Natalie Hockaday | News Editor
Election season is here for ODU and there are a broad range of candidates that believe they can uphold the responsibilities of leading the student body. The first debate hosted by the Student Government Association gave an introduction to the candidates and helped the campus community gain insight of the values of the candidates and how they plan to improve ODU. Here is the breakdown for who is running.
Isaiah Lucas: Lucas is an upcoming graduating senior and will soon be continuing his studies as a graduate student. He is the current student body president at ODU and is running to expand more on his initiatives and to broaden his representation for the graduate student population at the university. With his current position he believes that using his advisors to the best of his capability will help turn an idea into a reality.
Jeffery Williams: Williams is currently a sophomore at Old Dominion University from Stafford, VA, majoring in geography and political science. He sits as the director of Wellness and Sustainability in SGA. He says that if his legacy could be summed up in one word it would be “acceptance”. He is using his platform to expand diversity at the university and be more inclusive to different communities. When discussing inclusivity and diversity Williams conveyed his message by saying, “people hate because they do not understand what love is.” Williams’ involvement on campus includes: Director of Wellness and Sustainability, Brother to Brother, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.
Vice Presidential Candidates
Alexander Evans: Evans is a senior at Old Dominion University from Oceanside, CA majoring in criminal justice and currently sits as the director of Public Safety and Transportation. While discussing his platform and what he plans to do if elected as Vice President, Evans expanded on his perspective of the role he is pursuing. He wants to expand the description of the Vice President which is traditionally more influential from behind the scenes, however, Evans wants to be more interactive with the student body and their needs. He says that building genuine relationships will assist in improving the experience for the community. Evan’s involvement on campus includes: Director of Public Safety and Transportation, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Brother to Brother, NAACP.
Luke Sanford: Sanford is currently a Junior at Old Dominion University. He is a former service member and is using his platform to push for more initiatives to help fellow veterans and add more inclusivity on campus. Sanford is an advocate for holding people accountable for their actions and believes that accountability starts with holding himself to a higher standard. Along with accountability, Sanford is pushing for self-improvement which he sees as an ongoing task that shape who he wants to be.
Alyssa Henson: Alyssa Henson is a junior at Old Dominion University from Virginia Beach, VA majoring in Political Science. She was formerly the speaker pro tempore for SGA and is currently a senator for SGA. Henson says she is prepared for the position for Vice President because she “is a leader not a follower.” She further explains that part of being a leader is learning how to understand what it means to be part of a team and to listen to others. Henson wants to use her influence to lead by example.
Kayla Hill Jones: Jones is a junior at Old Dominion University from Richmond, VA majoring in political science and interdisciplinary studies. Jones wants to implement digital tracking of office hours in order for members to show proof of their work progress. She plans on focusing on her time management skills in order for her to successfully take on the secretary position. Jones is currently a senator in SGA, president of the Good Girl Movement, Community Service Chair of the Pre-Law association and is part of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars leader.
Alexis Swider: Swider is a junior majoring in criminal justice and psychology from Stafford, VA. She is currently the Director of Administrative Affairs for SGA. Swider believes that active listening is a prominent skill that is needed in order to succeed and understand those around her. Her past leaderships roles she feels have prepared her for the position of Secretary. Her current involvement includes being the Director of Administrative Affairs, LEAD Campus Ambassador w/ office of Admissions and is a member of Zeta Tau Alpha.
Kevin Stephens: Stephens is a junior majoring in political science from Stafford, VA. Stephens has stated that he believes he is more qualified for the position because he has held leadership positions through his fraternity. He also became the student manager for the Webb Center after being there for only one year. Stephens joined SGA during the fall semester and is the former treasure of the fraternity Theta Chi and is currently the Vice President of the fraternity.
Kyrin Sims: Sims is currently a junior studying communication and minoring in marketing and management and is from Virginia Beach, VA. He is currently the Director of PR for SGA. Sims has been part of SGA for four years and believes he is the best candidate for the position of treasurer because he has experience with the different elements of SGA and has more experience. His involvement on campus includes being the Director of Public Relations and Recruitment for SGA, peer mentoring at the service-learning LLC, member of PRSSA and preview counselor for Student Transition and Family Programs. Sims has previously been involved in RHA, ODU’s Homecoming Committee and WODU.
Speaker of the Senate Candidates
Patrick Cornejo: Cornejo is currently a senior majoring in communication from Chesapeake, VA. He is currently the Committee Chair for Legislative Affairs and Diversity for SGA. Inclusion and diversity is Cornejo’s platform during this election. Given ODU is a minority serving institution he further explains that he wants all groups to be represented. Cornejo transferred to the university and is using his platform to unite the student body so that underrepresented voices have a chance to be heard. During the first debate he expanded on how diversity and inclusion goes beyond race and culture, he explained how different people are whether it is due to socio-economic differences, commuter student voices and veteran voices. Cornejo is the President of ODU E-Sports, a NASPA Undergraduate Fellow, and the Committee Chair for Legislative Affairs and Diversity for SGA.
Christopher Spellman: Spellman is a junior majoring in leadership and interdisciplinary studies. He is from Chesapeake, VA and has a heavy involvement at the university. Spellman’s initiatives. Spellman believes that diversity goes beyond just integrating different kinds of people. He expands on the thought by explaining how the root of diversity and inclusion is a mindset to understand that everyone may be different however, it should not affect the way people are treated and represented. His involvement on campus consists of being in Ebony Impact Gospel Choir, ODU’s Five Year Strategic Planning Enrollment Management Subcommittee for the year of 2020, a Member of the National Association for Student Personnel Administrators Undergrad fellowship program, Committee member of the Southern Association for College Student Affairs’ Newest, Project Crown Mentoring, RA for Whitehurst, Monarch Wellness Ambassador, Civic scholar student member and a Senator for SGA.
Kevin Aboagye: Aboagye is a junior, studying enterprise cyber security and is from Alexandria, VA. While discussing diversity at the first election debate he touched on the same subject that many of the other candidates did. Diversity is important to him, however he made it known that although SGA is currently predominately Black, it is still culturally diverse with members who are from Jamaica, Ghana, and other areas of the world that do not just reflect one culture. He added that he still believes there should be more involvement from other races and ethnicities to participate in SGA. Aboagye is involved with e National Society of Collegiate Scholars and is a USDOT Summer Transportation Internship Program for Diverse Group, Recipient.
The next debate will be held on Thursday, March 21 at 7:15pm in the Mills Godwin Building room 0101.