Meet the 2017 SGA Candidates:
Senior English literature and women’s and gender studies major Nargiza Amirova is running for SGA treasurer. Originally from Uzbekistan, Amirova immigrated to the United States when she was 11 years old. Amirova is the current SGA treasurer and the founder of IU South Bend’s Muslim Student Association.
Amirova intends to eventually earn a PhD and to return to Uzbekistan to teach English help change Uzbekistan’s “attitudes about women and gender equality,” she said. She is already doing that work in America. Amirova has participated in many women-centered organizations, including Michiana Monologues, Campus Women Lead Conference in Washington D.C., Stage for Change and more.
As SGA treasurer, Amirova would work to support diversity and work to make campus housing safer through sexual assault prevention training programs such as BRAVE, she said.
“Being a student who has migrated from Eastern Europe, I would like to support our diversity by letting everyone know that IU South Bend is a safe zone for everyone and that we are here for each other, to support our diversity because this what makes us unique is our diversity,” Amirova said. “I believe that being part of Student Government would help me to achieve my goal to help all students from different backgrounds.”
Senior small business and entrepreneurship major Jesse Camper is running for a seat in the SGA Senate. Originally from Chicago, Ill., Camper has previously worked as a resident assistant in River Crossing Student Housing, the SGA director of campus affairs and is currently an SGA senator.
Camper believes that experience would help him be an effective senator.
“I have many experiences of leadership and organizing people to complete various objectives with my position as Resident Assistant,” he said. “And I believe I could offer those skills to SGA in the senator’s position.”
As a senator, Camper would work to grow the currently small group of students he says is most active on campus to include the “larger number of students that have no idea what is happening on campus,” he said.
Senior computer science major Tony Carrasco is running for the SGA Senate. Originally from North Liberty, Ind., Carrasco works as IU South Bend’s assistant cross country coach and the head of the committee of social media and technology for the SGA. He also worked as a resident assistant in River Crossing Student Housing.
Carrasco’s experience in these leadership roles would help him do the job of senator, he said.
“My leadership positions as an RA and as a coach have given me skills that are useful for keeping people organized and motivated,” he said. “And my position in the SGA has given me insight into its function.”
Carrasco has one unique campaign promise, among others—to eliminate the foul odor in the center of campus that he claims comes from the fountain.
“On a warm day, the fountain still smells terrible,” Carrasco said. “It’s been like this for over a year, and it needs to be fixed.”
Carrasco also believes he could help address issues of low “school spirit” and banded tuition.
Sophomore accounting and finance major Chiemeogo Ekwenuya is running for an SGA Senate seat. Currently the director of campus affairs for the SGA, Ekwenuya also serves as treasurer of the International Student Organization and an event leader for the Chi-Alpha Christian Fellowship.
As a senator, Ekwenuya would work to help international students navigate the complicated process of adjusting to a their new environment, she said.
“As an international student who has gone through this problem, I hope to change this issue by organizing a group of people who will welcome [international students] at the airport, take them to different places to shop and educate them on the society’s norms and values in order for them to feel welcome and also fit in,” Ekwenuya said.
Sophomore secondary education major Benjamin Fager is running for SGA senate. Originally from Plymouth, Ind., Fager considers “student satisfaction” his campaign priority.
“I feel that most people do understand that their work [at IUSB] sets them up for whatever career they choose. But by student satisfaction, I also mean that everyone is enjoying their time on campus by taking advantage of the excellent, relaxing opportunities provided to them,” Fager said.
Fager hopes to get more students involved in the events the school offers to students by making SGA and its events more accessible to students.
Fager serves as the Honors Program School of Education representative.
Junior women’s and gender studies major Briauna Gaffney is running for SGA Senate. A South Bend native, Gaffney believes her experiences as a first generation college student and a peer mentor will help her succeed in this position.
“As a peer mentor, I have been able to help my mentees with problems in relation to campus life and answer questions they may have,” Gaffney said. “If I did not know the answer, I was well equipped to point them in the direction that they could find answers.”
Gaffney identifies “campus involvement” as an issue at IU South Bend. She believes, as a senator, she could address this issue.
“We have many different clubs on campus, but not many people are joining them,” she said. “And as senator, I want to help get more students involved so they can feel a part of campus life.”
Gaffney herself views her experiences in campus clubs as having helped her succeed in college. She is the vice president of the Feminist Student Union, an associate justice in SGA, a member of Black Student Union and Latino Student Union.
“Being engaged and involved on campus has helped me to do well, and it has brought connections that will last a lifetime,” she said. “Being involed on campus is a great tool for success here at IU South Bend.”
Senior criminal justice major Tyler Garber is running for a seat in the SGA Senate. Originally from Bristol, Ind., Garber is currently an IU South Bend Police cadet and will work as a part time police officer in the fall.
Garber is also the president of the Criminal Justice Club and vice president of the newly-formed Titans Advocating for Partner Equality group.
As an SGA senator, Garber would work to address three major issues, he said: campus security, campus community and real-world work experience for undergraduates.
Junior interpersonal communication major Garrett Gutermuth is running for SGA senator, and he believes his work experience would help him do the job.
Gutermuth works as a door-to-door water damage restoration salesperson, he said.
“I knock about a hundred doors a day and persuade random strangers to sign up for our services,” Gutermuth said. “Through being rejected daily, I have attained the hard lessons of perseverance and communication.”
As a senator, Gutermuth would work to address campus security issues and low student interest in campus events, he said.
Junior secondary English education major Stephen Holmes is running for the SGA senate. President of the IU South Bend Education Council and vice president of the Political Science Club, Holmes is also involved in the Queer-Straight Alliance and a member of the Honors Program.
