Meet SGA executive VP candidate Jack Steinmetz

Jack Steinmetz is running uncontested for Student Government Association executive VP. The election will take place March 8, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on myBama. 

Carson Silas, Contributing Writer

Q: How did you get involved with the SGA?

A: I got involved freshman year through [First Year Council]. I was lucky enough to be selected, and through that I met a lot of great people. I made a lot of great strides as far as legislation and initiatives that helped me garner my SGA passion. Coming into the University, I knew that I wanted to do SGA because I was vice president of my high school. I was involved in SGA there and realized how cool it was, and here I’m glad to have the opportunity to do the same thing but on a bigger scale.

Q: What made you want to run for this position?

A: I’m running because my time is simply not done. Last year, I had a lot of opportunities to do great things, and this year, given the fact that I have another year at the University, I want to have another year in SGA to make great strides for students. I think the executive vice president is a really fitting role for me as far as my qualifications and the roles I’ve had. EVP is more of a manager of sorts. I think my experience with being first-year councilor, a senator and vice president would be beneficial.

Q: What are your thoughts on your election being uncontested?

A: I think that SGA gives an opportunity for all students to run. I don’t think that running uncontested says anything about me as a candidate. Even if the election was contested, I feel that I still would be the best candidate, given my experience and my platform.

Q: Why are you the best choice for this position?

A: EVP is more of a managerial role. It does require some more experience. I think of it as a three-pronged role. A managerial role, acting as a mediator between all of the vice presidents. It’s also a catchall. The legislation and initiatives that the EVP can propose are not contained in one sphere. Student affairs last year was something I wanted to do, but I passed it off to someone else because it was a better fit for their cabinet. With EVP, I can kind of do whatever I want. And finally, EVP is head of FYC, so that’s a cool full-circle moment for me. I feel like I’m becoming more of a mentor, and I’m excited to see that come through with SGA. Because of my experiences in multiple roles, I think that makes me the best candidate for EVP.

Q: What’s the biggest problem you see on campus?

A: One of my platform points is about the Counseling Center. As vice president for student affairs last year, I did a lot with Dr. [Ruperto] Perez regarding mental health on campus. I had a wellness week but did a lot of back-end work. One of the things I’m campaigning on this year is free counseling services for students. I think that it’s terrible that students have to pay $15 for counseling fees, especially for the first two or three sessions. It acts as a barrier to students getting the help that they need. Even though $15 might be a small amount, it’s still a barrier. Hopefully, if I’m elected to this role, I will continue to work with Dr. Perez and [Counseling Center Executive Director] Dr. [Greg] Vander Wal to continue the conversations I’ve had as vice president for student affairs and implement a student fee or figure out other ways to get funding for the Counseling Center. The Counseling Center keeps themselves in business by charging students, so if we can figure out better funding for the Counseling Center, we can eliminate that fee for students.

Q: How do you plan on increasing SGA transparency?

A: My campaign is built on five pillars, and one of them is transparency. One of the big things within that is doing campus town halls. SGA does Senate town halls. The first meeting of every month, we invite student organization leaders to come in and talk to the Senate. I want to expand that so all students are able to come and have University administrators, deans, SGA leaders, organization leaders across campus and have something similar to a panel. There isn’t an exact vision, but that’s where I see it. I think that having events like that regularly throughout the semester can open up dialogue and decrease barriers across campus.

Q: What’s your No. 1 goal with this position?

A: It has a few different avenues. I think of EVP as FYC’s dad, almost. I want to serve as a mentor for freshmen next year, so that is one main goal of mine. Secondly, I want to support the president and vice presidents in any way I can. I also want to push through my own initiatives.

A: I hope voters can see my commitment to SGA through my four years at the University. I’ve constantly served them and helped them out in any way. I also have a wide view of campus with my involvement around campus, particularly with Capstone Men and Women and University Fellows Experience. I think that I’m well positioned for this role, and I hope that voters choose to stick with Steinmetz on March 8 from 7 to 7.