Photo Courtesy FHSU Student Government Association Facebook page
BY CORIE LYNN
Each year, FHSU’s Student Government Association holds elections allowing students to vote for their new student senators and Student Body President and Vice President.
For the first time in four years, the VP/Presidential ticket is contested.
One of the two tickets lists junior political science majors Will Barfield and Crystal Rojas for President and Vice President, respectfully.
The two candidates met the previous school year and joined SGA around the same time. Currently, Barfield serves as a student senator and Rojas as the organization’s Legislative Affairs Director.
According to Barfield, he and Rojas found their similarities extended to their opinions on problems that could be solved at FHSU.
“[a]s time went on, especially as we came into the spring semester, we realized this was something that we actually want to do, and that’s a position that we can assume that can grant us the powers to make those changes and to be leaders in that sector,” Barfield said.
As they prepared to campaign, Barfield and Rojas created a platform broken into sections, being affordability and accessibility at the University. Barfield cited these points as reasons students come to FHSU.
“So the students are depending on us to maintain that and also further that and give them opportunities that allow them to feel financially secure at Fort Hays,” Barfield said.
To assist financially, he and Rojas would like to expand the Tiger Food Exchange in Forsyth Library into a larger operation that includes food beyond canned goods as well as hygiene items.
In addition, they would like to find a stable source of funding for the Student Emergency Assistance Fund.
Because of recent conversations surrounding inclusion at FHSU, Rojas explained they would like to continue to tackle the issue on campus.
“Whenever we were speaking about a platform,” Rojas said, “I told Will I don’t want to just add diversity and inclusivity to that platform and then just say, ‘Yeah, we promote and we encourage an environment that is very diverse and inclusive,’ and just call it a night.”
She explained that they hope to promote a diversity committee available to students beyond SGA members and to establish a senator position for underserved students, which would be set aside for students in minority groups.
They also hope to establish an open-door policy that would encourage students to bring any issue directly to the SGA. They have already established this practice by actively campaigning on social media and planning to utilize accounts to keep students informed throughout the semesters.
“And we’ve been hearing from a lot of students, just concerns and questions they have, not only part of our campaign but really any other issues they’ve faced in their time at Fort Hays State,” Rojas said.
Barfield explained that they hope their use of social media to reach students will keep them engaged on campus.
“We have the option to go live, and what we want to do every week, at the end of the week, is go live Friday afternoon and tell students what happened in our office, what happened in Senate, what bills are going on that they need to know about,” Barfield said.
Finally, they also hope to expand the positions of the executive staff and redesign the Senate to encourage teamwork within the SGA.
In choosing this platform, the candidates hope that they can help fill in cracks they and other students see by putting ideas into motion.
Barfield and Rojas want to move beyond discussion.
“We want to do something impactful that for students in the future, they’re going to benefit from that, and it’s going to be an experience for everyone that steps foot on our campus so much better and just a better place, really, for our community,” Rojas said.
Should they be elected, she and Barfield acknowledge that they will need student support to put their plans into action. They see the SGA as the method by which student voices are heard and issues are brought to University faculty.
Barfield and Rojas also plan to bring students into conversations about campus changes. With these lines of communication, they believe they can enact their platform.
“We want to hear feedback, and that’s what we’re going to build off of as well,” Rojas said. “So we really think, if elected, we’ll be able to do so many great things.”
As the spring semester draws to a close, Barfield and Rojas are already looking forward to what the fall semester has to offer. They hope for a comeback as the University returns to normal.
“One thing we’ve been saying to [Freshmen] is that we’re ready to make sure that your experience for what you’ve missed gets made up and more next year. I mean, because that’s a priority for us, too,” Barfield said.
Rojas also looks forward to the ways in which campus involvement through academics and organizations benefits students.
She is also excited to continue working with the SGA.
“And if we’re able to fill those positions of President and Vice President,” Rojas said, “then Will and I are just going to dive into it directly and start laying out this platform, and we’ll just tackle each different issue and get to work.”
As the election approaches, she and Barfield encourage students to reach out through their Instagram @willxcrystal21 or their Snapchat accounts, willcbarfield and red0018. They also encourage students to simply vote for their new representatives.
Voting begins at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday on TigerLink and closes at 4:30 p.m. Thursday. Additional information about this year’s elections is available online.