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Freshman, BS Aerospace Engineering
"Hello, I am Dallas Balentine. I am a first-year, deaf/hard-of-hearing student in Aerospace Engineering from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I am a member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), ERFSEDS's Project Harbard, and the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP). I am passionate about Aerospace Engineering, astronomy, and military aviation. I hope to be an astronaut with the backup careers of an aerospace engineer and test pilot. I love to volunteer and help my community become a better place. Therefore, that is why I am running for Senator of Student Life. I will use that same passion to communicate directly with the student body and implement approved ideas to make the Embry Riddle Daytona Beach campus more open and accepting to students. I want to help students feel welcome regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, race, religion, national origin, disability, etc. I will do the same for social events and help increase participation."
What makes you a qualified candidate for this position?
"I am a great candidate for this elected position for multiple reasons. First, I have served in elected student government positions from my sophomore through senior years of high school. I was a part of some changes at my high school, including the dress code. I worked effectively with the rest of the student government to help with fundraisers, communication with the student body, and representation of groups of students. Secondly, I am a very friendly person who loves to meet new people and has the necessary social skills to hold conversations to acquire ideas, feedback, and concerns and build relationships within the student body. Thirdly, I have served in many leadership positions throughout my high school years, including Co-President of the Black History Student Committee and several positions in the Yearbook club. Lastly, outside of school, I was a part of the Civil Air Patrol, a volunteer organization that serves as the civilian auxiliary of the US Air Force. The Civil Air Patrol is similar to JROTC/ROTC and the military. It allowed me to learn and craft my leadership, teamwork, communication, discipline, and character skills. I was able to reach the rank of Cadet Staff Sergeant and serve as a Flight Sergeant, a position that allows a cadet to lead a group of other cadets. Also, outside of school, I dedicated myself to about 400 logged hours of volunteer service throughout high school. I volunteered for Feed My Starving Children and Meals 4 Minneapolis, collecting and giving supplies to communities devastated during the 2020 George Floyd riots, and volunteered in my church and other organizations. I will use this same passion for the students of Embry Riddle and help this campus become more accepting and open."
What is the purpose of the SGA Student Senate?
"I believe the purpose of the Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Daytona Beach Student Government Association's Senate is to serve and be the voice of the student body. The Senate is there to establish a connection between the students and the university's administration, staff, and faculty. I also believe the Senate should be led by students who are passionate about helping people, sociable and have a large group of supporters, involved in their community, involved in clubs or organizations, excel in their education, have time management skills, lead the committees they will oversee, and willing to work in a team effectively to make Embry Riddle a better place in diverse ways. These various ways include having connections with different groups of students and organizations. For example, one Student Senator could have connections with specific sports teams, the fitness center, and Greek life. That would benefit the Student Senator and the Student Senate."
How do you plan to elevate and communicate issues that your constituents are concerned about to the Senate?
"I am a very sociable person who has lots of connections on campus through multiple clubs, organizations, sports teams, departments, and professors. I will use those current relationships to connect with more students and organizations. I will communicate with various groups and smaller departments that overlook large portions of the student body like the Black Student Association (BSA), the Disability Student Services, Greek fraternities and sororities, sports teams, the Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM) group, religious organizations, and plenty more. I will attend a general meeting to discuss any concerns, feedback, and ideas students may have. If I cannot participate in a general meeting, I will contact a member of that specific organization or group to disperse a survey I created. I will then take notes from the discussions and surveys and compile generic topics followed by specific subtopics. I will then take each topic to the appropriate committee or liaison and discuss with them what to do, what the next steps will be, and whether the ideas could be approved and why. I will do this multiple times throughout my term for each group. I plan to hold tabling sections in the Student Union to allow students to communicate with me one-on-one and face-to-face."
How will you improve the ERAU experience for your constituents?
"I will improve the student experience at Embry Riddle by implementing ideas proposed by the student body, faculty, department heads, administration, and others affiliated with the university. I plan to open social events for every student to increase participation and boost morale. I strive for diversity and unity. I also love learning about new cultures and the identities of people. I want to plan events with the appropriate student organizations and staff to help spread diverse cultures and backgrounds to the student body to promote inclusion. I honestly cannot create ideas on my own to make this place more accepting. It is only possible by working with the student body. Therefore, I cannot give any more specific ways I can help. But, for students to feel welcomed at this university, they should be allowed to share their ideas and beliefs in a way that will educate others about their religion, culture, ethnicity, beliefs, morals, and more. Students should be able to feel comfortable and welcomed wherever they see fit, and it will be my job to make that a genuine possibility on this campus."