Student Body President and Vice President candidates: Kendra Adegbesan and Alejandro Garces

Kendra Adegbesan and Alejandro Garces are running for Student Body President and Vice President. Their campaign proposals fall into five themes, “Equity and Inclusion,” “A Community Connected,” “Interdisciplinary Recognition,” “Student Employment,” and “Sustainability,” as written on the campaign’s website.

Kendra Adegbesan, a junior studying neurobiology, creative writing, and film, has been a member of the Undergraduate Senate for five semesters, three of them acting as the Senate financial chair.

Adegbesan told The Tartan in an interview that the role of student body president “requires you to be able to speak on the student perspective, the entire student perspective, whenever, as actively and effectively as you can.” Her job as student leader would be “talking, and talking, and discussing, and talking, and bringing forth points that I know are well researched and well supported throughout the student body.”

Students “have a lot more input than I think we realize, but a lot of that, I think, again, is because people don't know what their student government is doing,” Adegbesan said, explaining that central to her campaign is the aim to change how student government addresses representation and collaboration.

For the past three semesters, Adegbesan has been the Senate’s Finance Chair. This experience put her in the center of communication with student organizations. “I have a lot of experience trying to figure out how to balance preferences, and how to come to the best conclusion for a group of people, whether that be 40 or 14,000. I can do both very well,” she said.

The policies Adegbesan and Garces propose cover several parts of the campus. To name a few, they want to start a commission for multicultural organizations to, as the website states, “honor, address, correct issues and concerns minority culture groups often face on campus.” They want to initiate an undergraduate and graduate student “connections program” to bridge the gap between campus members. They want to see an expansion of sustainable campus practices, including creating a university Department of Sustainability. They want to improve on the student employment model.

On how these policies would get done, Adegbesan told The Tartan that “one of the fantastic privileges that the student body president has is to get a meeting with any person they have to in the administration.” She says she’d work hard at “representing the student voice and student interests… talking to [the administration], informing them about things that we want, or things that are important to us.”

When asked what sets her apart from the other three candidates, Adegbesan said, “I know the ins and outs of student government, I know when it needs to change, and I know what actually can be done to help the student experience. I've been working on [these things] since I joined Senate, and now I'll just have the opportunity to actually see these things come to fruition.” A lot of the job of student body president, Adegbesan told The Tartan, is meeting with “a lot of people way above your paygrade,” representing the student body, and representing the university. “And as I've already done that… many of the same people that I talked to in [previous] positions are people that are happy to talk to me right now.”

Adegbesan’s pick for Vice President, Alejandro Garces, is a junior who also studies biology. He doesn’t have the experience Adegbesan has in student government, but he has had other leadership roles. He’s currently the brotherhood chair for the Phi Delta Theta chapter, is a member of the Spanish and Latin Student Association, and was selected to be an Orientation Counselor this year. Adegbesan said that while she is very informed about the ins-and-outs of student government, what Garces offers is that he knows more about what goes on outside of student government. “He’s very well connected on campus, and in a lot of different organizations, and he has a very good ear. So the two of us together work very effectively,” Adegbesan said.

“All of the candidates for Student Body President and Vice President are fantastic, amazing people, and I think the university is going to be in good hands with every single one of them,” Adegbesan told The Tartan. “But there’s one pair that they would be in great hands with.”