Michael Haas

President: Michael Haas

Mar 19 • News, Top Stories • 724

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Why are you running for SGA president? I am running for Student Government President because I see a huge opportunity for growth in SGA and specifically I want to utilize that growth to better advocate for the students to the administration at large. Right now, I see SGA as primarily a funding organization. It provides funding for clubs and organizations on campus, and I want to broaden the scope of SGA so if there is an issue on campus, with any student, any club, any group, they can approach me directly.

What are your goals if elected?

One thing that has to be tackled fully is the crosswalk on Eighth Street. SGA voted to pass a resolution saying they were in favor of a crosswalk on Eighth Street. Since that, nothing has really been done about it. That is a huge safety concern and needs to be addressed. The other thing I would want to do is establish a strategic plan for SGA. I want to sit down with past presidents, administrators and students mainly, and ask them what do they want out of SGA? And third, I think the students here on campus could really use a student Bill of Rights. Some of that is actually outlined in Gannon’s policies but I think SGA needs to take the initiative to put that down on paper. Generally speaking, I want to focus more on advocacy. What can we do for the students directly? I am not intimated to sit across the table from Dr. Taylor. I emailed pretty much every club president in the past week and I asked them, “What are some key points that you think SGA could do better?” Time and time again, these organization presidents are saying that the funding is a major aspect that needs to be overhauled. I want to make it incredibly easy and efficient for clubs and organizations to get the money they need because when it comes down to it – that’s not their job.  So I want to take that burden off of them. Put that burden on me, I’m fine with that because that’s SGA’s responsibility to make it easier for any club or organization to receive the funding that they need.

What do you see SGA’s role on campus as?  I see it as a portal of advocacy for students. If there’s an issue on campus, SGA needs to be the one speaking for the students. The second part of that is building relationships on campus between student groups. So, if exercise science club needs something, SGA can find the people that they need to get in contact with to make that happen. And third is Student Government needs to establish a larger presence outside of Gannon. It is the student organization that represents the undergraduate student body on Gannon. That doesn’t mean just inside at Gannon, that means to the mayor, to the state, to anybody really who isn’t at Gannon. SGA is really the only organization that represents them.I think currently, SGA is only focusing internally. I want to expand that and focus externally.

What skills or qualities do you possess that you think will aid you if elected? First of all, I am a 22-year-old sophomore. Before I came to Gannon, I spent two years running a division of a company in Erie. That gave me an extraordinary amount of leadership experience. I don’t have much SGA experience, but the experience I do have is based in the real-world, business aspect of things. I think that my business sense along with the fresh perspective that I can bring to SGA would really strengthen the organization as a whole. Another attribute that I have is I am a self-starter. At the age of 16, I founded a non-profit organization to benefit Catholic education in Erie. That organization ran successfully for four years. It’s that self-starting ability and the leadership experience that I got in the business world that will definitely benefit me. And a third one would be my knowledge of my campus as a whole. Working in admissions, I’ve had to work with a number of departments on campus. If SGA needs something or to get in contact with someone, I know who that person is. I already have an established relationship with them.

Why did you get involved with SGA? I am not currently involved in SGA. I think the fact that I am not involved with SGA is a benefit. I’m able to jump into SGA as president as a fresh perspective. I am not held back by how things were done.  I can hold these policies accountable and make them as practical as possible. When I first came to campus, one of the first things I did was attend an SGA meeting because I realized the potential influence it has on campus. And I just started to show up. Now, I’ve shifted it from being a student advocate who’s not a representative to running for SGA president.

As SGA president, you get a scholarship for that. I am quite literally going to be the employee of the students. That’s why I’m reaching out to all these student groups; that’s why I am making sure that if I get elected, you are getting exactly your money’s worth out of me. Academics always come first, but right after that SGA is my top priority.

How do you plan to increase students’ knowledge and involvement of SGA? I think the obvious answer, first of all, is through social media. There are a million different Twitter accounts that are created like GU Problems and things like that. But we’re not doing anything to solve those problems. I would want to utilize connecting online to get more people there. But also, people don’t come to SGA meetings and I don’t really know why that is. What I would like to do is create bimonthly town hall meetings or open office hours where if you have a problem, come in and tell. I am not going to make you sit through the whole meeting until we get to student voice. Come and tell me because I want to get moving on that right away.  And if SGA can’t solve the problem, we’ll get you in touch with people that can solve the problem.

Why should the students vote for you? The students should vote for me because I have the leadership experience.  They should vote for me because I’m going to get out there and advocate for them. I’m not just going to sit behind the SGA desks and wait an entire year until it’s over. I’m not going to just take my scholarship and run away and hide. I’m going to be out there fighting for the students each and every day. And if you’re electing me, you’re electing the opinion of every student on campus. I’m going out proactively and asking for the input of many, many students and I’m going to take those opinions with me to the presidency because we definitely need to have a representation of the student population and not just the people who normally vote in SGA elections, but of everyone on campus.

 

SAMMIE JANIK

janik001@knights.gannon.edu

 

 

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