Q-and-A with SG presidential candidate, John Lawler


Zen Ren

John Lawler, a Student Government presidential candidate, will run against candidate Thor Lund. Lawler has been involved in SG for three years and said SG must work on informing students about its role on campus. “A majority of students don’t know what SG does,” Lawler said. “That’s not the students fault, that’s the fault of SG.” If elected, Lawler said he plans to sell beer at football games to create funding for academic programs.

Jody Serrano

The Daily Texan: If elected, what will be the biggest challenge you will face?
John Lawler:
Day one. Getting organized and mobilized to begin pushing our platform here on campus and locally. We invite that challenge though. There is generally apathy toward SG and the initiatives it propels, but we have to show people we’re serious about our platform. It’s on us to face it.

DT: What do you feel is the most pressing issue facing UT next year?
Issues of state funding and funding to neighborhoods on campus. The Legislative session in the fall will be critical for students. [The question is] are we going to have the best advocacy possible to ensure an affordable student experience here on campus?

DT: What image do you think people have of SG and how do you plan to address it?
A majority of students don’t know exactly what SG does, and that’s not the students’ fault but the fault of SG. We have to be reaction-oriented, not focused on passing out thousands of shirts and flyers. We need students to see us at the Capitol. I wouldn’t say [the image] is negative, but rather indifferent, and I don’t blame [students].

DT: What role do you think SG plays in students’ life at UT?
A greater one and larger one than most students realize. The problem is SG doesn’t always do a good job of letting students know about the issues. My philosophy over the past three years has been: We’re all on a campus that is so large and has so many intelligent individuals and there is someone on this campus that can do this twice as fast and half as cheap, and it’s our job to find those people and pursue action.

DT: Do you think your goals are within the scope of what SG can do?
Absolutely. I think our goals are within the scope of what the student body can achieve. During the 1970s, students practically ran the scene and we changed the way the city of Austin is perceived. SG can’t accomplish nearly as much as the student body can.

DT: How would you describe yourself to someone who has never met you?
A progressive who just really wants to help.

DT: If elected, what is the biggest goal you would like to accomplish?
Several small but noticeable victories. Establish the student body in the city arena. Recognize the Texas Students Association and have a conference of the two to three dozen of the state’s public and private universities’ student government organizations. Students have the ability to lay down the foundation of student activism.