Meet Your 2011-12 Student Body Vice President Candidates

Next up in our Meet-Your-Candidates Smorgasbord: the Student Body Vice Presidential candidates.

They are (in alphabetical order): Alex Ehmke, Joseph Esau and Roza Essaw.

There was one other candidate, Laura Schur, but she dropped out so that she could student teach next semester.

With that in mind, the info is after the jump.

Name: Alex Ehmke

Classification: Junior

Expected Graduation: May 2012

Major(s): Political Science, Public Policy, Economics

Minor(s): Spanish, History, Latin American Studies

Campaign Website:

Activities/Organizations You’re Involved In at SMU: College Republicans, Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity, Speech and Debate, Daily Campus Writer, Daily Campus Board of Directors, *Student Senate, *Maguire Center for Ethics Advisory Board, *SMU Catholic Center Vickery Meadow Volunteer

* denotes current activities

Awards/Honors You’ve Been Given at SMU: Dedman Scholar, International Baccalaureate Scholar, Phi Beta Kappa, Senator of the Month

Why are you running for Student Body Vice President?

I am running for vice-president because I feel that I can best represent the interests of the students. While senate is proactive in creating policies, its officers must also be prepared to react to administration decisions and suggestions by inputting student opinions. Because I have been in Senate for so long and have been involved in so many areas on campus, I want to serve as the SB vice-president so that student opinions are best represented.

What do you hope to accomplish as SBVP if you’re elected?

Through legislation, I want to encourage the administration to revisit some of their established policies: snow day announcements, the Park ‘N Pony appeals process, syllabi publications, and laptops in the classroom (which is actively being worked on). Furthermore, I want to collaborate with the administration to hammer out good policies regarding the future sophomore live-on-campus requirements. I feel that this change will greatly affect our university, and so I think it’s extremely important that it have a solid foundation.

What’s your campaign slogan (if you have one)?

[Ed. note: Ehmke did not submit a slogan, but rather his campaign’s website, which I’ve moved above.]

Why should SMU students vote for you?

SMU students should vote for me because I know and love every part of this school. I’ve worked with the Indian Student Association, the Student Bar Association, Women in Law, Program Council, Alternative Spring Break, the East Asian Student Association, and dozens of others. I understand these separate communities, and the issues relevant to them, along with concerns of the student body as a whole. Finally, because I’ve been in Senate for three years, have served on some of the most vital committees, and have never missed a senate meeting, I have the experience to bring about desired changes.

What’s your favorite thing about SMU?

Sing Song and Peruna – two of the greatest traditions in the entire school

What, if anything, needs to change at SMU?

The SMU administration needs to work to be more responsive to student concerns. While there are certainly institutions in place for conveying student opinion (Student Senate, Dr. White’s student advisory board, student member of the SMU Board of Trustees, etc.), my experience in Senate has been that these opinions are sometimes brushed off. I would like to see an administration that was eager not only to listen, but also to consider wholeheartedly student input.


Name: Joseph Esau

Classification: Senior

Expected Graduation: May 2012 B.S.E.E., May 2013 M.S.E.E.

Major(s): Electrical Engineering and Mathematics

Campaign Website: Vote JOSEPH ESAU for Student Body VICE PRESIDENT!

Activities/Organizations You’re Involved In at SMU: Student Senate, HTSC Governing Board, IEEE @ SMU, Alpha Phi Omega, Lyle School of Engineering

Awards/Honors You’ve Been Given at SMU: Minority Academic Award of Merit, Engineering Fellows Scholar, Hilltop Scholars Program, Featured writer in the 2009-2010 Criteria First-Year Writing Manual

Why are you running for Student Body Vice President?

I believe that I am the most qualified candidate for the office of Student Body Vice-President. I want to make sure the Senators are held accountable towards their constituency and school of record. The Student Body Vice-President is responsible for the administration and coordination of all activities of the Student Senate, and properly fulfilling this role starts with strong, competent, and knowledgeable leadership. I have proven in my past work in Senate through legislation, floor debate, and my committee work that I can represent the student body’s interests to the administration of SMU as well as develop strong relationship between student organizations and the Student Senate. Finally, I have the necessary knowledge and skills required from my experience as Student Senate Parliamentarian to train Senators and Chairs to represent their constituency to the best of his or her abilities in the Student Senate.

