Shea Stripling, a candidate for Student Government Association president who is proudly sponsored by the Waffle Houses on Skyland Boulevard and the Strip, is running on a platform of reliability, uniformity and transparency.
“On reliability – Waffle House is open 24 hours a day. SGA candidates [should] be as available to University students as hash browns at 4 a.m.,” Stripling said. “Uniformity – Waffle Houses have the same menu at every location, as should all SGA candidates be equally briefed on the issues.
“Transparency – well, everybody talks about it, and it’s important. Transparency is paramount, as it is in the Waffle House, where you can see your food being made, and you know exactly what happened to that food because you’re watching the guy make it. Making policy should be exactly the same way.”
Stripling said she was like Waffle House in that people know what they’re in for when dealing with her.
“There’s no pretense to Waffle House, and there’s no pretense to me,” Stripling said. “They know what they are, and they accept what they are, and I like what they are.”
Stripling, who has been considered by many as comedic relief in an otherwise serious election, quickly clarified that she was not joking around.
“One of my competitors called me a comedian and said this was a mock campaign, and it’s not, it’s completely serious.” Stripling said. “People think that comedy undermines the seriousness of a campaign, and I don’t believe that. Comedy cuts through to people, and it takes away this air of ‘I’m wearing a suit!’ Comedy tells people, ‘Yeah, we’re dressing up. We’re just playing politics.’ I feel like there’s no reason why we need to be overly serious about everything we’re doing. People can relate much better to comedy.”
The Waffle House affiliation, Stripling said, is just a way to make sure people remember her, which, as an independent candidate, is a feat.
“I feel like being greek gives you a sort of credential. You’re a recognized commodity, and I am an unknown commodity,” Stripling said. “Establishing my name is more difficult for me, which is where my corporate sponsor has helped out. Identifying my name with Waffle House has been instrumental in introducing my name as a brand, since being greek is kind of its own brand.”
Stripling said that members of the SGA, past and present, have taken themselves too seriously and spent too much time on issues they have no control over.
“They wanted to talk about the plus and minus system at this debate, and realistically, how much input do we have on that?” Striping said. “There’s a faculty senate that has that power, and realistically, I don’t think that’s something we should be expending a lot of energy on.
“I think if we all just took our suits off and went to the Waffle House sat down and had actual conversations about who we were, and had that personal rapport, I think that would go a long way to being able to actually consider each other’s ideas instead of speaking in legalese about these grand initiatives and resolutions.”
Shea said her campaign was wholly independent of the Machine and said the organization would benefit from just removing the shroud of secrecy around them.
“This is just a group of people that have decided to support one person,” Stripling said. “The problem with them is just the mystery behind it all. I think the impact of the Machine is that it makes people disgruntled, because they want to know who these people are and what they’re doing. Why do they have to be secretive? Eliminate the secrecy. Just tell us that you like a person, and he likes what you do. He’s going to help you out, so you’re voting for him.”
Stripling said if she lost the election, she would seriously consider applying for a position in the cabinet of the candidate elected president.