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Vol Update’s student reporter sat down to talk with each of the Student Government Association campaigns to get a snapshot of the candidates, their campaigns, and their goals for the upcoming year.

Vol Update does not take a position on the Student Government Association candidates but encourages all students to vote.


kenydThe Keny-Dugosh campaign is just that: their names. If elected, Kelsey Keny, a junior in journalism and electronic media, and Connor Dugosh, a junior in English, want to be as visible to students as possible and close gaps in communication between students and SGA.

Keny is on the SGA Executive Board and serves as press secretary, and Dugosh is the Freshman Council adviser and a former senator.

Some policies Keny-Dugosh support include SGA giving out free scantrons during midterm and final exams, sponsoring a student-focused tailgate on game days, and allowing students to use of Dining Dollars at concession stands.

“We understand different areas of campus life at UT because we have dedicated ourselves to organizations and events we care about so much,” says Keny.

They hope to better represent students by taking every step, even those outside their comfort zones, to get to know students. “When working on things, we want every little initiative or policy that SGA passes or enacts to be better communicated,” says Keny. They also want to communicate with students when certain ideas don’t happen and explain why.

Keny transferred to UT from a smaller private university. With this experience, she wants to ensure that each student feels personally appreciated and represented at UT.


insert[Insert] strives to be relatable. Quinn Cowan, an undecided sophomore in the College of Business Administration, is running for president. Ryan Whitener, a freshman in political science, is running for vice president. Cody Walsh, a sophomore in modern foreign languages, is a candidate for the Board of Trustees student representative position and Kyle White, a senior in mechanical engineering, is running for student services director.

The group values campus beautification and want all construction to cease immediately. They have other plans for launching UT to become a Top 25 university. “The development of the UT Aeronautics and Space Administration’s efforts to construct a moon base,” says Cowan, “would absolutely launch our university to number one as a research university.”

The members emphasize their reasons for running. “We are not committed to SGA campaigning for the sole purpose of advancing our own career, of having something to put on a resume,” Cowan says. “We’re more here to make a statement and to convey a message rather than achieve our own personal gain.”

[Insert] intends to improve academics and the quality of life at UT while being more relatable to students. They said that they hope to represent a refreshing change to student government.

We Are UT

weareutThese four candidates have a vision for a better university. Carly Frensley, a junior in economics, has had many leadership opportunities on campus and wants to continue reaching out to every student to give them a voice. Katelyn Hadder, a sophomore in special education, is passionate about education and wants to see students reach their full potential.

R.J. Duncan, a sophomore double majoring in finance and marketing, is a “people person,” who wants to work with every student and administrators. Duncan is running as for the Board of Trustees student representative position. Jack Johnson is a fifth-year senior in communications studies with years of SGA experience.

The candidates chose their policies after doing a lot of research and considering what they can realistic get done. Brittany Bender, the We Are UT campaign director, said “I think we’re most focused on really giving everyone the opportunity to be a student here, and being a student successfully.”

The campaign supports full paperless ticketing for people with access to technology, so everyone can save paper and money. They have want to increase the number of lockout keys for those who live in residence halls from three to five.

“We do not release any policies unless we’ve done our full research and we know that we can do it,” Bender says.

Meet the Board of Trustees Student Representative Candidates

Along with [Insert]‘s Cody Walsh and We Are UT’s R.J. Duncan, two additional candidates are running for the UT Board of Trustees student position. They are independent from a larger campaign.

Grant Davis

Grant Davis, a senior in biosystems engineering, has served on the SGA Government Affairs Committee for three years. He considers that experience and his time as student services director to be fitting qualifications for the position.

“I have the experience, I have the relationships, I have the know-how, and I have the trust of a lot of leaders and administration here on campus,” he said.  The SGA committee has already been to Nashville to advocate against the proposed student activity fee legislation that arose out of UT’s student organized Sex Week. The committee also oversaw a letter-writing campaign on the same issue.

Davis has also been vocal on the proposed mandatory meal plan proposal that was presented to SGA last fall.

Matthew C. Riley

Matthew C. Riley is a graduate student in comparative and experimental medicine who serves on the Graduate Student Senate and Technology Advisory Board.  He has worked for the U.S. Army as a microbiologist.

Riley values the fact that in the first year, the student trustee serves as a nonvoting member and has a chance to become familiar with the procedures, policies, issues and bylaws.

He says his previous administrative experience qualifies him for the position. “I have experience as an officer in the Army in administrative issues and policies and how things are run, so that’s something I could definitely bring to this position that I think would be unique,” he said.

Riley decided to run because he sees many great things happening on campus and wants to get even more involved. He was impressed by the experience of serving on the Graduate Student Senate.

The SGA elections are this Wednesday and Thursday. Students can vote at booths located on Pedestrian Walkway from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. both days or vote on the Vote SGA website from 7:30 a.m. Wednesday until 4:30 p.m. Thursday.