What do you hope to accomplish as SBVP if you’re elected?

I will increase accessibility towards the Office of Student Body Vice-President and make Student Senate accessible to the student leadership and organizations of the SMU community and constantly voice any concerns they may have to the administration. I will also make time for meetings with student leaders on campus to address their questions and concerns about their organization. I will continue to participate and assist in the work of committees of the Student Senate as well as author legislation on the Senate floor. I will assist other members of the Student Senate in order to carry out their duties as prescribed in the Governing Documents of the Students’ Association. I want to return Student Senate to its original purpose stated in our Student Body Constitution’s Preamble, which is to “establish a forum to represent all students by enforcing the Student Body Constitution and Student Senate By-Laws, act as a communicative body among the students, administration, and faculty, protect the rights of students and ensuring a student voice in the decision-making process of the University, establish policies which govern the actions of students, and promote opportunities for intellectual growth.” To that end, I want to provide increased accessibility for all student organizations on campus and show how Student Senate can be an on-campus resource that can ensure the success of any student organization.

What’s your campaign slogan (if you have one)?

The Sky is the Limit. Vote Joseph Esau for Student Body Vice-President.

Why should SMU students vote for you?

SMU students should vote for me because I have the most experience and working knowledge of the Student Senate than any of the other candidates running against myself. This is evident by the numerous pieces of legislation I have passed that have benefitted the student body, my committee work on the Student Concerns, Scholarship, Finance, Executive, and Research and Recommendations Committee, and by my representation of numerous student organizations on various issues brought before the Senate floor. Students know me as one of the most accessible and knowledgeable Senators in the Student Senate, and the Office of Student Body Vice-President needs a leader who can train new Senators, administer the Student Organizations Affiliate Program, prepare Senate committee budgets for the new semester budgeting process, and assist Senators and Chairs with the execution of legislation and all pertinent Senate business. I will also be able to perform the duties of Student Body President in the President’s absence. Strong and knowledgeable leadership is important in order to guide the student body into the second century of Southern Methodist University.

What’s your favorite thing about SMU?

I love the academic environment and school spirit at SMU. The opportunity for student leadership here at SMU has been unmatched at any other university within the United States in my opinion. I want to be able to continue to provide those opportunities to students at SMU within and beyond the Student Senate.

What, if anything, needs to change at SMU?

There needs to be stronger leadership within the Student Senate that understands the rules and operating procedure of the Student Senate and still be accessible to the student body at the same time. There needs to be more in-depth training provided to all members of the Student Senate that emphasizes the importance of each individual’s role, and making sure that the Executive Leadership of the Student Senate is capable of providing support and assistant towards executing all legislation passed by the Student Senate as well as any pertinent Senate business. There has to be more opportunities for students here at Southern Methodist University to be able to voice their opinion, and the 98th Student Senate needs to facilitate that.


Name: Roza Essaw

Classification: Sophomore

Expected Graduation: May 2013

Major(s): Communication Studies and Political Science

Minor(s): Human Rights

Campaign Website: Vote Roza Essaw for Vice President

Activities/Organizations You’re Involved In at SMU:

First Year Senator  (2009-2010); Membership Committee Chair (2010-2011); Scholarship Committee Vice Chair (2010-2011); Political Action Chair, Association of Black Students (2010-2011); Research Assistant, Real Politics (2010-2011); Speech and Debate Team, Competitor (2009-2011); Dallas Communication Initiative, External Affairs Manager (2010-2011); President’s Commission on Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention (2010-2011); Student Foundations Ambassador (2010-2011); Public Affairs Chair, SMU Service House (2010-2011); Hegi Family Career Center Advocate (2010-2011); Facilitator, SMU Service House (2010-2011); PULSE Campus Ministry (2009-2011); The Hill Campus Ministry (2009-2010); Contributing Writer, Daily Campus (Spring 2010); AARO and Mustang Coral Leader (Summer 2010)

Awards/Honors You’ve Been Given at SMU:

Ray and Nancy Hunt Leadership Scholar, Mustang Scholar, Communication Studies Advisory Board Scholar,  Bill and Melinda Gates Scholar (not from SMU), University Honors Program, Honor Roll with Distinction, Pre-law Scholar

Why are you running for Student Body Vice President?

