SGA President & VP Interview: Matthew Cassidy & Deanna Loew
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Politics and Activism

SGA President & VP Interview: Matthew Cassidy & Deanna Loew

We all know that the SGA President & Vice President elections are coming up - but do we all know who we're voting for?

SGA President & VP Interview: Matthew Cassidy & Deanna Loew

As most of you may know, Rollins SGA President & Vice President elections are coming up. This involves a flooding of new posters, new campaigns, and most importantly, new questions needing to be answered.

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing two of the candidates: Matthew Cassidy and Deanna Loew - both active members of the Rollins community with a great friendship. We talked about their values, motives, and goals. We even got them talking about some of their precious secrets...

Listen to the full interview here:

Q: What will you do if you are not elected as SGA President and Vice President?

Matt: Last year when I ran for office, unfortunately, I lost by literally a couple votes. And that did, you know, hit me in the heartstrings there, but I understood that I wanted to carry out my mission and that mission was to serve the students. And so the first week of the next year I worked… to get Doorstep Delivery on the R-card even though I did not hold an elected office at that time… And so I think that will still carry, I know for Deanna and I, we still are passionate about the students, that’s why we’re running in the first place. So I strongly believe that even if the student body does not feel that we’re ready for this position that we will continue to serve them in every way possible.

Deanna: And that’s the thing that we really want to get across, we are already serving the student body. It’s just a little bit more difficult as senators to implement all the things that we want to implement… We do stuff every day. Every Wednesday we meet for senate, we pass legislation and that’s what we do in our everyday lives but we want to do it better.

Q: What do you think makes you the better candidates?

Deanna: I wouldn’t say “better” or “worse”, I would say, “different”. We collectively have three years of experience in the Senate. We know how it works, I’m President Pro-Tempore and that means that when Gabby is out of town I run the Senate... So, it would just be a natural progression into that, whereas our opponents have never actually been in Senate… You need to be able to understand the Senate and understand the student body needs and understand what we do, what we can do, what our constraints are, what we want to accomplish, and to be able to accomplish it. So I think that, logistically, we are better prepared for that position.

Matt: Yeah, she hit the nail right on the head there. Experience. That’s what makes us “different” candidates for sure… Not only that but we have experience within the organization which is important to run the organization as well. And so, we have done our very best to serve our students, that’s why in the past we’ve worked with Doorstep Delivery to get them on the R-card, we’ve started the Safety Rides service together, which allows students to get around campus during the evening time on golf carts… so that they feel safe and secure, and so we’ve taken a variety of issues and we look to find solutions. We have ideas and solutions that move us all forward, and that’s why we believe we’re the right candidates.

Q: What kind of standards do you think the SGA President and Vice President should be held to?

Matt:I think that they should be held to the upmost standards… This past year, I actually passed a constitutional amendment to raise the standards of the Executive branch. Previously you could get away with a 2.7 or 2.5 [GPA] on exec board, and we raised that to a 3.0. And not only that but we added more requirements to it, because we believe the President and Vice President should be held to the highest standards… That was before our run was even conceived of… We want the President and the Vice President to be honest and transparent, which is why we have been straightforward with our platform since day one. We have told the students what we wish to accomplish, and we have asked the students what they wish to accomplished, and we’re the only candidates in this race so far that have been transparent with the platform.

Deanna: The Vice President and the President are constantly interacting with the highest-up people at this school… And I think that because of that they need to be people who have… outrageous activity within the school. They need to understand the student body and I feel like because of that they need to be in a ton of clubs, like Matt and I are, they need to have a firm grasp of, basically our constituents, which is what we already do as senators.

Q: What made you both decide to run?

Matt:We care about the students *Deanna Agrees*. We are so passionate about the students, I mean… we’ve been in SGA since day one… We believe that in order to serve [the students] best, that the students need an elevated voice. And we believe we offer them that elevated voice... For years now, the students have voiced many concerns, and they have been answered, slowly but surely. This year, and with our running, we want to answer them promptly, quickly, and efficiently. During this campaign, we promised two things recently. More scooter parking on campus, and more hammocks by the lake. In one week… we have accomplished that. I can probably announce this for the first time, but we have approved 18 new scooter-parking locations, and it’s only been a week since we started to work on that. Imagine what a presidency and vice-presidency with Matt and Deanna could accomplish if we can do that in just one simple week.

