is a country in the Middle East, and aside from that, being a minority in the sense of my ethnicity and my nationality, I am an Orthodox Christian, which is not a very well-known religion in America and in my native land of Jordan.”
She also said that evidence of racial tensions exists on the SVSU I’M BOSS Facebook page, so racial barriers still need to be brought down for the benefit of the campus community.
“I am championing the minority,” she said. “I am here to address those (racial tensions). That’s my main motivation for running for this position.”
Kreiss said she wants to shift the focus of Student Association from being internal to external by collaborating with RSOs.
“I can do this by focusing on volunteering, focusing on campus events and just overall having mixers with RSOs,” she said. “By being able to know what the concerns on-campus are through having mixers and being more external, we can help the students in general.”
Haddad responded to the same question by drawing attention to RSOs’ ability to create leaders.
“Student Association is a little different from that in the sense that, though mixers are great, I would like to see the Student Association be a governing body,” she said. “By that, I mean they can use their budget to allocate money to help the advancement of people’s leadership skills on-campus.”
Chair of S-PAC Coalition Hunter Koch said he thought the debate went well and addressed voting during campus elections.
“I think it is important,” he said. “It is one of our foundational Democratic rights in America to vote, and voting in student government elections is no different. I mean, these are the people that represent you and it’s definitely paramount to get out there and vote while also taking a deep look at the candidates and what they stand for.”
During the debate, both candidate went over their platforms.
Kreiss’s is a three-point plan that entails expanding the bus line, getting future election days off, and ensuring Student Association is more external; Haddad’s platform focused on making SA more inclusive, limiting textbook cost, and assisting students with on-campus grievances.
After the debate, both Kreiss and Haddad said they were happy with the debate experience and are looking forward to the results.
“I think it went really well,” Kreiss said. “As I stated before, I was excited to hear Nancy’s platforms, her ideas, and I think keeping an open mind is a great benefit to a debate while understanding why you are running. Overall, I think we both have great ideas.”
Haddad shared similar sentiments.
“I think the debate went really well, and I think Lauren had really great platform points,” she said. “The most exciting part was seeing so many people come to this debate, because in that past it hasn’t been very many.”
Vote at voting.svsu.edu.