On April 16, the seven candidates for the 2020-21 executive board of the Student Government Association had the opportunity to answer questions prepared by The Rocket and WSRU-TV News as well as questions asked by the audience. Due to time constraints, over 20 questions were not asked during the original town hall. Here are the remaining answers:
For a biography of each candidate, click here.
Editor’s Note: Question 1 was submitted via social media, questions 2-6 were prepared prior to the town hall by The Rocket and WSRU-TV news, and the remaining questions were submitted by the audience during the town hall. The candidates were sent the following question by email, and any edits to their answers for spelling errors are marked in brackets.
1Currently, there is a petition on change.org for lowering off-campus rent at SRU. What are your thoughts on this topic during COVID-19, and how would you best recommend help for students struggling to pay rent?
Senator Condon: “I saw that this was going around, and I have to say, firstly, that I really empathize with anyone struggling to pay rent. Secondly, to address the question head on, I believe that landlords should be lowering rent or allowing students to pay it later, especially given the unprecedented nature of this pandemic. In light of the fact that some students can’t pay rent or are struggling to, I have reached out to our current VP of Student and Academic Affairs to ask what his thoughts about addressing it are. Currently, if you are struggling for food or otherwise, I would encourage you to reach out to Khalil Harper at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Mr. Desing: “I believe that this is rather important. With many jobs closed and it being harder to earn income while so much is shut down many college students are likely having trouble earn the money they are used to to pay rent and sustain themselves. I think that lowering off-campus rent would be an ideal way to manage in this situation where many are struggling. I think the best way we can help right now is by emailing administration to get them to push for this idea. I wish there was more I could say that could be more concrete but as of this moment I am not sure what other options are available to help.”
Senator Gish: “We are currently in an unprecedented time and with that being said, I think there are a multitude of avenues to pursue solutions like the one the petition is trying to address. My advice to any student struggling in general is to reach out to student support and if their struggles are directly related to COVID-19, to check out https://www.sru.edu/covid19/students.html.”
VP Graziani: “As someone who just recently signed a lease for an apartment off-campus, this issue is very close to me. I know that this would be a struggle to deal with since it is not directly connected to the university, but I would like to bring together our resources and try to have a conversation with the apartment owners as well as leaders in the community to bring up the issues and start a conversation about possible solutions.”
Senator Lindgren: “I would try to get in contact with the petition organizer and get their thoughts first on the issue. I know these are [unprecedented] times and there is no policy in place when this happened. I would recommend tenants to try to talk to their off-campus apartment owners about a payment plan. If a student is unable to reach their apartment administration, I would suggest contacting the student affairs office.”
Senator Reilly: “I think this topic is due to the issue of COVID-19, and [therefore] relevant. It’s hard to say how we can help these students, because I don’t believe we have a hand in off-campus housing, but I would [recommend] them to continuing petitioning at this time. It’s hard to make a change like that so quickly, but with many students losing their jobs and not being able to afford the high cost of housing anymore because they need to focus on more important expenses right now and family this [definitely] needs to be [addressed]. While I don’t have an answer or solution right now, it is [definitely] something to think about and plan for.”
Speaker Sciuto: “The senate should first talk to whoever made the initial petition to get as much information as possible. Then we should do some research, reach out to the different apartment complexes and ask if they are planning on addressing the prices during COVID-19. If they are not, then you better expect to see my name on that petition. Then I think it would be the job of the VP of Student and Academic Affairs to take charge and look into options and possible solutions. As president I would help in any way that I could.”
2For Mr. Desing, Senator Lindgren, Senator Reilly and Senator Gish: If elected, this will be the first time any of you have served in an Executive Board position in student government. What do each of you expect from the presidential candidate ultimately elected to serve as student body president?
Mr. Desing: “I expect the next SGA president to take the initiative in proposing and getting ideas and solutions to the administration and implemented to campus. The SGA president is the leading force in taking the students voices to the administration and getting the administration to act. I expect whoever to have the position is someone who will be able to not only speak up for the students but to get the administration move forward quickly with changes. Ultimately the SGA president must be able to communicate with the rest of E-board and senate as well. What I look for is someone who is able to properly communicate to those they work with and properly represent the students.”
Senator Gish: “In any presidential candidate I expect transparency, commitment and dedication to our organization as a whole.”
Senator Lindgren: “I expect exchanging ideas with the other Executive board members as well as senate and the student body. I expect compassion and sharing feelings with the student body. Relating to the issues that students are currently having.”
Senator Reilly: “I expect the best from our president, whoever it may be. I want them to be honest, genuine and have a strong sense of community and the things that are important to SRU. They need to have an open-mind, be flexible to changes and listen to student suggestions regardless if they agree or disagree with them. Overall, they need to be a strong leader and set an example for students on our campus. I expect them to be interested in the students and what they are doing. They should be interested in collaboration and developing relationships with the clubs and organizations they represent.”
