This article originally appeared in The Niner Times on April 9, 2018.
Photo courtesy of Niayai Lavien.
Q&A: Lavien, Crean win 2018 SGA election
Niayai Lavien and Chandler Crean announced student body president and VP
By Alexandra Sands
Niayai Lavien and Chandler Crean were announced the 2018-19 student body president and vice president April 5. They won with 54 percent of the 1435 votes and will officially be sworn in Thursday.
Niner Times: What was your reaction to finding out you had won?
Niayai: I couldn’t help but cry because I was so overwhelmed. I could barely get my words out to express my excitement. This campaign was tough and long and I’m so happy with the outcome of everything. Chandler and I are incredibly excited for what this year has in store.
Chandler: I was lost for words. I couldn’t help but to stop and think that all the hard work paid off. If you would have told me back in 2014, when I first met Niayai, that we would end up at the same university and campaign for SGA office together, I would not have believed it. However, our fellow peers believed in us to serve the student body.
What is the first thing you want to work on in office?
N: The first thing that we would like to do is make the SGA website more user friendly. We want to place our updates, minutes and photos there so that people will have more access to everything that we’re doing. Too many people don’t know all of the meetings we have and things we can accomplish and we want everyone to stay in the loop.
C: The first thing I want to work on in office is making sure that every Forty-Niner knows that we will be available in our office to hear any concerns that they may have. With an open door policy, students will have a direct form of communication with Niayai and I.
One major project I will be taking on is working with our information technology services on the alumni email project. This project will allow degreed alumni with having an @alumni.uncc.edu email account via Gmail, the university’s current email service.
A year from now when you look back, what do you want to have accomplished?
N: I hope to have effectively completed each of the tenants of the platform of amplifying student voice, increasing transparency and creating a legacy. I hope that every student feels like they can actually communicate with SGA administration and feel like their voice is equally important.
C: I want to be able to look back and feel that every Forty-Niner has had the opportunity to stake their claim here at UNC Charlotte. Students should be able to have a say in major decisions that are being made as our university continues to grow.
What do you want students to know going into this administration?
N: I want students to know that they can always approach me with any concern or question that they have. This position was created to be a resource and liaison to the student body and we can’t wait to serve. My office is always open and I’m here to not only help but to ensure your experience is a good one. Every part of our platform we plan to execute is based on helping Niners.
C: I will put this position at the front of my responsibilities going into our term. I want to make sure that I have ample amount of time to listen to concerns from students. Our administration will be made of students that will continue to make changes to better our university.
What would you like to say to everyone who voted for you?
N: Thank you for believing in Chandler, I and our platform. We love UNC Charlotte and want to create a sense of community and improve the student experience. We won’t let you down and we can’t wait to start our term.
C: Words cannot describe how thankful I am for the amount of support Niayai and I have had over the past few weeks. With having to vote not once, but twice, you have all stood behind us through our campaign. It would not have been possible without the connections that I have made on campus from various organizations and leadership opportunities.