Ryan Waddell and Dustin Dorph are running for SGA president. Waddell, a junior political science major, is on the ticket wtih vice presidential candidate Caroline Gimenez. Dustin Dorph, a junior civil engineering major, is on the ticket with Anjelica Smith. Both spoke with the Collegiate Times to discuss what they could bring to the table as president.
Collegiate Times: What do you think is the biggest issue at Virginia Tech? And how would you go about fixing it?
In my opinion, the biggest issue at Virginia Tech is communication between administrators and students. With all the construction and everything that's going on around campus, I feel many students feel disconnected and are unaware of how beneficial the many new and innovative changes to the Tech campus may be to their education.
Student government, in my opinion, should be a bridge in this communication gap between administrators and students. To fix this issue, it would be a goal of my administration to show the student body how accessible its administrators are, contrary to popular belief. Amplifying the student voice to the administrators and better relaying to the students various positions of different administrators requires better student outreach. Having an informed student population will bring an improved sense of community, and will foster trust between students and the administration.
The biggest issue at Tech is the lack of cohesion among student groups. There are many different student organizations on campus, but it seems like there is little to no collaboration among them. I’d like to be the first to communicate with organizations to establish a connection between them and the SGA. An important part of my leadership style is embracing the idea of community and collaborating with other organizations by direct communication.
CT: What issues would you like to address in the coming year?
I would focus on improving student outreach, lobbying on behalf of higher education and enriching educational opportunities made available to students to better prepare them to enter the workforce or pursue graduate study.
As outlined in our platform, there are four main areas I would like to focus on during the coming year — student life, diversity and inclusion, community partnerships and the internal workings of SGA. For student life, I am interested in collaborating with various university departments and organizations to revamp the “Hokie Hi!” program for incoming freshmen.
I also would like to meet with organizations promoting diversity on campus to hear their perspective about diversity at Virginia Tech and discuss some possible solutions to improve it. Community partnerships are something I am very interested in pursuing to not only strengthen the SGA, but also our community. Finally, my vice presidential candidate, Anjelica Smith, is determined to improve the executive branch of the SGA. We plan on re-energizing the organization with my outside leadership experience and her internal executive experience.
CT: If elected as SGA president next year, what would you like to see accomplished at Tech during your term?
If elected president, I would like to reach a level of transparency between students and administrators that right now does not exist. I want administrators to know what the students really want and what they need to facilitate success at this university and into the future. At the same time, I want students to see that administrators are hearing the student voice and are indeed taking steps to avail students the best education their tuition dollars can afford. To accomplish this, student outreach needs to be vastly improved, and the interaction and collaboration between student government and the administration must intensify.
One of the biggest things I would like to accomplish during my term would be to coordinate a major event on campus by collaborating with other student organizations willing to share monetary resources and event-planning abilities. A major event would be a prominent artist or comedian coming to Virginia Tech for a performance. Throughout my term, I would like to see the SGA return to a prominent position on campus. Although it is difficult to measure the success of, I would like to make a major marketing push.
CT: What would your ultimate goal as SGA president be?
At the end of the day, the university is here because of so many talented students. Facilitating their educational experience is the best way for them to invent the future. My ultimate goal is to reinvent student government's role into one of a fiduciary that utilizes its connections, resources and influence to make a student's transition from the classroom into the real world as convenient, comfortable and efficient as possible.