To help students prepare for the upcoming Student Government Association (SGA) elections, the Paisano has contacted each student who has registered to run for a position on the Executive Board. Each candidate was asked the same questions:

1.) What experience and qualifications do you have that you believe will help you succeed in the position you are running for?

2.) Do you see any challenges ahead for SGA, and if so how do you plan on confronting them?

3.) If you could accomplish only one thing in your election position what would it be and why?

4.) Are there any major issues that need to be addressed in the upcoming year, and if so how do you plan on undertaking them?

Below are the responses for the candidates for President, in alphabetical order.

Ileana Gonzalez

Having been an active member of SGA for over three years, with officer experience for three semesters, I believe I have the proper organizational and executive leadership experience necessary to serve as president. I have seen multiple presidential transitions and had the unique opportunity to observe and understand what constitutes being president as far as the standard they are held to with their representative responsibility. I believe I am the most passionate candidate about our university as a whole to guide us in achieving our Tier-One dream. There is nothing I want to do more than to serve students and bridge the gap between them and administration. We have to realize that if you want to go fast, you can go alone, but if we want to go far we will go together. We are all UTSA!

I believe SGA hasn’t been as connected to the students as we should have been in the past. However, we have been extremely connected to administration. I truly believe this is the year that will be the closing phase of the circle where we connect our students and administration. During my presidency I will focus on continuing the bond we have with administration and building a stronger foundation with our students to know that SGA is here for them.

If elected student body president, the one thing I would accomplish is for the State of Texas to realize that UTSA is up-and-coming and there are great things happening here in roadrunner country. Specifically, I will build upon our previous community engagement and outreach with our stakeholders in and around the state and show that we are a premier research institution with the highest quality of students. This includes engaging our students in the plan our administration has in store to prove that UTSA deserves Tier-One recognition.

A major issue I have seen for the past three years is that our Senate has not been full and certain colleges and classifications have been underrepresented. I plan on changing this by reaching out to our organizations and students more than we have in the past. I plan on attending orientations, sending our representatives out to the different organizations that make up our student body and really pushing our students to join us in our movement to advance the university’s Tier One mission.

Jeff Schilder

In my time in SGA, I have served two terms as the chair of the Business Affairs Committee, which has put me in a unique position to see how things operate from the perspectives of both the legislative and executive branches because I serve in both. In addition to this, I have served as one of UTSA’s two delegates to a group called the UT System Student Advisory Council (UTSSAC). What UTSSAC boils down to is a UT system-wide student government. This past year, I was elected by the delegates from the 15 institutions to serve as a committee chair of UTSSAC, and I was then elected to serve as the Vice-Chair of UTSSAC for this next year.

A major role of SGA President is to bridge the gap between SGA and other entities outside of UTSA. My experience with UTSSAC gives me a great opportunity to make sure that our voices will be heard throughout the state, not just within our campuses here at UTSA.

I know two major issues SGA faces is spreading the word on the things we do and getting concerns from a more diverse group of students. There hasn’t been a lot of engagement between SGA and our students recently, and I’d like to change that. We do things such as the Scantron Giveaway, but we could do a lot more. I would like to send SGA’s senators to other organizations, in order to both let them know that SGA is here for them and to find out what kind of problems they face.

Something that SGA has already been working on is called “Project Torch,” which is an initiative to get the students of the various universities around San Antonio a voice on our city council, which has a lot of influence on the things that UTSA and the other San Antonio universities can do. As President, I would like to continue this initiative because of its importance to the students of UTSA and San Antonio.

There are a variety of major issues concerning UTSA such as the transportation fee and subsequent cuts to our shuttle services, making our voices heard within our city and many others. I plan to use the relationships I have already established to work with the necessary entities to solve these issues for the betterment of UTSA.

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