Bridgewater State University student, Tyler Czyars, is taking on an extremely difficult feat this semester: running for President of the Student Government Association (SGA) during a pandemic. I was able to interview Czyars about his experience running for office, how he manages his time, and what his vision for BSU is. Read more below:
KR: Hi Tyler, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me today! Let’s get started – what SGA position are you running for and why?
TC: I am running to be the next President of the Student Government Association, simply because my passion is helping those in need, and I believe the best way I can help people is through a governmental body on campus! I believe the leadership skills that I’ve developed through SGA over the past three years have given me the ability to fight for you!
KR: What is your vision for BSU students in the next school year (fall ‘21 – spring ‘22)?
TC: When I am elected, you will be elected with me! I intend to rally everyone together – the student body, the faculty, and the Administration – to make the 2021-2022 school year one of the best that Bridgewater State has seen! The pandemic really highlighted a lot of the problems that BSU has, and I truly believe we can build upon the progress we have made this year and continue that work into next year.
KR: What has it been like to campaign completely online?
TC: It is definitely different, for sure. During the offset of the pandemic in the Spring 2020 semester, I ran for the Vice Presidency. The way it is going this year is exactly what it was like last year. It is basically just posting on the mobile app and making virtual connections with students. The only difference is that I am living on campus this year, so I can talk to students (safely) in person and talk to them about why I am running and what I want to do.
KR: What challenges, if any, are you finding with running an online campaign?
TC: I am finding that the only challenge is that I have to campaign virtually, and not in person (or at least not the same way you could during pre-COVID times). When I ran for Senator-at-Large in the Spring 2019 semester, I was able to connect with students and put flyers everywhere throughout campus to help spread the word. Unfortunately now, that is not the case.
KR: What advantages, if any, are there to running an online campaign?
TC: An advantage to online campaigning is that you are able to connect with any student at the click of a button. The challenge with that though is whether or not that student will respond. However, if they do respond, you are able to have a great conversation with a student!
KR: How do you juggle campaigning, being part of SGA and other clubs, as well as being a student in the midst of a pandemic?
TC: I juggle all of my extracurriculars with campaigning by ensuring that I keep focusing on the most important aspect of BSU: being a student. At the end of the day, I am not paying to be part of extracurriculars (even though they are an added bonus), I am paying for an education to better myself. I keep myself grounded and make sure I always leave time during each day to work on any school work that needs to be worked on (but like most people, I occasionally take several days off!)
KR: Any advice for students who are looking to get involved with the SGA?
TC: This can apply to real-life as well, so I always ask this question: why would you want someone else to represent your values when you can represent them yourself? In terms of voting, why would you want someone to dictate what happens with your campus experience? The answer to both of these is getting involved, either with running for a position or voting (and then getting your friends to vote)! Student Government helps you develop leadership skills, and I honestly would not be the same sort of person I am without SGA. I am thankful that I have this experience because this is the type of career post-undergrad that I want to pursue, but regardless of your degree/ aspiring profession, the leadership skills and friendships you develop throughout your time truly are worth it.
KR: What are you most excited for when we’re able to return to in-person classes?
TC: Simply, I am most excited to just be around my friends without anxiety or fear of contracting COVID-19. I am looking forward to returning to life!