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Conversations with presidential candidates: Shay’na Fields

How do you unify a school that is made of commuters and has six campuses?

This is the question SGA presidential candidate Shay’na Fields hopes to tackle in her term. Her answer?

“We have to find the differences and link them,” Fields said. “Establishing a commonality … bridging the gap between organizations that may do the same thing or have the same initiatives, [but] they just don’t know each other.”

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Fields said that students on the other campuses say they feel like they are the stepchild. She thinks too often there are events that aren’t inclusive to Perimeter campus students or even marketed and promoted, inviting them to join and she plans to change that with more on campus events.

Fields’ platform includes the frequent mention of event hosting, which she says is intentional, for creating a campus culture.

“It is a big priority because it’s the thing I’m hearing the most,” she said. “The first thing I ask students is, ‘If there was one thing you could change on campus what would it be?’ [and they say] ‘We have no school spirit.’”

Fields’ wants to put Georgia State on the map, not just someone’s last option because she believes, “We have prestige … We have what it takes and we need to be seen as such.”

However, she does think that Georgia State is lacking in some areas: specifically safety. She wants to see an increased police presence on campus, specifically in the evening hours when it’s getting dark but students are start on campus.

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But will Fields stand up to university administration and demand improvement if this is out of her control?

“If they tell me they can’t do that, then I’m still going to ask them, ‘Ok, what can you do?’” she said.

If this route fails, she plans to implement a petition.

“I asked some students [who were concerned about safety], ‘Have you started a petition? With hundreds of signatures saying I don’t feel safe on my campus?’” she said. “That’s a slap right in the face to that administration.”

She also hopes to bring more attention to human trafficking in the downtown area and rape culture on campus.

“Rape culture is a thing and it should not be ignored,” She said. ‘You can often get lost in that conversation but I will bring it back to the forefront because I’ve seen it too many times and it’s been swept under the rug too many times.”

Just like her work with Operation 50 Speaks, a nonprofit she started to increase young adults involvement in local government, Fields last platform, “activate change,” plans to increase student engagement with SGA through a similar format as her unification platform.

Fields finds her inspiration in her mother, who never let her feel like she needed a father in her single parent household. She taught Fields to value diversity and has raised her to be proud of who she is.

“It has caused me to become almost fearless in front of people,” she said.

She hopes to be president that embodies creativity and servitude that inspires students everyday. She doesn’t think her lack of SGA experience disqualify her from taking the position.

“It’s another leadership position, just like in business everything’s the same format,” she said. “Know how leadership works and how to put people in a place where they are good at what they are doing.”

If she loses the election, however, she still would like to be a part of SGA, likely through a vacancy as a senate member. Since she graduates in spring on 2020, she won’t be eligible to run for president again.

“I still have ideas that are on the table that I would like to bring up,” she said. “I’m here to be a servant leader and to bring the best out of them academically.”

The Signal