3The senate has undergone a major restructure which will begin once senate elections take place in the fall. How do you plan to promote these positions if campus reopens?
Senator Condon: “The number one thing to do, I believe, is to make people aware of just how much of an impact you can have in Senate and what a beneficial experience it can be. On a very personal level, I have gotten so many experiences and learned so much from my time on Senate, so if anyone reading this is thinking about running for Senate absolutely do it. Last I heard, a lot of people were talking about running for Senate positions during this election cycle and so I believe it is important to repeat the previous promotions in the Fall.”
Mr. Desing: “I think that reaching out to the different departments and to the various centers on campus, we would be able to get them to help promote the senator and large and specific college senator positions. This will likely draw more attention from students as well because, unfortunately, there are not many students who will read the SRU communications emails, but when receiving emails from their departments or places they may work or help with on campus they will be more likely to read and think about it. I think the optimal way to promote the positions would be to focus on promoting the positions in places where those able to fit into the position would most likely visit such as the departments, the commuter lounge, the various centers on campus, and the library which everyone tends to visit.”
Senator Gish: “The new additions to the senate will engage and pull from a range of students and I am so excited to see those seats fill. My plan of promotion is centered in reaching out and building a bridge so that even if students do not become senators, they still feel connected to SRSGA.”
VP Graziani: “I would love to have more promotions within the classrooms and academic buildings on campus. More of our new positions have stronger ties with the colleges and having faculty and staff get involved through email and other promotions would really help to fill those positions.”
Senator Lindgren: “I plan to email departments and services like the success coaches and resident life to help promote. As well as support with advertising with the VP of Campus Outreach.”
Senator Reilly: “In my position, I intend to promote these [positions] through email, events and social media. It’s important for our students to see that they can impact this campus and be the change they want to see at SRU. I think the best way to do that is talk to them about it first hand and show them exactly what they do. Not just having posts, but videos and also opportunities to o a Q&A with past senators so they have a better understanding of what they would be doing.”
Speaker Sciuto: “I am so excited for the new senate structure. Corrine and Maggie worked so hard and I think it really paid off. The current senate was going to spend some time brainstorming ideas to market the new positions. For the new senators that represent the colleges, we reached out to the deans. The deans can then distribute information regarding openings to the different departments and then subsequently the students. This would reach so many students and hopefully people feel more called to represent their college/major. I also see the at large positions being a big selling point. It would be cool to see different groups of students send forth a representative. (Ex. A senator at large could represent the office of disability services, OIE, maybe even Greek life or UPB).”
4For Senator Lindgren: As a safety management major, how will your commitment to student safety translate into your desired role in SGA?
Senator Lindgren: “I would like to have a student safety week. Have clubs not just from Safety Management but any club that would like to put on events to stress the importance of safety and personal safety. I also would like to bring back campus crawl. Where students can walk around the university identifying hazards (uneven pavement, burnt out streetlights). I would also like to have a town hall on the importance of safety.”
5How do you plan on reaching students outside of the suite in the upcoming year to get other students more involved in SRSGA?
Senator Condon: “I think that it is important to acknowledge that SGA is a bubble right now. However, I don’t think the trick is to try to get more people involved in SGA but to have SGA be more involved with people. I feel like right now the primary reason we have so little interest is because people do not know about what SGA really does and how much change it can make on campus. Therefore, I believe that having more Senators at club events and, for the next President, to be reaching out to more student organizations is what is needed to have more SRSGA involvement.”
Mr. Desing: “I think one of the best ways to reach students is always word of mouth. People interact with each other every day and I think that if we can spark a conversation with students about SRSGA then they will be able to talk about with their friends and that will be the best way to get more students interested. It would be great if we could try to hold an event where current or former SGA members could come to talk and answer questions about SGA to the student body. It would be a great way to inform the students about what we do and to see if any students are interested in joining.”
Senator Gish: “I think our outreach to or outside of the suite shouldn’t be planned or strategic but just natural to always be building bonds with students. Making student government have a presence among the student community is the best way to get more students involved.”
VP Graziani: “I plan on attending more events held by offices and clubs, not in the Suite. I want to be able to go out and meet those who I am representing!”
Senator Lindgren: “I believe highlighting the open positions on senate. Make sure college senators spots are being filled from the appropriate college. I want to reach out to first year students. Highlight that you do not need to be a senator in SGA to attend a committee. Also, I am debated on having Student and Academic Affairs committee at different places on campus but will mostly be in the student center.”
Senator Reilly: “I plan to have a table during common hour as often as we can, send members of my committee to different club events on campus to talk to students, grab photos and videos and promote the different options they have on campus, and collaborate with clubs for things such as giveaways or events to reach out to students and show them SRSGA, but also to promote that club on our campus.”
