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Q&A with 2024-2025 school year student body president and student body vice president

Photos of Skyler Stein and Barrett Butler. (Courtesy: Skyler Stein and Barrett Butler) 

Beginning in the fall of 2024, Skyler Stein and Barrett Butler will lead the Student Government Association (SGA) in its 78th administration. The Seahawk sat down with them for an interview to discuss their vision and goals for UNCW’s upcoming school year.

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourselves. What is your year, where are you from and what activities do you participate in on campus?

Skyler Stein: I’m Skyler Stein, I’m a sophomore from Apex, N.C., rising junior. I’m majoring in political science with minors in prelaw and campaign management. I’m on the club lacrosse team here, and this will be my third year in SGA.

Barrett Butler: I’m a sophomore, rising junior and I’m a psychology major with minors in business and neuroscience. I am from Northern Virginia as an out of state student. I’m in the honors college, and I’ve been in SGA for the past two years, so this will be my third.

Q: Outside of SGA, what are some of your other involvements or hobbies?

Skyler Stein: I’m a board member of a nonprofit called Endless Sports that gives special needs participants the opportunity to play sports that they aren’t typically awarded the opportunity to play.

Barrett Butler: I’m on the club tennis team, I work off campus at Cape Fear Country Club, I play golf in my free time and I like to read.

Q: Why did each of you join SGA, and what has been your favorite part about it so far?

Skyler Stein: The main reason I joined SGA was because I knew I wanted to get involved. When I came to UNCW and as I looked into clubs and organizations, I found SGA. I have aspirations of going into politics after college, so I knew that it was for me, and it seemed like it was for me. My favorite part about it so far has probably been the opportunity to connect with students and make sure that their voices are heard at the administrative level and seeing tangible change be made for the university.

Barrett Butler: I was involved in student government in high school, and it was really important to me. Coming to UNCW, I really love the school, so I wanted to make sure that we’re looking out for students and their wants and needs, including the people around me, so making sure I was advocating for those people is a big reason I joined. I look forward to our meetings every week, so I would say just the connections I’ve made, not only with people in SGA but also the students outside, have been great.

Q: What are some of your goals for next year?

Skyler Stein: We ran on three pillars “BIT by BIT” of balance, innovation, and transparency, and we can dive more into each of those. A personal goal that I have is to really increase the board of trustees’ visibility and understanding within students, making sure that they interact with the Senate and the student body at large since they are here representing us and making decisions at the end of the day affect us all along with the institution. As well, not just the board of trustees but also the administrators and making SGA more visible and open to students.

Barrett Butler: For sure, making sure people know who we are and who’s in SGA. I really want to make buttons in the coming years so that senators can wear buttons and people know, “Oh, they’re involved in SGA.” I think that technically goes hand in hand with transparency, but other than that I know we’re going to advocate for student well-being. Whether that’s with dining or the rec center, all that sort of stuff.

Q: How do you see the university faculty and staff playing a role in achieving your goals?

Skyler Stein: Definitely this past year working with staff and faculty closely has been super influential. They know the correct avenues to go about to accomplish things around campus, so continuing to utilize their knowledge and resources is going to be super helpful.

Q: How do you see the students playing a role in achieving your goals?

Barrett Butler: Students are everything, we wouldn’t be here without students, we are students, so I think making sure that we have a breadth of people who are involved in Senate that are giving us information about what they want to see and what they need to see. I think that’s vital to our survival as SGA.

Q: What’s one challenge you look forward to tackling this next year?

Skyler Stein: The one that I personally want to see, and I think will be a tangible change that students will also really appreciate, is more Teal Meal options and more kind of equity amongst Teal Meal options. I think that they should all be worth about the same amount of money, as well as giving the students options for a healthier option. Like at Mooyah, which is one of our open late places, they don’t have a chicken option for a Teal Meal, it’s only burgers and then a black bean burger and a hot dog, so I think that adding more inclusive Teal Meal options, as well as making sure they’re equitable around campus.

Barrett Butler: For me, since I’ll be in charge of the Senate, I want to make sure that senators are aware of how to write legislation and how to make tangible change on campus. I think that’s always a challenge, especially with a new year, but I look forward to seeing what people are capable of and helping them get there.

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to UNCW students?

Skyler Stein: Don’t be afraid to get involved. This university really does give students a huge voice, and to make sure that you use it. College is short, it’s crazy we’re going into our third year already, but make sure every moment counts.

Barrett Butler: Make sure you advocate for yourself in college. I feel like it’s hard because if you come from high school as a freshman, I think a lot of people assume that people are going to help you out at every step of the way. I think it’s really important to advocate for yourself and be willing to say, “Hey, I want to do this” and taking that next step, which can be hard, but I think it’s important.

To stay up to date on the Stein – Butler administration or to learn more about the Student Government Association, please visit their website or their Instagram @uncwsga.

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