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SGA Spring 2013 Elections: Huotari vs. Perez

    By Pavel Stankov. February 25, 2013 - 12:09 pm

SGA elections
Photos courtesy of Miina Huotari & Tony Perez/Goseawarriors.com

The Student Government Association will hold its next elections online via Pipeline during the week of March 11. In this issue, Kalamalama features brief profiles of the two individuals running for the office of Student Body President. Make sure to vote not only for a Student Body President, but also for senators and members of the student activity board.

Originally from Finland, Miina Huotari is a sophomore majoring in International Studies and minoring in Diplomacy and Military Studies and Theater.

Huotari, who is 24, was elected last year to be the Humanities and Social Sciences Senator at SGA. She is also the President of the United Nations Club, and the Chair of the newly organized Students’ Rights Standing Committee.

Her platform focuses on the self governing of the student population. The equality of all students and elimination of differential treatment is emphasized, in addition to increased student involvement in important decision making.

An important part of Huotari’s program is given to magnifying the importance of the “incredible and vibrant HPU community. We are here not only to educate ourselves, but also to grow as individuals,” says Huotari.

She considers the separation of the University into two campuses as a part of the problem for creating a more durable sense of togetherness.

Transparency is the other major point on Huotari’s agenda. “I want to be the link between students, administrators, and student organizations”, she says, adding that there has not been enough lucidity about tuition increases.

In more specific terms, Huotari plans to advance students’ security by providing frequently updated “safety maps”, indicating the locations of recent crimes in HPU’s vicinity. Another item on her agenda is bringing sustainable local food to HPU’s dining options at Hawai’i Loa Campus, as well as promoting recycling. Huotari also strives to secure more bike racks, and provide a voice for transfer students into SGA’s Executive Branch. The additional position of a service projects coordinator would also be included in the organization with the goal of raising awareness about social issues.

“It’s about passion and time”, she says. “I like being in the loop; it’s part of my nature to get involved.”

Interested in a global humanitarian approach to the world’s problems, Huotari has spent three years of traveling after graduating high school. She decided to go to college and learn about international relations after living in places as diverse as Thailand, Jamaica, and Australia. At the same time her childhood dream of being an actress never quite waned, and has been channeled by her Minor in Theater.

Huotari sees herself working either for UN, or some other international humanitarian organization. She also advocates raising people’s awareness of each other on a grand scale: “We can make this world better by caring and knowing about each other more, because you can’t criticize unless you know.”

As far as her running for a Student Body President, Huotari promises to make a memorable impact: “I want to make it better. I am energetic and if I want to get stuff done, it gets done.”

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Tony Perez is from the town of Live Oak in Northern California. He is a student athlete majoring in Anthropology in his second semester after transferring to HPU.

The 21 year old has been the captain of the Wrestling, Track and Field and Cross Country teams at various times during high school. He is also an active member of HPU’s Student Athletic Advisory Committee.

The program Perez endorses is centered on bolstering the sense of community at the University. He strives to improve the quality and quantity of student participation in the classroom and in HPU organized events.

According to Perez, students ought to be more aware of the direction of the school, and the decision processes spearheaded by the administration. Likewise, the issue of transparency is also a crucial part of the athlete’s message. He gives an example with the sudden breaking of the news about a student activity fee a couple of weeks ago.

Perez is aware of the amount of time and involvement it would take to make a change in already established practices. “I will have to work a lot with President Bannister and the school’s lawyers. It’s a great deal of work, but I’m more than willing to do it”, he adds.

As HPU’s facilities are directly related to the quality of life for students, Perez also emphasizes the need for replacement and renovation of dated equipment. “The Sea Warriors (Center) is really bad,” he says. “Some senators have told me that we have money planned for it but for some reason it never gets done.”

The particular suggestions of Perez revolve mostly around raising awareness among the student population. For instance, in order to increase participation in clubs and organizations, he proposes a special tab in Pipeline that would make it more intuitive for students to get affiliated. People would be also more likely to get involved, if more information about the activity of registered student organizations were more widely publicized.

Perez was encouraged to do Cross Country by his mother because he “excelled at running” when in high school. Related is his interest in kinesiology, a scientific discipline investigating the ways human bodies move. Despite the relatively abundant job opportunities for kinesiologists as physical therapists and health consultants, Perez decided to declare Anthropology as his major. He is especially interested in the applied field of the discipline, as it can really make a difference in making people’s lives better via education and promotion of healthy lifestyle.

Regarding his professional future, Perez is looking into organizations like O&L Athletic Consulting, who provide services for the improvement of sports teams on college campuses.

“When I was a captain of the Wrestling team,” Perez concludes, “I allowed somebody who was better than me to take my place. This is why I qualify to be a Student Body President – I will do the best for the students.”