Sarah Beth Huntley
Happy Vanderbilt Election Season! This year, there are two campaigns running for Vanderbilt Student Government President and Vice President. I had the opportunity to catch up with Kayla Prowell and Chandler Quaile, who are running for president and vice president, respectively.
To start things off, I asked Kayla what inspired her desire to maintain a head position in VSG after her past year as Vice President. “There’s so many initiatives and bills that we had this year that are like halfway through, that we’ve completed that we know can expand on,” she stated. She went on to talk about the Graduate and Professional School Application Assistance (GAP) fund, as well as plans for a food pantry and the continued maintenance of the thrifting pop-ups. “We’re almost done with it, but I feel like if we just had one more year we could wrap up getting a permanent food pantry on campus, as well as getting pop-up locations throughout campus.”
They also talked to me about their biggest platform points. “One of the biggest ones for me,” Chandler said, “is continuing the advocacy work for the Asian Studies minor.” This point stays true to their theme of “Keep Moving Forward,” as this is another item they have already begun working on within VSG. He also put an emphasis on getting an international students’ coach and pushing for campus safety through several initiatives, including better lighting. “Campus safety is so apparent right now. We have to protect each other,” he said, as he emphasized working to protect “women, gender non-conforming, and femme folks on this campus.”
This work they have already begun through their current positions in VSG is part of what inspired this campaign. “When I ran with Hannah last year, I really was just running for the experience,” Kayla said. “I wanted to see if we could really do something, if we could do this.” Kayla expressed her love for the student body which grew through this position, and wanting to continue being an advocate for them. Chandler expressed similar ideas, jokingly adding, “The obvious answer is I ran because Kayla asked me.” He also highlighted the relationship currently being fostered between VSG and administrators that he wants to continue, saying, “We really do have partners, like, that who are adults who really do wanna help and it’s the kind of relationships that I’ve been able to build and Kayla’s been able to build that inspired me, that said ‘why spend a year on this, if we’re not going to turn it in to more?’ It would be irresponsible for us to not keep doing the work that we set out to do.”
Both also expressed their experiences with VSG that they feel makes them best suited for the positions they are running for. “I feel like I spent the first half of this administration just learning, and I feel like my experience, one, gives me the upper hand, and also allows me to execute this office to the best of my ability,” Kayla said. Chandler also went on to emphasize how they view the positions as a tool to benefit the student body rather than a power they wish to behold. “It’s not the positions that matter to us, it’s the things we can do with the positions that we’re running for,” he said, as he continued on by emphasizing how they wish to “lead behind” others, and let those who are doing the work be put in the forefront.
If elected, their first courses of action are truly based in continuing to “move forward.” Kayla emphasized pushing for “the things that require money for students in the short term,” such as the GAP fund. She is focused on doing things “right now,” and also wants to start work on bills that will “take a longer time to get” such as better lighting and workers’ rights. Both candidates also emphasized their love for committee chairs and the work that they do. Chandler is focused on getting current chairs back into their positions “if they want it.” To close, Kayla simply asked that everyone tell their friends to vote for them once voting begins. Meanwhile, Chandler simply stated, “Thank you all for going through this with us again…thank you for trusting us and dedicating all this time and emotional labor. We cannot thank you enough.”
Voting takes place from March 21st-23rd. If you want these two to “keep moving forward,” make sure you vote for their campaign during voting week!