Honors students run for seats in Appalachian's Student Government Association

By Lakin Stevens.  

Appalachian’s Student Government Association (SGA) represents students’ voices by advocating for change on campus. Some of SGA’s initiatives include Climate Neutrality Act, Library 24/5, AppalCart, and Safe Ride which they work towards through legislation, advocacy, awareness, and representation on the Board of Trustees. 

Fall 2020 is the time for several students to campaign for a position in SGA, several of which are Honors students: Keyona Anthony, Hannah Blankenship, Nadine Jallal, Hunter Koch, Matthew Mair, Olexandr Ramsey, Connor Ranes, Lily Ronk, Connor Schlaline, Kayla Slade, Molly Spruill, and Jason Turcios.

Read below to hear from each student candidate directly about their platform, and why they want to serve students through SGA!

Keyona Anthony, sophomore - Honors and Academics Seat

“I am running for an Honors and Academics Seat. I am a Sophomore Psychology major. Last year I had the opportunity to serve as a General Senator and this year I serve as the Senate Clerk. This year I am striving to provide transparency, advocacy and leadership. It would be an honor to represent the Appalachian State University Honors College with these three pillars. I would like to continue my role in Student Government because being a student leader on this campus is a great passion of mine, as I also serve as an Honors Vanguard. Please consider to vote Keyona Anthony for Honors and Academics!”  

Hannah Blankenship, first-year - Honors and Academics Seat

“My name is Hannah Blankenship, I am running for the academics and honors senate seat. I am from Durham, NC, and graduated from the NC school of science and math. In high school, I was on the basketball team, tennis team, and was captain of the FRC robotics team. In my free time, I enjoy painting, weaving plastic lanyards, rock climbing, and cooking!  As an honors and academics student senator, I hope to increase freshman participation in research labs at App State. Ideally, I hope to create and maintain an online database that displays various on-campus labs, the lab mentor, and their past/current projects, and hopefully match students with research mentors in their field of interest! Through the role of student senator, I hope to further prepare my fellow honors students for their career/education beyond App. Through participating in undergraduate research, my classmates will learn invaluable research, technical, business, and soft skills that are rarely taught in a classroom setting!” 

Jakobe Bussey, sophomore - College of Arts and Sciences Seat

"Here are the central tenets of my campaign (in brief): 
  • LOWER COSTS- College debt is out of control. It’s time we FIGHT BACK.     
  • A GREENER FUTURE- It's our future, and our responsibility. We need a Green future. We need APP to be Carbon Neutral NOW.
  • A DIVERSE CAMPUS- Diversity of thought, person, and ability is what makes a campus strong. As a senator, I will strive to promote DIVERSITY.
  • GREATER ACCOUNTABILITY- During a pandemic, Students need to know all the facts. We want the TRUTH."

Nadine Jallal, first-year - Multicultural Affairs Seat

“Hello, my name is Nadine Jallal and I am a freshman at Appalachian State University. I am a member of Muslim Student Associaton. As a minority here at ASU, my main goal is to get involved and put myself out there in order to make campus more comfortable for other people of color. This is why I am running for the Multicultural Affairs seat in SGA! As a Multicultural Affairs Senate, I vow to make the space more inclusive. I vow to listen to your voices and collaborate with every Multicultural club/organization. As diversity at ASU increases, POC involvement in such prominent organizations like SGA is vital to our comfort and sense of community!”

Hunter Koch, junior - Honors and Academics Seat

“Hello all. My name is Hunter Koch, and I am running for a Honors and Academics seat in the upcoming student election. I am a third-year political science student from Asheville, NC. I am a member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, Club Lacrosse, PECM, College Democrats, and the Honors College. I had the option to run for a multitude of seats but chose the Honors and Academic seat because I feel most passionate about what happens to students involved in this community. If elected, I will do my best to protect student GPAs through the use of the pass-fail system if the university goes back online as a result of COVID-19. I also hope to bring forth added transparency to the university and their response to COVID-19 through the SGA spotlight. For these reasons, I have chosen to run for SGA senate in the hopes that I can be a fair and robust representative for you and other members of the Appalachian State community. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to my email kochhk@appstate.edu. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I hope to represent you all soon!”


Zannah Kukral, sophomore - Senate Seat

"As a member of the student senate last year, I was a ranking member on the rules committee and the parliamentarian for the second semester of the session.I am extremely passionate about students rights, transparency, student wellness and sustainability. If elected, I will work to champion these platform pillars within our senate through initiatives such as updated legislative records, easy to access meeting minutes, student counseling center reform, medical amnesty for all substances, sustainability within campus and much much more. Now more than ever, it is important that the student body has a voice. I’d love it if you voted for me to not only represent the sophomore class, but honors students as well. If you have any questions, feel free to reach me at kukralzp@appstate.edu."

