Endorsements: Baylor Lariat backs Houser, Cole, Kelliher

Student Body President: Sutton Houser

The Lariat endorses Boerne junior Sutton Houser for the position of student body president. Houser has extensive experience in student government as former sophomore class president and the current director of affordability. While all of the candidates have advocated for more student government diversity and communication, Houser uniquely prioritizes student care.

His vision, called Bear Care, seeks to promote student wellness through privatizing student information on the Baylor directory, creating a Mental Health Day in the fall, and creating a Student Care & Wellness Fund to assist with pay unexpected expenditures during difficult times. He also wants more resources to ensure students have the nutrition, clothing and textbooks they need to thrive.

He has already displayed his ability to enact the change he wishes to see in his position as director of affordability in which he planned the Sic Hunger food drive, co-authored a bill to fund more Living Learning Center scholarships and established a plan for the Student Care and Wellness Fund. His campaign promises are not just ideas, they are works already in progress.

His care for the student body is evident in his vision and action. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Houser has been writing letters of encouragement to students. Houser’s compassion and drive for tangible change would serve the student body well.

Internal Vice President: Matt Cole

For the position of internal vice president, The Lariat endorses The Woodlands junior Matt Cole. Both candidates were highly qualified with extensive platforms that could greatly benefit the student body.

Cole has been committed to advocating for students’ needs during his three years of experience in student government and has collaborated with a diverse group of people across the Baylor campus. He has experience working with not only students, but also faculty and organizations to find the best policies that benefit the Baylor community as a whole.

As a three-year member and the current finance chair for Student Senate, Cole has strong leadership and management skills. His platform is based on bettering the Baylor community — mainly increasing the communication between Baylor students and administration and prioritizing the wellness of students. Additionally, Cole will focus on ensuring that students have a voice of their own.

He supports this pledge through his proposal for student senators to meet with campus organizations that may not be directly represented in the Senate. Cole describes Student Government as “the bridge” between administration and students, and said he additionally wants to focus on making resources more known to students through the channels of Student Government.

In terms of student wellness, Cole has taken on concrete projects that directly benefit students, such as funding The Store, Baylor’s on-campus food pantry. With these funds, The Store was able to install stronger shelving to allow them to better serve food-insecure students. He envisions a restructured meal plan for student workers as well.

With his strong leadership skills and promise to give all students a voice, Cole will bring positive changes to the Baylor campus as internal vice president and create a more unified campus.

External Vice President: Gracie Kelliher

The Lariat finds Sierra Vista, Ariz. sophomore Gracie Kelliher to be the most qualified candidate for the position of external vice president. Her campaign slogan “Better Together” reflects her ambitions to unify the Baylor community. Kelliher is a part of multiple aspects of Baylor herself, as a member of Student Senate, student in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core and employee at McLane Student Life Center.

Her broad-sweeping campaign seeks to increase student civic engagement and strengthen the Baylor community. Students could further engage with the community by partnering with nonprofits. Kelliher also plans to increase and enforce voter registration as well as get voter polls on campus.

While “unity” can be a vague campaign promise, Kelliher has three specific ideas on how to bring about such change. Kelliher wants to unite the diverse student population by planning a Day of Solidarity, expanding the Leave Your Mark training to a four-year curriculum, and creating a joint event initiative for organizations to collaborate on similar events.

Kelliher is a strong leader. She has taken the initiative to attend 16 leadership conferences as well as write six Student Government bills. Kelliher holds the greatest potential to enhance the way Baylor students engage with the greater community.