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Gupta, Unegbu square off in election for SA IVP

Illustration by Ndidi Nwosu

By Bonnie Zhao     2/15/22 11:12pm

Trisha Gupta, current Student Association chief of staff, and Crystal Unegbu, current new student representative for Hanszen College and a member of SA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, are the two candidates running for SA internal vice opresident this year.

Gupta, a Sid Richardson College junior, said that she’s been involved with the SA since her freshman year and had served as an NSR and senator for Sid Richardson College.

“I feel like a lot of my experiences have led me to consider what could be changed within the SA, and those changes can tangibly be made through the role of IVP,” Gupta said.

Gupta said that the issues of transparency and accessibility, which consistently come up in the SA, are things that she has specifically tried to work on in her role as a senator and as chief of staff.

“I’ve really tried my best to make [SA] projects widely available to undergraduates to show people pipelines of proposing an idea and getting involved with leading the idea or handing it off to someone else in there,” Gupta said. “So we can take those experiences and institutionalize them in a sense that really puts projects out there and gets people involved in the SA as a whole.”

Unegbu, a Hanszen freshman, said that she chose to run for IVP because her current roles as an NSR and a committee member allow her to work closely with the IVP, which helps her have the ability to influence and plan events to foster an environment that achieves the great plans many students have.

“I think that by participating in senates and retreats, I know what ended up working well and not so well,” Unegbu said. “By hearing other people’s perspectives on that, I know I will be able to utilize that to make the necessary changes for better retreats, better communication and better engagement.”

Unegbu said that the majority of the work she wanted to accomplish this term she has been a part of through the diversity and inclusion committee. 

“The work I was doing to help our multicultural student body find their niches is not over. I really want to carry over my diversity plans by ensuring the diversity and inclusion committee continues to keep our student body’s cultures at hand,” Unegbu said.

Gupta said that the three pillars of her platform are accessibility, collaboration and structure, which she thinks especially play into the three parts of the SA that the role of IVP oversees.

“[Accessibility] means collecting feedback more thoroughly from students who are underrepresented, like student athletes, or transfer students or non-traditional students … and [letting] students who have things to say about certain issues can attend our meetings and express their opinions without any fear or any barriers,” Gupta said.

According to Gupta, in terms of collaboration, she thinks that the SA can do a better job of including all undergraduates students involved and not keeping initiatives to itself. And in terms of structure, she wants to introduce structural changes in order to enfranchise NSRs more.

“[NSRs] do all the same things that senators do, and they come to the Senate as frequently as presidents do, but they don’t have the right to vote on legislation,” Gupta said. “And another really important structural change to be made is to connect a long-term faculty member to serve as [NSRs’] mentors to help them navigate administration and help them advance all their projects throughout the school year.”

Unegbu said that her platforms are focused on transparency via publicity, committees’ reformations and influencing future leaders. 

“My first platform is going to address the lack of knowledge our student population has with the student association, which leads to misconceptions across many,” Unegbu said. “I believe the SA becoming a more prominent organization at our school is the first step. My second platform is to reform the current framework of committees because in my experience it can feel like no progress is being made in committees due to not knowing what step to take next in projects or who to refer to. My third platform is to work on improving the new student representatives’ responsibilities so that their role in the student association and senate can better influence their leadership skills to help them excel in their projects.”

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