Introducing the Student Election Candidates
Reported by Ana Imes
Meet your candidates for Student Body President and Vice President of Associated Student Community (ASC) for the 2019-2020 school year at George Fox University (GFU)! Alexa Hamaker, a political science and philosophy double major, is running with Kevin Tshilombo, a marketing and management double major. Kokanee Ellingson, a psychology major, is running with Meghen Elford, a sociology major.
Hamaker and Tshilombo have been inspired to run by the potential they see in the student body.
“We have a really unique culture at George Fox and we want to cultivate an even better environment…. We want to empower people to know their representatives and what they can do,” Hamaker said.
“We want to be a medium through which they can express their voices and have their thought[s] and opinions brought to the tables of decision makers,” Tshilombo added.
The pair wants to “create better and clearer relationships between students and ASC” in light of recent restructuring and “make sure that there are more inclusive events and programming happening.”
According to Tshilombo, “this includes the empowerment of multicultural organizations…. Because they’re a key aspect to the success of a lot of students.” Hamaker is passionate about uniting the William Penn Honors Program (WPHP) with the rest of campus.
“There are really cool things that we do in the honors program that I think other people would love to be a part of,” Hamaker said.
Between the two of them, Hamaker and Tshilombo “reach the widest possible community at George Fox,” Hamaker claimed.
Hamaker was an athlete for two years and is a WPHP participant. Tshilombo, whose responsibilities as vice president would include leading the living area representatives, was a representative himself. He has worked in activities and events and is involved in multicultural life.
The two have very different majors. “When we have stretched ourselves to reach all different kinds of communities, I think we have a good perspective on what the average student is like,” Hamaker said.
If elected as president, Ellingson wants “to create a platform for other people to step onto and voice the ways that they feel like they need to be represented more. It’s more about being a resource and empowering other students.”
“We want students to realize that they can create the change,” her running mate Elford added.
Ellingson is passionate about “creating specifically safe spaces or environments for people to talk about tough conversations like mental illness.” In her role as social justice intern for Spiritual Life (SpiL), Elford “gets to do a lot of hard conversations and see a lot of hard things. This helped me see campus from many different perspectives and hear many different complaints and ideas that need to be changed.”
Ellingson and Elford want to reach out to “communities that feel like they’re not heard on campus. Sometimes there are communities that don’t feel like they have that voice,” Ellingson explained. Elford emphasized providing a “platform for people of color or any minorities really to be able to speak or bring people to campus to speak or share their stories.”
Ellingson believes her team is qualified because she and Elford “both have experience in leadership, we both have been on ASC, both of us have been on the representation team, which is the team that we will be running,” she said.
“We have experience working with students….Something that I love about our team is that it’s two women. I just like the idea of having a female president and vice president because that brings a new perspective that we haven’t seen in a long time. I think we’re both prepared and passionate about listening,” she said.