Speaker Sciuto: “As a president, I would dedicate time during E-board meetings to first think about student groups we could reach out to that aren’t associated with the suite. Personally, some groups of students that I am interested in having conversations with include Athletes and Res Life. Then we could reach out and ask if there is anything, we can do for them. Invite them to important conversations and develop a working relationship.”
6For Senator Condon and Speaker Sciuto: You have both served in specific leadership roles last year. Condon served as co-chair of the rules and policies committee, and Sciuto served as speaker and a SGA representative on a president’s commission. How does your specific experience make you the most qualified candidate?
Senator Condon: “I am the most qualified candidate because I not only understand the ways in which meetings operate and our foundational documents, but I also am strongly connected to student organizations. During my time on Rules and Policies I have been able to help so many clubs get SGA approval. I care about student organizations deeply, and I have been able to be there from very early on and watch them grow. Again, I believe my understanding of how SGA operates and my connection to student organizations makes me the best candidate for the job.”
Speaker Sciuto: “This past year I had the opportunity to serve on the executive board as the Speaker of the Senate. From this position, I was able to view the organization from a perspective that qualifies me to become the next President and CEO of the SRSGA.
“There are two main roles that the SRSGA Speaker occupies. The first of which is management. Throughout this year I have learned the ins and outs of CORE as well as Excel through tracking office hours and involvement. As president, I will need to supervise and lead the executive board so that we can conduct business efficiently to meet the needs of the student body.
“The second role of the speaker is to create channels for the SRSGA to communicate. Proper communication is so important to a healthy life on the personal level, but it transcends to an organizational level as well. Serving as the Speaker has given me ample time to practice and enhance specific communication skills. Throughout the year I have facilitated group conversations, practiced using assertive language, moderated difficult discussion topics including mental health, and utilized active listening in both an individual and group setting. I also began to learn how to speak intentionally and take the time to consider my words before I speak them to life. Having a basic foundation in these communication concepts will help me connect with the student body, administration, and faculty and ultimately help the campus community flourish regardless to what uncertainty is thrown our way.”
7For Senator Condon: I’ve noticed on your social media the promises you’re making on your platform, how do you plan to fill those in such a short amount of time?
Senator Condon: “This is a really great question! I have to acknowledge that yes, I am making a lot of campaign promises compared to my competitor. I have promised to work on making SRU more sustainable, to create an adhoc committee on Mental Health, to do more to help Student Organizations thrive, and to be the link between campus and administration. I believe that all of these can be accomplished through delegation and through tireless work in SGA. I do not intend to accomplish these things singlehandedly or alone. I intend to collaborate with the VP of Diversity and Inclusion on the Mental Health adhoc, to work with clubs such as Sustainable Solutions on making Slip a more sustainable campus, and to work with the VP of Outreach and the Parliamentarian on making campus better for student organizations. And, for being the link between campus, I have already made my phone number public and intend to continue to talk to students about what concerns they have so I can bring them up in my counterpart meetings. So, to summarize, I 100% agree that if it was just me I could not do this. However, I believe we as SRU can work together to create a better community for us all.”
8Relationships and maturity are really important to having a successful SGA. What are your views on working as a team following policy?
Senator Condon: “Relationships are definitely the backbone of SGA and of building a cohesive Senate. One of the big ways I want to encourage a team mentality is through giving Senators more credit for the work they are doing. I also want to acknowledge the places where we all might have differences as strengths instead of points of contention. We are all called to represent, so there will be points of contention simply because, to represent Slippery Rock accurately, we must disagree.”
Mr. Desing: “I believe that as an SGA our cohesiveness and our ability to work as a team is one of the most important things we need. My view of working as a team would be that we can all effectively communicate both as an E-board and effectively communicate to the senate. We shouldn’t let our personal feelings decide how to handle issues because as an SGA we have to realize we comprise more than just the individuals serving on it. We are the voice of the student body and in order to do our best for them we have to make sure we can all work together effectively. We should always focus on working with each other and not against each other.”
Senator Gish: “I feel as though every E-board member has their own voice to contribute to a team effort and my personal view is that through maturity and the relationships we continue to form, following policy as a team will come naturally. It is to be developed and continuously improve.”
VP Graziani: “I think that policy is a great “backbone” to look at, but it is not the only answer. I feel that some candidates in this race are relying too heavily on their strict knowledge of policy when if fact this is a student organization that is supposed to help students as times change. Things that might have been issues last year may not be issues this year. This is when policy falls and the idea of true leadership has to be present and visible.”
Senator Lindgren: “I think everyone on Executive Board should know why the policy is in place. I believe that there should be trust in our team. Each committee does amazing work to solve issues to help improve SRU.”
