ACT, one of two executive campaigns in the 2019 University of Georgia Student Government Association election, believes following through is vital to achieving their goals if elected, hence their ticket name.
“It’s a double entendre ... to really explain what we plan to do,” said ACT Treasurer candidate Wesley Tillman. “We plan to act. We don’t plan to give any false dreams or give any plans to say we’re going to do things and not follow through.”
Tillman, along with ACT Presidential candidate Asim Ahmed and ACT Vice Presidential candidate Charley Claudio, believes the trio can address issues UGA students face through outreach and awareness. They will take on a “very robust media campaign” including email outreach through engagement committees in a similar fashion as the current administration.
As part of their platform, ACT wants to provide awareness of mental health resources to students and to amplify student voices on all issues. Ahmed and Claudio addressed limitations in student government power, but they believe the organization can still get work done.
“What we can do is use SGA’s voice and avenue and platform and create this cohesive, coherent narrative of what the student body wants,” Ahmed said. “If we … combine that with effective legislation … we think we’re going to truly see change on this campus.”
Among ACT's other platform points, their proposed media campaign would include bi-weekly newsletters to inform students on the legislation SGA has passed and other initiatives the body has addressed. A podcast would profile a student who “exemplifies the Bulldog spirit” each month, according to the ACT platform.
In light of accountability, the ticket plans to form a Commission on Slavery “for the University of Georgia to consider appropriate, holistic recognition of UGA’s past,” including the school’s history with slavery, the Jim Crow era and “marginalization of Native Americans.” The platform also proposes monthly town halls and requirements for Cabinet and Senate members to attend each other’s meetings.
ACT staffer Jawa Darazim, a sophomore biology and psychology major, believes the ticket’s best policy is raising awareness. She cited their plans for providing resources in addressing sexual assault. Darazim did not know much about SGA but joined the campaign when Claudio asked.
“When I got to read what [the ticket]... had to offer, I was really interested, and I think they would make a really good change for this school,” Darazim said. “The fact that they’re making [awareness] so important I think is different from previous campaigns.”
The all-sophomore ticket has a range of SGA experience. This is Tillman’s first year with SGA as a director of engagement along with Ahmed, who was a first-year senator last year.
Claudio, an at-large senator for student affairs, was a first-year senator last year along with Ahmed. She wants to represent all students, including those who “may not have a seat at the table” if she is elected vice president.
“It’s about using my voice to uplift and elevate the students on campus … and to bring their own voices into the conversation as well,” Claudio said.
All three candidates have promised to represent smaller student organizations along with large ones. ACT’s three main principles are awareness, accountability and advocacy, Claudio said.
“… Throughout [our] personal experiences we’ve seen issues and resources on campus that … students are [not] aware of and we see SGA as a very robust and powerful avenue to tackle those issues,” Ahmed said.