Deanna:We work very fast. Cassidy and I have a very good working relationship... We like to challenge each other, because I feel like that’s where the best ideas come from *Matt Agrees*. And I think that because of that, actually, Matt asked me to be his Vice President and there wasn’t even a thought… I was just like, well of course. Of course we can do this, and of course, we can get it done… I also think what’s really important is, we are really involved. We don’t need to boost our résumé at all. This is really us just caring about the students… we don’t really care about the line on the résumé.

Q: Are you prepared to deal with the frustrations of government?

Deanna:We do this everyday *laughter*. This is what we do, that’s our job. I think it’s actually more difficult as a senator to deal with all of this stuff because you have the backlash of the exec board sometimes. I think what’s interesting about my position is that I sit in exec board, but I’m also a senator. I kind of am the balance between the Executive board and the senators. Because of that, I think that I’ve kind of been able to view both sides. I’ve realized that a few things need to change about the Senate, like the transparency of the exec board to the Senate… Just be more transparent, give out the minutes from the exec board, things like that because important things are said during that meeting that aren’t said during the Senate… We are engulfed in that everyday, and it’s not like being in any other leadership position because it really is a very rigid form of leadership.

Matt: What was actually extremely frustrating through my own personal experience was working with the President of the Valencia SGA, Alejandra… We’ve had a working relationship outside of just the normal affairs of SGA, so CJ introduced me to Alejandra and we’ve had a couple of meetings outside on our own free time where we discussed ideas and plans to move both organizations forward to both schools. And, it’s really hard because I cannot go ahead and work with her without the consent of the Executive board, the senate, and more importantly the President and Vice-President… So as President and Vice President I will be able to continue this already established working relationship… We’re not just working to improve our school… from just the perspective of ourselves, we’re looking at other… institutions to see what we can do together… Such as Sunrail discounts, right now we’re working on the Sunrail and trying to get a discount for the fare there, and so there are all sorts of things that we have moving forward as plans. And it comes with collaboration of plans, not just with our students but with other institutions as well.

Q: What is one of the most important topics at Rollins that would need your attention as President and Vice President?

Matt: It’s obviously the students. We need to get things going. When you look in the past, many students don’t know what SGA has done or what they can do… And so we want to make it clear that we are here to serve the students in any way possible. And that is why we have shown, already, through our leadership that we are able to get things done, and we will be able to get things done for the students. The hammock idea came from a good friend of mine… the student parking came from another good friend of mine in campus safety… Just last evening… I spoke to the girls of ADPi, and they said they want more options off campus, for the meal plan. And seeing that… I was able to get seven more options, I don’t think one more is a problem. So we are listening to the students, and we’re finding ideas and solutions that are going to move us all forward. The number one project… I think is gym renovations… Deanna and I already have in the works a $20,000 gym renovation, that’s just right now. As President and Vice-President, we’d ensure that that goes up to $250,000. We’ve been meeting with all these great leaders… from our administration… for the past year. This is not something we decided to do overnight. This is something that we have realized as students, [students] need their voice heard now more than ever. And that is why we are fighting for those student voices.

Deanna: We also really want a homecoming… This year I was on the events committee in SGA and I understand what went wrong and why we didn’t get a homecoming, and so I plan on switching that around and actually doing a homecoming. Getting the fraternities and sororities involved, and having this giant thing for school spirit because Rollins does not have enough school spirit, and I think that that starts with a homecoming.

Matt: We’re really trying to look out for the students, and whatever concerns they have, bring it to us and we’ll be glad to help.

Check out SGA Presidential candidate Dylan Bassham & VP Angel Whetstone's interview here.

Find out Matt & Deanna's secrets and fun facts here.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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