Due to the disqualification of former presidential candidate Christian Hill, whose ticket won the election, his running mate Ashley Epperson has taken over as the new SGA president. The Signal got a chance to sit down with Epperson and address some issues such as Panther pride, SGA visibility and sustainability. This is what she had to say:
The Signal: What are the first things that you want to work on once you begin your term as Student Government President?
Ashley Epperson: Well, first thing is definitely Panther Pride. Football is right around the corner so we definitely want to work on that. I’ve been meeting with Marcus Kernizan, who’s been training me a little bit and we want to set up meetings with the Assistant Athletics Director Tiffany Daniels and talk about the tailgating environment. We definitely have a lot of Greek attendance, which I support, but I’d also like to have a non-Greek friendly environment.
Also working at not just having the students at the tailgates but getting them into the games, more fans in the stands. I think Athletics will definitely agree with me on that. So, with Panther Pride I’d like to work directly with Trent Miles, the head coach. he came to a previous SGA meeting and talked about making football players more visible within the school.
The second thing is visibility of SGA. I want to take advantage of the mass email system for student. When school starts in August, I want to let them know where the SGA office is, that they can tell us their concerns or just come in and talk to us. I’d like to attach the student feedback surveys to that as well. Also, with that email, I’d like to have a town hall meeting the first month of school. I’d like to do that.
TS: Seeing that there was only one town hall meeting this year, do you think that you’d make those town hall meetings a regular thing?
AE: I would like to make them more of a regular thing. How often, I’m not sure yet. But, I like how many students showed up to the last one
TS: If you do nothing else next year, what do you want your one achievement to be?
AE: This is a very hard question because, like I said, I’ve been meeting with Marcus and I’d love to give you a definite answer of what to expect. Speaking with him he’s told me his biggest accomplishment was approving the budget to send our band to President Obama’s inauguration. And, you know, he could have never expected. So, I think that something like that could come along. If I had to give you something specific, I’d have to say the visibility of SGA. I think that students need to communicate with SGA more.
TS: As SGA President you would have a seat on the Mandatory Fee Committee, and this year the SGA passed a recommendation to the MFC to pass a green fee. Where do you stand on that issue?
AE: Well, I’m currently a senator and Peter Imhoff wrote the resolution that we discussed not to long ago and I did approve of the resolution. So, I still do stand by the green fee. We did student surveys and student forums and the majority do want to see a green fee. It might be coming from the sunsetting library but there wouldn’t be any additional fees.
TS: Currently the Library Fee is $14, do you think that you would use the entirety of that fee or would you lower that to $10, $5 or even $3, like Georgia Southern has?
AE: We discussed it, but we haven’t come to a conclusion. I definitely wouldn’t want to the full $14. I can’t really give you number right now, but I do want some sort of fee.
TS: So, what is one piece of legislation that you would like to see passed?
AE: I would like to work on the attendance policy of SGA. I know that it might not be a huge issue, but I’ve witnessed many members this past year having to resign due to the attendance policy because it’s really strict right now. It’s not very flexible and these are poeple who are passionate about this position. They had to fill an application. They had to campaign. They were elected. They were attending these meetings What’s one or two meetings you miss making you resign? I want our senators to concentrate on getting feedback from the students and not solely on their attendance. We are all really busy and we are involved students.