By Kristen Lotze
The upcoming academic year will bring about many changes and lots of new people to the Auraria campus, including several new SGA members; President Josh Gardner took some time out of his busy schedule to help the MSU Denver student body get to know him a little better …
Please tell me a little about your background.
I'm 21 years old, raised in a traditional conservative family along with my younger sister in Littleton, Colorado (fifth-generation natives). I’m a junior at MSU Denver, seeking a political-science and communications double major, as well as a history and nutrition double minor.
What made you want to run for SGA president?
Last year, I had the honor of serving the student body as a senator. During that time, I was able to learn a lot about how government (national, state and SGA) works, and to really become familiar with higher education and the processes that MSU Denver utilizes.
With the vast majority of SGA members graduating after this past term (including the president), someone needed to take that leadership role, and I was willing to take that initiative. Additionally, I knew that while there were numerous other qualified candidates, it would be best for SGA to have someone in the president’s position who had already gained experience and built relationships, which would lead to a much smoother-operating office.
What plans do you have for the SGA as president?
I plan to propose several constitutional amendments, most notably to limit my currently unchecked veto power. More important, I hope to improve communication with the student body by expanding our branding on campus, as well as increasing our social-media platforms used (right now, we mainly use Facebook).
Beyond that, I also intend to have the SGA testify at the state legislature and to lobby for bills that directly affect our students. We have been elected to represent their needs and opinions, and it would be a mistake not to use that privilege and responsibility to the fullest extent possible.
What plans do you have for the student population?
I love our student body; it’s one of the most diverse and hardworking in the state and, I would argue, in the country as well. That said, generally plans for the student body are delegated to the senators of SGA, and it is more my role to support them in their efforts. While I do have the power to create initiatives as well, I have already been occupied over the summer with various office-related issues (hiring, appointing, training, etc.) and external relationship-building, both with other departments on campus but also student governments across the country. To that end, I have been working with an organization based in Washington, D.C., that specializes in training and empowering student leaders to bring a massive nationwide conference of SGA members (likely in the range of 280 to 400) to Auraria in October – I’ll have to give more details at a later date.
What are your plans after you graduate?
After I graduate, I get to go back to school for law, although I haven’t picked a particular program yet. As far as career goes, I ultimately intend to one day run for U.S. president, though I will likely run for state legislature and later national Senate before then. As with any career, there are always uncertainties and hiccups along the way, so I can’t say for sure where I’ll end up. However, the ultimate goal is to one day run for U.S. president.
What other interests/hobbies do you have?
I have a very wide variety of interests, but if I had to narrow them down to three I would have to say that I most enjoy music, gaming and spending time with friends. As far as music goes, I love listening to electronic dance music, punk rock, rap and a smattering of the ’80s. I also sing and play keys and am attempting to teach myself violin.
Little-known fact: I love to rap. I can’t freestyle, but I do enjoy writing verses and have actually been known to present school projects in a rap form.
Anything else you would like to add?
I certainly learned a lot last year from senate, and I’m still learning. I can really only promise two things: I’m not perfect (spoiler alert!) and WILL make mistakes along the course of this year. However, I WILL also do my very best to plan to avoid pitfalls and own and rectify any issues and shortcomings that arise. I am very honored to have been chosen to represent the student body, and I take that responsibility very seriously.
As such, if anyone ever has questions or concerns, they should never hesitate to send them my way. I am very optimistic about the coming year, and I look forward to everything in store.