It’s not mandatory for UK’s student body president and vice president to live together, but one pair of candidates said their bond as roommates might give them an edge.
Tucker Lovett and Andy Flood are hoping to represent the student body as the top representatives in the UK SGA come election time later this week.
Lovett, who ran to be SGA vice president last year, said that it’s been his dream since arriving at UK to be the SGA president. This time around, he said the decision to choose Flood as the second half of his duo was an easy one.
“Both of us love the University of Kentucky,” said Lovett. “One night we were just sitting there mulling it over, the potential to do it, and I just said ‘Why don’t you just be my running mate?’”
Lovett is a junior studying agriculture economics and pursuing a minor in political science, who said he always enjoys to cheer on the UK basketball team.
“Outside of that I’m just a Kentucky boy from western Kentucky. I just love this state and love this university and everything its stands for,” Lovett said.
Flood is a junior pursuing a dual degree in finance and accounting who also has an affinity for the Bluegrass state and the Wildcats, but he said that this candidacy really isn’t about him or Lovett.
“It’s not about us. It’s not about Tucker and I… egos aside, it’s all 100 percent about the students,” Flood said.
The pair said that above all else, they hope their student government candidacy can inspire students to think big, but expect even more from their university.
“We want to empower students to think what they want, to tell us what they want, to give us their opinions, to give us their ideas, to give us their feedback and for us to take that and do even more,” Flood said.
Lovett said that his desire to run for SGA president was partly inspired because he believes that previous student government officials have often been “yes men” to university administrators, sacrificing the voices of students.
“Overall there’s been really no fight back for the student voice, and that’s our biggest ‘why,’” said Lovett. “We want the students to know that it’s about them.”
The first thing on this pair’s chopping block should they be elected is addressing student mental health and well-being. Lovett said he wants to work toward a day when every WildCard ID comes with important phone numbers like the UK Counseling Center, UKPD and others stamped on the back.
Another theme of Lovett’s campaign platform is battling against “overreach” from UK’s administrative officials.
Like many other students on campus, Lovett and Flood said they both observed the significant changes to UK tailgate culture stemming from the administration’s new student gameday zone. Lovett called the gameday zone a “total flop.”
“We are 100 percent in opposition of that, unless there is a total overhaul of the entire program,” Lovett said. “We believe there needs to be safer practices when it comes to tailgating.”
Another hot button issue that Lovett and Flood plan to address is the potential of tuition and fee increases for UK students. They plan to keep in line with previous SGA administrations, and stand against any increases.
Lovett and Flood also have some qualms with the UK WildCab ride sharing program. Lovett is proposing that total operation of the program be shifted to the responsibility of UK Transportation Services, and not UK SGA, which oversees some aspects of the program. He hopes those funds SGA allocates to WildCab can be redistributed to other programs.
“It’s a great program, but the reality is that it’s not big enough to support this big of a university,” Lovett said.
Lovett said that ensuring a diverse campus community that embraces its differences is also a goal of their candidacy.
“To us diversity is not about your religion, the color of your skin or any of that stuff. Diversity is about a difference of ideas, being able to think differently and embracing that. We believe that everyone person here has a reason to be here,” Lovett said. “In a world that’s so divided, that’s all we can do– is just bring people together.”
This pair of roommates turned candidates will take on incumbent SGA President Michael Hamilton and Vice President Candidate Kat Speece in the SGA Election marked for Feb. 27-28.
Lovett and Flood said they’re eager to use their outside perspectives to bring some fresh ideas to the offices of president and vice president.
“I think we’ve embraced it. It’s exciting and it gives us even more of a motivation. I think we have… an outside perspective,” Lovett said.