Meet and Greet sets stage for USG elections

Blake Westover Reporter

Current Undergraduate Student Government members, candidates and students met to discuss plans for next academic year Tuesday night over Zoom. 

The event had over 20 participants and featured four rounds of smaller breakout sessions, with each of the sessions featuring two candidates and two other participants where the candidates could explain their platforms and questions could be asked. 

“They talked about what they planned to do if they won,” said Oliva Salter, a senior political science major in attendance at the event. 

A hot topic in many of the break-out rooms was the priority of students’ mental and physical health as the university nears its fourth semester with COVID-19 precautions in effect. 

“In the years I’ve been around USG mental health has always been a key point of discussion,” Salter said. 

Young people’s mental health has suffered on a national level since the lockdowns first began last March and many students contribute to the decline to isolation, and increased levels of anxiety.   

“There has been too much screen time,” said Chazzlyn Jackson, a junior Pan-African studies major and candidate for USG president. “We have to choose between our mental health and our physical health. We are social creatures.” 

Jackson credited the recently released COVID-19 vaccine for her hopes for a return to normalcy in the coming semesters. The USG presidential candidate was not alone in her enthusiasm of transitioning into less restrictive campus conditions. 

“What is normal going to look like?” asked Camryn Kwiatkoski, a director of student advancement candidate and vice chair of the Committee of Governmental Affairs. “I’m really excited to be kickstarting in-person classes in the fall.”

The university has not yet confirmed the campus conditions for the upcoming fall semester as it pertains to remote learning.  

Candidates will be campaigning individually until the election days and will participate in a virtual debate to be held on March 15, a day before the election is held electronically. 

Blake Westover covers politics. Contact him at [email protected]