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Opinion: Vanessa Meraz, Jake Mazeitis make case for why they should be next SGA president, vice president

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Meraz and Mazeitis

Vanessa Meraz (right) and Jake Mazeitis are running for SGA president and vice president.

Two and a half years ago, we arrived on campus entirely unsure of what the next few years would hold. Like many first-year students, we had a vague notion that in between classes and learning how to survive on our own, we should try to contribute to the campus community by getting involved. We found the organizations that felt like home, organizations that supported and challenged us, organizations like the Hispanic American Student Association, Gender + Equality Center, Campus Activities Council and the Student Government Association. We have been a part of both the executive and legislative branches of SGA since our freshman year, to ensure that the student experience at OU is as exceptional as our school. During this time, we have worked with three distinct presidential administrations and have developed a keen sense of what works and what does not in terms of SGA. In devising our campaign, we reflected on the successful programs of both current and former administrations, combining the best of SGA’s past with our vision for its future. The result was a platform that is ambitious and forward-thinking, yet attainable. 

First, we want to focus on accessibility. Whether this means improving what we already have, or developing new student-centered resources, we want students to have access to everything they need to thrive on campus. From implementing an umbrella share program for days when the wind is sweeping a little too hard down the plains, to creating a more feasible way to pay for college textbooks — we are committed to making students feel supported by their student government.

Second, we want to hold ourselves accountable. We want all Executive Branch general cabinet meetings to follow the Oklahoma Open Meetings Act, which ensures that our meetings are open to the public and that minutes from the meetings are made easily available online. We also intend to send out monthly newsletters on the projects we have undertaken and how we’re progressing on our campaign promises. We also plan to have “Satellite Office Hours,” wherein we will go to places like the Bizzell Memorial Library, Dale Tower or Walker Tower to talk to students at least once a week. At the end of the day, our job is to serve you, so we want to make sure that we are making it easy for students to communicate with us. 

Finally, we want to advocate for all OU students, especially those who have historically been oppressed and marginalized. In light of recent budget cuts, we plan to launch a Thousands Strong campaign for Project Threshold (TRiO), in order to ensure continued support for first generation, economically disadvantaged or disabled students. We also intend to launch an educational series for DACA students and their allies — both to help keep affected students updated about changes in DACA-related policies and to assist allies in effectively aiding DACA students as the political climate changes.

We want to continue to serve wholeheartedly and to our maximum ability through a student government association that incessantly supports the student body. We are all in for you.

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