SGA Childress/Foster

Student Government Association president and vice president. President Ben Childress (right), an economics senior, and vice president Elizabeth Foster (left), an electrical engineering junior, posed for a photo near Bradley Hall at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky. 2017 file photo. Photo by Joshua Qualls | Staff

Veteran SGA representatives Ben Childress and Elizabeth Foster are running together for Student Government Association president and vice president, respectively.

Childress, an economics senior, was a senator during his freshman year, senate president his junior year and currently serves as vice president. Foster, an electrical engineering junior, served as director of events her sophomore year and is currently chief of staff.

Despite, or perhaps because of their background with SGA, the candidates said they know that SGA needs improvement.

Childress remembered when he first became involved with SGA.

“Student government was really just a homogenous group of people, and there wasn’t a lot of diversity in thought and diversity in background and opinion,” Childress said. “I think that’s an issue.”

Childress and Foster said they want to work to make SGA an accurate representation of the UK student body, with people from all over campus connecting with SGA as a “vessel,” Childress said.

In order to reach this goal, Childress and Foster encourage their fellow students to reach out to them.

The candidates’ campaign includes four integral platforms based on the ideology of campus inclusion and connectivity: expansion of the WildCab program to alleviate parking issues, integrating a fall break into the academic calendar, increasing the availability of mid-sized funding grants and working with professors to compile a syllabus bank.

Despite their passion for SGA, neither candidate has plans to go into politics. But as the candidates became more involved with SGA and got to know each other as underclassmen, they knew they could form a good ticket together.

Childress said that he believes his involvement with SGA comes largely from his experience as an identical triplet. Childress said he has always been the mediator to keep his brothers from fighting.

“I think that started this lifelong habit of trying to mediate between people and form consensus,” Childress said. He said being a triplet also taught him empathy.

Being a woman in STEM has influenced Foster’s desire to advocate for all students to feel comfortable in UK classrooms. She said the UK electrical engineering program is only about 10 percent female.

“I have a little bit of insight into being someone in a room with people I don’t necessarily look like, and I’ve seen how that can affect confidence and performance in the classroom,” Foster said.

Childress and Foster hope to improve UK’s campus regardless of the election results.

“Whether I’m elected or not, that doesn’t change my vision and my goal and my hope for the rest of my undergraduate career at this university, and that’s to try to serve this student body as best as I can,” Childress said.

Voting for all SGA positions will be on March 1 and 2 at uksga.org.