What the Slippery Rock Student Government Association (SGA) usually call their presidential debate was changed to a candidate information session Tuesday, due to a lack of students running for office.
Center for Student Involvement and Leadership Director and SGA Advisor, Brad Kovaleski expressed his concern about the lack of candidates running for senate at the SGA meeting Monday.
“There’s not even a whole ticket running,” Kovaleski said. “There’s only one position that has any competition and I think there were two residence hall senator positions out of all of them and there were about seven open commuter positions. You approved a quarter million dollar budget for the Happy Bus when we don’t even have enough people on campus interested in the organization. I’m a little concerned with that as far as the representation of the student body running.”
Kovaleski said the lack of interest in running for SGA officers is a red flag for him.
“Wendy shot me an email this morning asking, ‘is this normal’, and I said, ‘oh, yeah, sometimes we have lower numbers’, but I hadn’t opened it up to see the actual lack of names. We had so many non-filled positions.”
The only ticket running for senate is SRUnited.
SRUnited is made up of Speaker of the Senate, Logan Steigerwalt, who is running for president, Parliamentarian Jessica Johnson, who is running for vice president of student affairs, Building B Senator Aimee Albright, who is running for vice president of campus outreach, Watson Hall Senator Jenna Temple, who is running for vice president of internal affairs and Commuter Senator Mike Farah, who is running for vice president of financial affairs.
SRUnited’s platform is focused on making a transparent campus. To do so, many of SRUnited’s goals involve the transparency between the administration and the students at Slippery Rock University.
Some of the goals for SRUnited range from increasing collaborations between clubs and organizations, creating more community service hours for students, promoting a positive image of the university, working with administration to change the weather policy and the library hours, continuing the project positivity advocacy project and many others.
For Steigerwalt, the biggest problem for the student body is a lack of representation in clubs and organization. He also said one of the biggest obstacles for SGA to overcome would be the lack of knowledge about what SGA really does.
“We provide a lot of opportunities and services for students and I feel like it wasn’t properly brought out there that we can do all this,” Steigerwalt said.
For next year, if elected, Steigerwalt said SRUnited would advertise more to get the word out about SGA. He also said having a full senate would create more connections between students on campus.
Upon their time with SGA, the members of SRUnited said they have contributed to improving the organization by their involvement with the student body.
Johnson said when she was a commuter senator, she was a big part of trying to change the policy for absences in class as it relates to athletes and people going to conferences. Johnson also said she has brought in several speakers to speak with students about business-like topics. Temple took over the SGA website this year, which was renovated and has been working on an SGA application for cell phones. Albright said her biggest leap in SGA was this year when she helped with a project in the residence halls called “Comments for a Cookie.” Steigerwalt said one thing that helped push him in the right direction is helping was working on SGA’s ethics statement. From there, he was granted a seat on the executive board as the speaker of the senate.
“We just want you to know that we’re here for you,” Steigerwalt said. “We’re going to be the voice of the students at Slippery Rock University. We’re committed to making each student’s time at Slippery Rock memorable and great in all aspects by listening to and responding to the student’s specific needs and wishes.”
Aside from being the only full party candidate ticket, there are also single candidates running as well.
North Hall Senator Jaclynn Choma is running for vice president of student affairs.
Choma said she really wants to help make a difference on this campus and that she loves making people happy.
“The current vice president of student affairs, Vanessa Dufford, told me once that in this position you might learn things about the university that might kind of ruin your experience a little more or just open your eyes to things that not all the students see. In response to when she told me that, I just thought, ‘that’s okay with me, as long as everybody else will continue to have a great time here’.”
If elected, Choma plans to continue working on the weather policy and she also wants to plan more events for the students, mainly students who stay on campus over the weekend.
Two freshmen senators, Rachel Lawler and Tabitha Giacalone, are running for Building A Senator.
If elected, Lawler said she would like to see the building senators more involved in house council by attending their meetings and letting them know what is going on within SGA. Giacalone said it is important that building senators attend ARHS meetings as well as house council meetings. She also said if she was elected, she would like to create a Twitter page for Building A to let them know what’s going on throughout the semester.
Voting for next year’s senate will begin on April 16 and will continue until April 22.