Election coverage: Presidential debate

by Evan Myers | staff writer

​Purdue Student Government Presidential candidates Bobby Haddix and Steven Caltrider discussed their respective stances on some of the most pressing issues facing Purdue University through a formal debate in Fowler Hall April 1.

​At the debate, each candidate spoke in detail about the goals outlined in their platforms and provided responses to questions asked by moderator Tim Sands as well as questions asked by the student audience. Steven Caltrider began with his assertion that he and his running mate Joe Lincoln are determined to not just talk about change, but create it themselves.

“As most of you have heard, Joe and I are committed to connecting with the student body,” Caltrider said. “We are doers, not dreamers.” This was especially important because his opponent’s slogan is “dreamBIG”.

Caltrider stated that if elected, he and Lincoln would initiate a five day action plan that would begin in the first week of next fall, dedicated to improving the involvement and availability of PSG in the student community. In these five days, he plans to post his personal office hours online so that any student has access to direct communication, reevaluate every PSG office, reevaluate the PSG budget, post suggestion boxes throughout campus, and send out an invitation to all Purdue students to a gathering in memorial mall to celebrate the week of successes and a new year.

“We are running our campaign like we like to run the office,” Caltrider said. “Our goals are to have a relationship with every organization on campus and have a relationship with them. We want PSG to be the middleman between every organization; and in a way we can bring them all together through Purdue Student Government.”

Bobby Haddix opened the debate by describing his hope that if elected, he would have the opportunity to take action to generate real growth in the college community and to always “dream big,” as emphasized in his campaign motto. Haddix said that he and his running mate, Caroline McKinney, had great aspirations since the beginning.

“When Caroline and I got together at the beginning of the semester, we really wanted to talk about what our passions were and what our dreams were, and how we could influence the student body through that,” Haddix asserted.

Haddix stated that he wished to expand and improve three major areas of everyday life for Purdue students, using the acronym “BIG.” The B stands for the Boilermaker experience, helping to express a sense of pride and providing a college experience that is unique to Purdue. The I stands for inclusion, not just the inclusion of domestic and international students, but also connecting Purdue’s organizations, including the Greek and the non-Greek Community. The G stands for Growth, encouraging it not just on a personal level, but growth as a community and in representation of the entire student body.

“We want to make sure that Purdue’s various voices are heard by everyone,” Haddix said. “Those are our dreams, and we are here today to pursue those dreams. We want you all in this room to pursue your dreams as well.”

Both candidates expressed their interest in representing students and finding student perspectives. They discussed the differing ways they planned to handle controversial points, such as fiscal responsibility and community involvement.

When asked, Caltrider expressed a wish to drive the point home that overall, he and Lincoln want to make immediate changes. “We are here for students, and we want to get stuff done,” He said. “Every year there is so much that you can do. We have built our campaign, unlike any other campaign, without a lot of PSG people. We wanted to build our foundation on ideas from the campus.”

Haddix continued to stress the importance of having high aspirations as a university, and that he and McKinney would do everything in their power to meet those goals next year.
“The emphasis should always be on dreaming big, and not only pursuing our goals and dreaming big, but helping other students go out and pursue their dreams,” Haddix said. “For example, raising a million dollars for PUDM, that’s incredible, and we want to make sure that we’re fostering talents like those. Those dreams that students have are going to be a big focus for Caroline and me if we get elected.”

Voting for Purdue Student Government (PSG) will take place on April 7, 8, and 9, online and at voting stations around campus. Further details regarding voting can be accessed at BoilerLink.

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