(I think this question is answered by the others)

What do you hope to accomplish as SBVP if you’re elected?

My agenda is YOUR agenda; the voices and concerns of the SMU community will ALWAYS take precedence. Senators and student body officers have not always voted on legislation that represents the interest of their constituents. To help ameliorate this problem senators need to dedicate more time getting to know what issues their constituents care about and office hours are a great way for students to come and speak to their constituents:

  • In order to improve communication amongst representatives and constituents, I move to require designated office hours for each senator which are made known to the community
  • Enact legislation which directs student senate to hold monthly town hall meetings in order to create a positive and transparent relationship with the student body.

As expressed by the student body not having reading days posses a huge detriment to the success of exams. Thus, I will make a continued effort to secure reading days for the years to come. Finally, in order to assist the 80% of SMU students who receive financial assistance, senate must invest additional compensation to help offset budget cuts for Texas Equalization Grant, Pell Grant and other financial aid services.

What’s your campaign slogan (if you have one)?

Genuine. Driven. Passionate.

Why should SMU students vote for you?

  • Genuine: If elected to be vice-president I will make sure I am providing honest representation to my constituents, which means I will not vote for legislation that aligns only with my interest or that of my friends. Rather, all the work I do will be for the interest of the student body, and when unethical practices take place, I will stand up against it, as I have in the past.
  • Driven. What is great about my driven quality is that in ensure the work will get done no matter how challenging or time consuming it may be. Throughout my life I have encountered many obstacles, but I did not let obstacles obstruct my goals. Instead I worked tirelessly to overcome the barriers. My goal of being the best vice-president I can be will be met because as a driven individual I will not rest until the work is accomplished.
  • Passionate. Student Senate is not just another organization I want to add to my resume, but it is sincerely one of the organizations I love and care about. Anytime someone does work out of passion, it is bound to be excellent and that is exactly the type of work I hope to produce.

What’s your favorite thing about SMU?

A culmination of various opportunities unique to SMU enriches my experience:

  • Academics:  SMU’s excellent faculty and rigorous academic track have allowed me to take challenging and intriguing courses in various disciplines. Our academic program also makes it possible to have intimate interaction with my professors and classmates.
  • Networking Opportunities: SMU’s unique connections to prominent figures have allowed me to interact on a personal level with influential members of society such as Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Ray Hunt, President George Bush and First lady Laura Bush.
  • Involvement: The diverse organizations made available have allowed me to further explore my passion and enact real change on campus and in my community. Whether it is through Student Senate, The Dallas Communication Initiative or the Service House, I have been able to work on projects that have contributed to the betterment of SMU and the Dallas community.

What, if anything, needs to change at SMU?

Manage Cost of Attendance: Making SMU a cost-affordable university should be a top priority because with the recent budget cuts for financial aid and the economic downfall, affording SMU is becoming difficult for many families. In order to continue recruiting more students and maintaining a high retention rate, increasing scholarships and financial aid are a necessity.

Improve School Spirit: We have made improvements in this area but that is not to say we cannot do better. School spirit does not only mean showing up to football games, but also supporting other sports and organizations on campus.


About Meredith Shamburger

Meredith is a journalist working for the Longview News-Journal in Longview, Texas.
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4 Responses to Meet Your 2011-12 Student Body Vice President Candidates

  1. Pingback: Student Senate Elections: The Candidates | Hilltop Politics

  2. Pingback: Meet Your 2011-12 Dedman II Senator Candidates | Hilltop Politics

  3. Pingback: Meet Your 2011-12 Lyle Senator Candidates | Hilltop Politics

  4. Pingback: Meet Your 2011-12 Meadows Senator Candidates | Hilltop Politics

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