By: HANNAH DEMCHAK
With all of the chaos nationwide in the 2016 presidential primaries, it may be unknown to IU South Bend’s students that they have a very important election coming up right on their campus.
Two candidates will be competing head-to-head for president of the Student Government Association (SGA) and one of these candidates is Stephen Salisbury.
Salisbury is already an active member of the SGA and president of the Student Economic Forum. A husband and father to four children, Salisbury is currently tackling a double major in economics and sociology.
After high school, Salisbury tried out college and was highly interested in radio and broadcasting. He eventually went on to obtain his radio broadcaster’s license, applying it within a broadcasting career for roughly eight to nine years before deciding to move into food and retail management.
Coming to IUSB as a full-time student, Salisbury originally pursued a degree in economics until realizing he had a passion for sociology and understanding how society works.
“I understand now, thanks to my sociology courses, that I have occupied a lot of privileged statuses in my life,” said Salisbury. “I grew up in an area with very little cultural diversity, so I was never really exposed to the challenges that certain people have, and I really started to think about how I could use the privilege that I have to help pull other people up out of marginalized situations.”
Salisbury is currently a senator for the SGA and was recruited by current president Hannah Van. After working as a peer mentor and becoming increasingly active in the organization, he started thinking about possibly running for president or vice president. Salisbury’s opponent, Shail Bhagat, had originally approached him, requesting that Salisbury run as his vice president which he initially accepted. However, shortly after, Salisbury thought it might be better to run against Bhagat, affording students the option to choose between two candidates.
The president of the SGA serves as a representative of the entire student body to the rest of the university system. The SGA president regularly meets with the chancellor to discuss different issues and topics regarding the university. The president is also responsible for going to the board of trustees’ meetings in Bloomington with other SGA presidents from the entire IU system.
If Salisbury takes on the presidential role, he would like to find an easier and more practical system for students to print on campus. He would also like to push for IUSB to have a 24-hour study space on campus, and to renegotiate a dining contract to make it easier for clubs to have catering at their events.
Salisbury urges students on campus to vote because it allows them a chance to express their voice.
“I know it seems sometimes like our votes just don’t count, but we have a privilege in this country of being able to express our voice politically and we have to take advantage of that,” said Salisbury.