Student Government Association (SGA) will hold elections on Wednesday, April 8, 2015. But before the elections, students running for SGA positions had the opportunity to debate and present their goals.
The event was hosted by SGA in the Carl Hansen Student Center piazza on Monday night.
Jonathan Atkin, a junior and current student body vice president, is running unopposed for student body president. This is the fourth year in a row that the student body president has run unopposed.
“I am a big believer that passion is what drives results and I believe it is my passion and determination to improve Quinnipiac as a whole that will ultimately qualify me,” Atkin said.
Atkin also mentioned his intention to pursue big projects during his senior year, such as pushing for the club sports program, getting a coffee shop on campus, getting the university to host spring weekend rather than May weekend and getting a community space for students over the age of 21.
He said he wants to improve the overall student body satisfaction during the remainder of his time with SGA.
“The success of this organization is really measured by the satisfaction of the student body,” Atkin said. “I hold that level of satisfaction to a very high standard and I can assure everyone here that the resources of SGA will be dedicated to going above and beyond that standard.”
Junior and current Vice President for Public Relations Carly Hviding is running unopposed for student body vice president. She said her involvement with SGA has allowed her to listen to the student body’s concerns and experiences.
“I hope that I can unify all members of the community,” Hviding said. “The students are at the center of the Quinnipiac community and I believe that empowering them and advocating for their needs [will] create the greatest experience for current and future students.”
During her speech, Hviding said as VP she will put the needs of the students first. She said she hopes to make all students feel like they can make changes at Quinnipiac, whether or not they get involved on campus.
Three students, junior Rebecca Carlone and sophomores Joey Mullaney and Anisha Manglani, are running for vice president for public relations. This is the first time in recent memory, according to debate moderator and senior class Vice President Joe Kohle, that more than two people have run for an executive board position.
All three candidates emphasized how they want to work with student media to let students know what SGA is doing and improve the university’s relationship with Hamden.
Carlone, who has been on SGA’s public relations committee for two years, said she wants to spread the word about the good students do.
“You’re already all doing what you need to be doing,” she said. “All that needs to change is who gets to see that side of you and how we get them to see it….How we promote ourselves and connect to our community is what’s going to push us over the edge.”
Mullaney said he wants to improve the way SGA uses social media to let students know what they are doing.
“If students know we are working on [various initiatives] to try to benefit them maybe they can have more of a say in how they can help us or how we can help them,” he said.
Manglani’s ideas included having organizations host events for Hamden, holding a “Dinner with the Deans” event and creating a texting service for students to voice their concerns to SGA
“SGA needs to have a face in every organization,” she said. “We need to have a member of our organization that goes and sits in with the accounting society, or Habitat for Humanity and so on and just show that face, go to their meetings, show them we care and develop that relationship so that when they need something from the Student Government Association they know who to come to.”
Sophomores Christopher Desilets and Travis McMurray are running for vice president for finance. Desilets is currently the president of the sophomore class, while McMurray is the vice president of the sophomore class.
McMurray emphasized his experience with handling organizations’ budgets because he is the treasurer of the QU Irish Club and the assistant director of finance for his fraternity. He said he wants to build on what current Vice President for Finance Matt Powers has done to make the budget process easier for student organizations.
“My goal is to take this idea of efficiency and turn it inward, making the finance committee, all of the organizations and the VP for finance position more efficient for giving and getting the correct amount of money,” McMurray said.
This means encouraging student leaders to do more research when they apply for money, so they understand what they are asking for, he said. He also wants finance committee members to attend events so they know how organizations are using their money.
Desilets also said he wants SGA to be able to provide students with the budgets to travel to conferences and competitions around the country.
“We have to be able to send our mock trials and our a cappella groups to Florida and all over the country where they can compete with other students,” he said. “We have the talent, but we have been handcuffing our student organizations and that is SGA’s fault.”
Juniors Bianca Solano and Lindsey Banks are running for the new position, vice president for student experience.
Banks aims to promote school spirit through the “We are Quinnipiac Campaign” and work on the May weekend, coffee shop, club sports and York Hill pub proposals. She wants to continue with SGA’s Tuesdays Two surveys, while creating an online public forum for the student body to discuss ideas.
“This is most directly student oriented position we have ever had and I think that is really cool,” Banks said. “More than just hearing a student concern, let’s brain storm it together and let’s go further than just something you want to see done. Let’s have these discussions and talk and work towards solutions all together so that you feel more part of the process.”
Meanwhile, Solano’s goals include bringing new clubs to campus, emphasizing diversity, improving the advising process, creating better job and internship opportunities for students, and listening to students.
“I could not do this job without the help of my fellow peers and working hand-in-hand I can understand what each experience to each student means and what I can do to help improve it,” she said. “By working hand-in-hand I can mend on what the students needs to make their experience great and with that I am committed to giving you the experience of a lifetime.”
Students can vote on DoYouQU all day Wednesday until 8 p.m.
Photo by Bryan Lipiner