The voting polls are open following the 2023 student body election debate

The 2023-2024 student body election candidates before the debate. Sydney Johnson | Sun News Daily

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The quote: “For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate,” by entrepreneur and CEO Margaret Heffernan encompasses what the student body election debate represented.

The candidates praised each other, shared their platforms and showcased who they are to the audience of students, faculty and staff March 7 in the Gardner Student Center living room.

The student body president candidates are:

  • Karson Ray, a senior biology major from Hurricane
  • Jose Toral, a senior communication studies major from St. George

The vice president of academics candidates are:

  • Aileigh Hansen, a senior management major from St. George
  • Nathan Gledhill, a junior mathematics major from St. George

The vice president of clubs and organizations candidates are:

  • Emma Bateman, a sophomore management major from St. George
  • Evie Barfuss, a sophomore design major from St. George

The six candidates, all with a hometown of southern Utah, expressed their thoughts on a plethora of diversified questions asked by audience members, Sun News Daily and the Utah Tech Institute of Politics.

Sydney Johnson | Sun News Daily

With an array of topics from mental health to the future Student Union building, the candidates expressed their opinions and ideas through sharing why they are the ideal candidate for their prospective position.

Sun News asked, “What is your leadership style, and how will it benefit Utah Tech?”

Ray said: “My voice is actually a pioneer; it is one of the loudest voices in the room, and we definitely enjoy logic and future-oriented perspective. Being a leader, you definitely need to be self-aware of your strengths and weaknesses and how that impacts the other people around you.”

Toral said: “I am a little bit more of the quiet voice, but I don’t think that is a bad thing. I believe that I have a really strong voice in the sense that I will fight for what students need.”

Hansen said: “I am also a pioneer voice, which tends to be one of the louder ones. I know what I want and know what my values are and what I believe in, and I am not afraid to speak up about it. I also am a connector and one of my favorite things is getting to know other people.”

Gledhill said: “There is a quote by Benjamin Franklin that I live by and that is ‘energy and persistence conquer all things,’ and that sums up pretty well my leadership style. I have a lot of energy as my friends can attest. I am also very persistent and determined in what I want to get done.”

Bateman said: “I am also a pioneer. With that being said, I am a very determined person. When I go for something, I give it my all, and that is exactly what the VP of clubs needs to be.”

Barfuss said: “I learned that I am a creative connecter, and what that is is the connector is really good at talking and getting to know a lot of people. I have ideas generating in my head constantly.”

Sydney Johnson | Sun News Daily

Cesar Ruiz, a senior English major from Littlefield, Arizona, asked the student body president candidates how each of their individual experiences with diversity makes them the qualified person to tackle that issue on campus.

Toral said: “Something that I have had the opportunity of is to spend more time in the CIB, which is in the Browning building, and just listening to all my friends over there and talking about what their needs are and what they want and would like to see in a president. I identify a lot in them because I come from a very different culture. Working with them more and collaborating with them more so they know their voices can be heard.”

Ray: “I won’t pretend to be an expert on diversity, not even the slightest bit, but I am a very effective collaborator, and I appreciate all of the work that is being done with the Multicultural and Inclusion Student Association. I think collaborating with MISA would be very beneficial for the student body president and the rest of UTSA.”

Sydney Johnson | Sun News Daily

For more information about the student body president candidates, vice president of academics candidates, and vice president of clubs and organizations candidates, head to the Sun News website and YouTube channel.

Voting is now open to all Utah Tech students and will close March 9 at noon. The new student body representatives will be announced the same day, March 9, at 1:30 p.m. on the @utahtechpolitics Instagram page.

Click here to vote.