SGA members meet presidential candidates

January 20, 2012


Staff Reporter


Executive members of the Student Government Association met Republican presidential candidates at the 2012 College Convention in Concord, N.H.


According to nec.com, high school and college students from across the country attend the convention every presidential election year to discuss and learn about national and social issues, as well as participate in town hall meetings.


The convention was hosted by New England College, Jan. 3-6 at the Grappone Conference Center.


“It gave us the opportunity to represent Tech and the state of Louisiana days before the New Hampshire primary, a pivotal point in this election and the future of our country,” said Shane Rich, vice president of SGA.


Rich said it also allowed them to interact with the presidential candidates and ask questions about their stance on certain issues. He said SGA members taking part in this convention will benefit the Tech student body.


“It enables us to bring programs to the university that can help encourage students to become educated and actively engaged in this election,” Rich said. “Unfortunately many citizens take their voting rights for granted and are uninformed.”


The presidential candidates who spoke at the convention were Jon Huntsman, Buddy Roemer and Rick Santorum. The SGA members also got the chance to see Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, who did not speak at the convention but spoke at another local forum.


Clint Carlisle, president of SGA, said it was completely different in person than how people typically view candidates from seeing them strictly on television. He said his opinions about the candidates changed once he saw them in person and experienced the actual process involved.


“It was extremely neat to see it from a first-hand perspective than from seeing it on television,” Carlisle said. “You actually get to see the way they deliver their points and give their speeches. You can see their passion and the way they react to things.”


Carlisle said Tech SGA members went to Concord with the Council of Student Body Presidents, which is a part of the Louisiana Board of Regents. He said COSBP is made up of SGA presidents from the state of Louisiana.


“Tech usually holds a pretty serious position,” said Carlisle, who also serves as vice chair of COSBP. “We want to be on the executive board so when it makes decisions we can make sure Tech and every student in the state is taken care of.”


Carlisle said the trip was paid for through the SGA’s quarterly budget for student travel funds. He said every year the SGA goes on one trip with the Board of Regents, and Carlisle said they chose to go to College Convention because it is an election year.


“It was a learning experience for us, but more or less an opportunity to make sure the candidates know exactly how we feel about higher education,” Carlisle said. “Now they know how passionate we are about the issue.”


Carlisle said the main reason SGA attended the convention was to represent the student body and endorse the importance of learning.


“Higher education is going to be something the candidates focus on as a president, not something that is going to be in the back seat,” Carlisle said. “We don’t want higher education to be cut, so we were there to make a point and we did that very successfully.”


Email comments to mmb041@latech.edu.


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