Holmes believes his time management skills and “positive, productive spirit” make him well-suited for the senator position, he said.
“I am always ready and willing to jump in where I am needed, and it has always been my pleasure to improve the lives of others as best as I’m allowed,” Holmes said. “If elected, I eagerly look forward to working with my SGA colleagues toward further improving our university.”
As a senator, Holmes would work to change the popular perception of IU South Bend as a “lesser quality school simply because it isn’t the main campus of the IU system,” he said.
“This can be a big factor in [a student’s] decision to not attend IU South Bend,” he said. ‘Throughout my time here at the university, I have consistently advocated for IU South Bend, and have even convinced quite a few people to make this their school of choice over larger universities where they would ultimately spend more money for the same degree.”
Sophomore psychology major Eryk Johnson is running for SGA Senate. Johnson served in the Student Council all four years he attended Snider High School in Fort Wayne, Ind., where he graduated in the top 15 of his class of 440 students with a 4.2 GPA, he said.
Johnson is well-suited for a position in the SGA Senate, he said, because of the many leadership, teamwork and communication skills he has acquired through his work in other campus organizations, which include Psychology Club, the Honors Program, IUSB Office of Admissions, and as a volunteer at La Casa de Amistad, where he tutors high school and middle school students.
As a senator, Johnson would work to help students deal with stress and anxiety—two issues Johnson identified as key for students—and help students get funding for club events.
“Personally, I hope to be in a position where I can receive feedback and suggestions from students on what they want to see implemented on campus,” he said. “I like being able to help people and to help people realize that their voices matter.”
Freshman musical theatre major Taylor Jump is running for SGA senator. Originally from La Porte, Ind., Jump has returned to her hometown recently as assistant director for a play last fall.
“This leadership position included watching the students perform and giving them constructive criticism,” Jump said about her role in the high school production. “They responded positively toward me, so I would like to think that I can talk to people about issues that may be touchy and leave them with a positive atmosphere.”
As a senator, Jump would work to make all students “feel safe and validated on campus,” she said, and “know of all the events that this college has to offer”
Happiness Lameck is a graduate student studying political science. She is running for SGA treasurer. Lameck is currently the vice president of the International Student Organization, a peer financial educator for the Money Smarts program and a peer mentor for the Titan Success Center.
In her many campus roles, Lameck has “learned to be an organized, hardworking, problem-solving leader,” she said.
“I have built connections and networked with various authority levels on campus, and that has given me the confidence to interact with different people from diverse backgrounds and knowledge,” she said. “I intend to bring these experiences to the Students Government Association and serve Indiana University of South Bend.”
Lameck identifies campus safety as an issue she would like to tackle as SGA treasurer. To make campus safer, Lameck said she would like to see more security patrols, more lights in dark areas of campus.
Lameck also wants to explore changes to campus work programs that limit the employment opportunities for international students ineligible for work-study positions.
Senior women’s and gender studies major Rhonda Redman is running for SGA Senate. A member of the Honors Program and a peer mentor, Redman also serves as co-president of the Feminist Student Union, vice-president of the Political Science Club and an active member of American Democracy Project, Michiana Monologues and the Student Association of Civil Rights and Social Justice.
Redman sees student retention as most important to address. To address this issue, she hopes to get more students involved in campus life.
“Not only does this involvement keep students on campus, but it gives them ways to learn new skills, build their resumes and take advantage of new opportunities,” Redman said. “I do not simply seek to get others involved, but I set an example of campus involvement by consistently showing up, either to volunteer, or to enjoy time at campus events.”
Junior international business and German major Kevin Schascheck is running for vice president. Originally form Walkerton, Ind., Schascheck is currently an SGA senator.
As a representative of the student body, Schascheck is chiefly concerned with three things, he said: “They are the need to include diversity, the need to fight on behalf of the students and the need to bolster the amount of activities and services the university provides to its constituents.”
Schascheck encourages diversity, he said, by his membership in minority clubs. He plans to fight on behalf of the students by acting as their representative in dealings with campus contractors such as food services provider Sodexo, and book store operator Barnes and Noble.
“I would like to be a liaison for my fellow students, and whenever possible, express the opinion of the student body on what they consider to be fair,” he said.
Schascheck is also concerned with enrollment, which he sees as directly correlating to student involvement.
“As the SGA vice president, I will do my best to ensure that students have creative ways of being involved,” he said, “and thus benefit the campus as a whole.”
Senior social work major Andi Trowbridge is running for SGA secretary. Originally from Fort Wayne, Ind., Trowbridge has been involved in many campus clubs and organizations, including the Feminist Student Union, the Queer Straight Alliance, as secretary and then president of the Political Science Club and an SGA liaison to the Reimagining the First Year Committee, among others.
For these accomplishments, along with helping to open the Titans Feeding Titans Food Pantry, Trowbridge received the Patricia McNeal Agent of Change Award.
Trowbridge sees student retention as an important issue.
“We must continue to work toward discovering what the students need in order to increase the retention rate.”
Junior nursing major Deno Vidmar is running for the vice president of the SGA. Vidmar, from Lakeville, Ind., had been the community service director for the biology club and a member of the Medlife Club while a student at Purdue University.
“I am pursuing this position because of my passion for academics and caring for others,” Vidmar said. “And I believe that this passion will help to push me to be the best vice president for the upcoming school year.”
As vice president, Vidmar would work to “reexamine” the cost of student parking passes “to see if there is a better way to charge students for parking which will leave both the school and the students satisfied with the costs,” he said.