Q&A With SGA's Luke Cotton

After some controversy from last semester’s elections, how could anyone lead the different teams that were elected into office? Luke Cotton, Student Government Association president, has a busy year ahead of him as he leads the hodgepodge student government.

What are you looking forward to the most with the new year?
Characteristically you plan all your stuff over the summer and you talk to the administrators about what you want to do, and then during fall and spring you do what you said you were going to do during campaigning. I think as a team we’ve worked very well together to intertwine our different initiatives and support each other. 

What kind of things have you planned?
A big thing for our entire team was a better job of engaging the students instead of staying nestled away in our office up here and saying ‘Hey come to our office.’ We’re going to be going out to the students in the colleges, in the SUB, common grounds, where students hang out to ask  ‘Hey what kind of concerns are you having? What kind of issues are you having? How can we serve you?’ That is what student government is here to do, serve our students and be the voice for them to administration. 

Do you have an open door policy for students to come and talk to you?
We all have an open door policy as you can tell. Whenever a student comes here with an issue, I’m here to take notes and see where I can help them. 

What was the most interesting thing to happen to you freshman year? 
My roommate, love him to death, he took these baby ducks from the park and was raising them in his pullout stall underneath his bed. He had a heat lamp and all that good stuff. So I would try to stay away from the room as much as possible during that time just because it smelled a little funky. He’s an interesting guy, to say the least. 

What exactly does the SGA president do day-to-day?
I am the total quality manager of Texas Tech student government. So I preside over Jill, who’s presiding over our legislative branch — making sure they’re getting done what they need to be getting done; making sure our senators know Roberts Rules of Order; just making sure everyone is working hard in their area of expertise. I also give presentations to the Board of Regents on our behalf. Just being there to serve the students. 

What other projects are you working on?
We started an SGA ambassadors program. What they’re going to be doing is on the welcome committee for Tech athletics. They will basically welcome alumni or other schools to our stadium to basically guide them to their seats. They’re our SGA ambassadors is exactly what they are. They’re also going to be working in community service areas, our campus engagement events like Pies with the President. So that’s a very exciting thing. 

Which is your favorite mascot, Masked Rider or Raider Red?
I’d have to go with Raider Red, however I havaen’t noticed the past couple of years, however it may be just me not noticing, that he used to have dueling guns and when we used to score he’d blast them. I’ve been told he still does it but I haven’t noticed it. So if it’s the case that he’s working with his foam gun all the time, I’m going to have to switch over to Masked Rider. If he still has the touchdown celebration, because you’ve got to pump up the crowd when we score, we score a lot, then I’ll have to go with Raider Red. 

Some people say they don’t vote because they don’t believe SGA has a real say when up against the Board of Regents, Chancellor, and President. What do you think?
I don’t think that we’re really ever going against administration because the administrators are here for the students as well. Regents Steinmetz put it best: student government, if you play it right, is the most powerful office on campus because you represent the students. This entire university is here for the students. Why would you want to do something to hurt your students at Texas Tech? That’s what the administration office is here for  — to kind of preside over all that. So if you play it right and you are legitimately concerned about the students, no ulterior motives or anything like that, then the administration office is very receptive to everything the students have going on. 

How was it speaking at orientation over the summer?
It has been great, and I don’t want to draw comparisons with our peers in the system but I would like to think our student government has been really just knocking it out of the park this summer with regards to our orientation presentation. We’ve had the opportunity to speak to several high school camps that are here with students that are looking at Texas Tech. I’d like to think that we’re great recruiters as well, so we’ve been helping out with those camps. Board of Regents has been gone off without a hitch. 

What was your goal when speaking at orientation?
Just to give a different perspective. Normally with the students, Chancellor Hance will lead off and he is hilarious, the students love him. Then Dr. Nellis or Dr. Schovanec or Dr. Stuart, our provost and presidents they would give a kind of academic kind of talk and all that. I was kind of the student perspective for them.

What is your most memorable Texas Tech or college experience?
My most memorable moment would be speaking for the first time in front of parents and incoming freshmen because one it was kind of getting the nerves out for the rest of the summer and two having this great opportunity to be one of the welcoming faces to our parents. Letting them know, Hey you made the right choice letting your student come here.’ Then being the welcoming face to students. 

What is your favorite Texas Tech tradition?
I would have to go with Carol of Lights. I’ve been to it every year since freshmen year. The build up to it with the singing and the speeches. Then when they finally turn on the lights.

How has it been working with “Bridge the Gap” after the complaints they filed against “Raiders United”?
I’m very happy that we’re able to bring our teams together. We’ve really hit it off. We have such great camaraderie in our office. We actually went to Orlando in July for  a leadership conference and that even brought our team closer together. We’re friends but we know how to treat each other in the office in a professional settings as well. 

What benefits are there to having this mixed group?
It’s really great that we were able to bring our ideas together and we’re really working together to implement our goals. 











About Claudia Tristán

News Director    —    Journalism and Marketing double major, Class of 2013
Claudia works to cover current events and political issues that effect the Tech campus. She plans to return overseas as a foreign correspondent.

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