On Jan. 22 at 9:30 p.m., Vanguard SGA held their annual ‘Night of Speeches’ event, where candidates for SGA presidency Kipp Loft, Zoe Barba, and Amberly Gourlay campaigned for and shared their values with hundreds of student body members.
The event was moderated by Dr. Eunice Kang, professor of Political Science and International Relations at Vanguard, who opened up the night with a speech encouraging unity among the candidates and the Vanguard community. Current SGA President Jordan Hernandez also opened with prayer and encouragement for the three students. “No matter who wins, know that God is still glorified and will continue to work through our Vanguard campus,” he said to the audience.
Candidates were given a total of nine minutes to answer prompts including: “Who are you, what qualifies you for this position and what identities do you represent among the student body,” “What goal do you have for your time in office, and how do you plan to achieve that goal?“ and “Any remaining thoughts you want to share?”
Kipp shared that his career goals include getting a Master’s degree in psychology to become a marriage and family therapist, and he has worked closely with SGA through his experience in VU Rec and the OSE, and this year as the VU Rec lead. His goals if elected included improving the quality of the cafeteria food and bringing more parking spots to campus. He stressed the importance of providing more financial resources for students, “I believe that all campuses have financial issues that students deal with,” said Kipp. “Me personally, I’ve had to work 2-3 jobs at a time while being a full-time student, just to afford my tuition, gas, and girlfriend.”
Zoe’s qualifications for the position included her involvement in Activate, OSE, her position in SGA as the first multicultural representative, her leadership experience as RA of Catalina Hall, and her role as lettuce club historian. “As SGA president, I aim to be the voice for all, bridging the gaps between students and the higher-ups at Vanguard,” said Zoe. Her speech emphasized her desire to build more community on campus, strengthen school spirit, and promote inclusion at Vanguard.
Amberly shared her dreams of pursuing a career in international relations after school, and how Vanguard has become her new home after coming to the U.S. from South Africa. Her qualifications included her leadership roles in Activate, College Corps, and as an RA at Balport. Her vision for Vanguard was transforming it into a place of belonging by building prayer rooms on campus, an international student committee, and creating more recreational clubs. “Part of my dream is to really see people fully appreciating what we have, where we are, the school we go to, and the privilege of being at a Christian university.”
Dr. Kang closed off the night with prayer, inviting students to cast their ballots for SGA president: “You’re faced with a difficult decision, it’s like choosing between Chick-fil-A and In-n-out! Regardless of the outcome, I know God will use you all as servant leaders.”
After a run-off vote following a general vote, it was announced on Feb. 1 that Amberly won the election and is set to take office in Fall 2024.