When interviewing candidates to endorse for student body president, there were a few key traits that we were looking for.
The candidate had to have both a good grasp on the Baylor community and a good understanding of the Waco community.
He or she had to have a clear and diverse platform that demonstrated knowledge of the challenges that Baylor faces and the improvements we can make through the student government.
And most importantly, the candidate needed to have concrete steps to achieve their goals.
The decision to endorse Hodges based on these characteristics was unanimous.
When Hodges came and spoke to the Lariat, we were impressed by his goals and the specific ways he proposed to achieve them.
From the ambitious — opening a ferry between downtown Waco and Baylor Stadium — to the more mundane — creating a database of available undergraduate research — Hodges laid out a range of goals and seemed ready to achieve them.
Among Hodges’ other goals were increasing the study abroad opportunities, recruiting businesses to offer more internships for Baylor students and improving lighting and security in and around campus.
Most importantly, he demonstrated a clear understanding of what he would need to do to achieve these goals.
Through his time serving in the Golden Wave Marching Band, learning in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core and being a member of Phi Kappa Chi, we believe that Hodges’ experience at Baylor is easily relatable to a large group of students and that he will be more in touch with his constituents because of it.
Hodges also demonstrated a familiarity with the Waco area and an eagerness to further connect the two communities.
The Lariat also liked Raechel Adams as a candidate but felt that her platform was too narrowly limited to campus security.
However, Adams’ ideas were good and there should definitely be a place for her in the next administration.
*Lariat Editor-in-chief Caroline Brewton did not participate in the discussion, news coverage or endorsement of student body president Candidates due to a conflict of interest.
We were particularly impressed with his desire to completely break down the walls between the student body and the student government.
One of the main problems that the student government has is a general lack of availability to the average student, according to Edwards. He wants to give the average student the ability to approach the student government with ideas on an informal basis.
For example, one of the ideas that Edwards presented was giving students the ability to walk into student government offices and talk to the elected officials about ideas or concerns by instituting mandatory office hours and an open-door policy for student body officials. He also proposed to implement focus groups for specific Student Senate committees and hold a student government tailgate so that students have many opportunities to connect with the people that they elected.
A transparent government centered on serving the people is exactly what student government should be, and that is what Edwards will bring to the table. We believe that having an accessible group of elected officials will lead to an increase in student involvement and an increase in desirable legislation.
His previous leadership positions on various student government committees and involvement around campus also led us to this endorsement. Edwards has served in student government for two years so far and has experience working on the Honor Council and chairing the PR committee. We liked his overall presentation and his ability to clearly communicate his ideas. This will help him both as a leader in student government and as a servant of the student body.
Another one of Edwards’ stances that caught our eye was his view on the student government allocation fund.
He was very well informed on its uses and flaws, and we believe he uniquely qualified to fix the problems associated with it. Better management and publicity will help student organizations hurdle various financial obstacles, and increasing student feedback could offer students the ability to have input about spending any surplus left in the fund.
In our opinion, Edwards is clearly the most informed and responsible choice for the position.
Not only does Holt have experience as acting external vice president from the times she has had to stand in during the current one’s absence, but Holt is currently the chief of staff to the external vice president and has had three years of experience in student government.
Oftentimes, when an office position changes hands, the officer’s work in that position stops.
Holt, on the other hand, said she believes the that previous officer’s work should not just stop when the term ends. This provides a spirit of collaboration among current and former officers that we like and that members of student government can benefit from.
In addition, Holt’s platform emphasizes the connection between Waco and Baylor, a topic we would like to see expanded and which is crucial in this position.
One major point we liked from Holt is that she said attending the Waco City Council meetings is an important part of bursting the Baylor Bubble.
Holt also said she would like the Passport Waco program, an effort increase student involvement in the community through partnerships with local businesses, to expand and improve next. She said if she’s elected to the position, she will start approaching businesses beginning in June to promote the program. This type of initiative is what we want in an EVP.
Outside of her role as a student government officer, she said she frequently visits different restaurants in Waco and tries to eat outside her comfort zone.
Holt is a holistic person who is involved with Baylor and the community. She has made the Dean’s List multiple times. She is part of Alpha Chi Omega. Community involvement is an important quality to have as a member of student government. Her community service involves working with Campus Kitchen and Urban Missions. Holt also attends Harris Creek Baptist Church.
Holt’s opponent, Thomas Damrow, did not seem to present same community involvement as Holt. Dallena Nguyen, Holt’s other opponent, did not have the same experience Holt does in working with this position.
*Lariat A&E editor Linda Nguyen did not participate in the discussion, news coverage or endorsement of external vice president candidates due to a conflict of interest.