Matthew Mair, first-year - Honors and Academics Seat

“I am running for the Honors/Academic seat for the SGA Student Senate. I have past leadership experience as the President of my school's Chamber Choir and our Tri-M Music Honor Society. I was also involved in student government all four years of high school. I know this year is very different in many ways, which is why one of my goals is to improve or at least standardize online teaching communications across all classes. This could include a standard absence amnesty policy due to covid, as well as encouraging professors to be clearer in their online communications to students. I would also like to increase networking among the Honors College, perhaps working with the Honors Peer Mentoring program to help underclassmen make useful connections that will benefit them at Appalachian and in the future. I hope to serve Appalachian and the Honors College through SGA by giving the Honors College the representation and recognition it deserves. I also want to improve the academic learning experience for all students at Appalachian, especially during these difficult times.”

Karolyn Martin 

"I have served in SGA for the past two years, first as a freshman class senator and then as an honors an academics senator. I am passionate about SGA, enhancing students' lives, and improving the inner workings of SGA. She values transparency, wellness, and diversity."

Jessica Navarro, junior - College of Fine and Applied Arts Seat

"I wish to bring equality in the form of representation, community in the form of shared spaces and sustainability in the form of initiatives. So much creativity and actions comes from the students already through their projects and work in the classrooms, it’s about providing the resources necessary to keep that happening in an environment that fosters growth and genuine connection."

Olexandr Ramsey, first-year - Senate Seat

“I am running for the Freshmen Senate Seat (Freshmen Rep.). By the way, my name for the ballot is Olexandr Ramsey. My main campaign is ease of access for West side residents to East side services and vice versa. Some other actions I support are religious freedom, social equity, and sustainability… I am a Congressional Award Gold Medalist, an Honors Student, and an ACES cohort member. Through these cohorts, I represent a well roundedness in service, education, and personal development. I just feel it would be a great honor to represent my fellow Freshmen in our SGA.” 

Connor Ranes, first-year - Senate Seat

“I am running for senate. My core values include anti-racism, mitigating the effects of climate change, and mental health. I would like to see more compost bins around campus, a larger attitude of dismantling racism, and more resources allocated towards mental health and mental health awareness.”

Connor Schlaline, senior - Honors and Academics Seat 

“I am Connor Ryan Schlaline, a senior starting my third year at Appalachian. I have served the student body as a senator for the last two years, and I was recently reelected to serve as the chair of the SGA Senate Committee on Rules for the second year in a row. I passionately represent student interests in academic policy (one of my greatest accomplishments includes directly assisting in the development of the enhanced pass/no-credit grading system offered to students last semester to protect students' GPAs from suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic), shared governance (as students, our voices are our greatest assets, and they need to be heard and respected), and operational transparency (after all, if SGA is spending tens of thousands of student dollars, we should know how they are spending it). Throughout my service as a Senator, I have been one of the most vocal senators in both Senate and Committee meetings, and I plan to continue to represent the Honors College and the rest of the student body to the absolute best of my ability. I am a member of the Senate Coalition for Progress, which you can see more about here, or you can reach out to me directly any time at schlalinecr@appstate.edu.”

Kayla Slade, first-year - College of Fine and Applied Arts Seat

“Hello Everyone! My name is Kayla Slade and I am running both Honors/Academic and a senate seat for the College of Fine and Applied Arts. I am a journalism major with a double minor in Criminal Justice and Documentary Studies. Throughout my high school career, I have held numerous high ranking positions that enabled me to cultivate a variety of skills, allowing me to become an effective leader going forward. Questions, comments, and concerns are not only welcomed but encouraged!! My best method of communication would be instagram or email but any form of contact will guarantee a response from me!" Click here for more on Kayla.

Molly Spruill, first-year - Honors and Academics Seat

“I’m running for an Honors and Academic seat in the hope to represent the Honor College this year. I'm originally from Clyde, North Carolina and I’m majoring in Political Science with a concentration in American Politics. As one of your Senators I vow to be an active and reliable part of our Honor’s Community. My goal is to help build policies that would not only benefit the college but the whole of the university itself. I am very passionate about inclusivity and equality in academics and intend to strive and work towards this in the Senate. I wish to serve you and Appalachian because I feel that together we can help the University and College grow and adapt.”  

Jason Turcios, sophomore - Honors and Academics Seat 

“Hi, everyone! I first joined the organization last year as a General Senator, joining committees within the organization while upholding the duty of representing the school as an ASU/ASG Delegate. I currently serve as the Chair for the Academic Affairs Committee, and hope to continue to advocate for students at App!”

Published: Sep 2, 2020 8:26am