Senator Reilly: “It’s very important to me that we keep things professional within SRSGA, many of us have developed close friendships which some may see as problematic, but as long as we don’t mix business with our personal lives we can have a strong SGA. It’s our duty to put the students first and create a welcoming place for everyone here. We are meant to be a resource for our students, and we can’t achieve this if we are having arguments or not focus on what is truly important.”
9For presidential candidates: If you do not win this position, will you remain engaged with SGA and advocate for students?
Senator Condon: “Yes, I absolutely intend to remain engaged with the community at SRU. I am not 100% sure how, going forward, I will be involved in the community and whether or not SGA will be a part of that. However, I have a passion for advocating for students on campus, and I honestly believe that, regardless of what the outcome of this election is, I will still want to represent in some form.”
Speaker Sciuto: “I would definitely apply to be a senator in the fall, the new senate structure is something that really excites me and I would love to take advantage of either being a senator at large, or one for CHES. It would be cool to be the first group of senators, we can test the waters see what works and what doesn’t.”
10For presidential candidates: What are your top three goals for this coming year?
Senator Condon: “My top three goals are to 1). create an adhoc committee on mental health, 2). to promote student organizations and their growth, and 3). to have the campus community be better heard by administration.”
Speaker Sciuto: “1). Collaborate with VP outreach to create an efficient way to communicate what the presidential commissions are doing to the student body. 2). Fill senate. 3). Long term evaluation/research student involvement/burnout.”
11For Vice President Graziani: How will you bring everyone together to build a sense of community as you discussed a lack of outreach and unity?
VP Graziani: “I plan on ‘taking our senate out’ to more activities in other departments around campus. I was able to plan a lot of fun bonding this year both on and off-campus but I feel that we need to switch direction and place an emphasis on creating bonds on campus with other clubs and organizations. This could be going to a club event that a senator is a part of and bringing all other senators with us to not only show support for our senator but for that club or organization.”
12For presidential candidates: How do you plan to work with the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion to make sure SGA stays committed to social justice?
Senator Condon: “I think that the biggest thing we as an SGA can do to stay committed to social justice is to support the initiatives that the next VP decides to pursue. I plan to work with them closely as we figure out what the best things we, as an SRU community, can do to continue addressing the problems we have on campus with diversity and inclusion.”
Speaker Sciuto: “While this question is directed as me as a presidential candidate, at the end of the day it is really about how we as an e-board could stay committed to the concept of social justice. It is important to sit down as an e-board and define explicit expectations. Specifically asking the VPODAI what does support mean to you? One thing I can do is trust them. They were elected into that role for a reason. They should be able to take the reins and accomplish anything they set their mind to. I’ll be there every step of the way helping in any way I can, and I will be the support they can turn to at any time.”
13For Senator Condon: Are you saying the senate should not vote? Why should one VP get the say? Isn’t it important to see what students think is needed/where their money goes?
Senator Condon: “I absolutely at no point said or implied that Senate should not vote. I simply stated that the VP of Diversity and Inclusion is the expert on the topics of diversity and inclusion and as such it is important to listen to what they have to say. That does not mean that their word is the final say or that more discussion cannot happen, however I think that it is important to acknowledge, once again, that they were elected to fill that position and to represent those students. To the last question, yes, it is important that students have a say in where SGA money is allocated, once again I never said or implied anything otherwise.”
14Instead of an ad hoc [for mental health], would it not be an option to collaborate with existing clubs on campus such as NAMI or Active Minds?
Senator Condon: “This question is definitely an interesting one to address. I believe an adhoc committee for mental health is needed for the same reason that a committee on Diversity and Inclusion is needed. Yes, absolutely there are student organizations on campus that are attempting to address the issue, but that does not mean that an SGA based response is not also warranted. As I have talked with students on campus, there is a desire for there to be a change in mental health on campus, and I believe that this is one big step we can take to start making a difference. The adhoc committee would also work closely with existing clubs such as NAMI and Active Minds to collaborate.”
15For all candidates: How do you envision your position will look if classes/student life does not continue on campus next year?
Senator Condon: “Honestly, I am hoping that this does not happen! If it does, however, I think the biggest role I will have as President is to continue to represent the concerns of the student body to Administration, to hear what types of problems come up, and to advocate for students. It also, as Speaker [Sciuto] has pointed out, leaves a lot of room for creativity and initiative, and that is something that is invaluable and exciting!”
Mr. Desing: “I imagine that my position will be rather strange if we do not go back to campus next year as if we do not go back most clubs will not function and we will likely not be paying the student activity fee. In the case that we don’t my position will likely look at assisting the clubs that can continue to function while not being on campus while mostly focusing on policy and continuing to look over and revise it as necessary.”
Senator Gish: “I have been very interested in the range of Distance Advocacy and am currently really looking into the topic. I do however envision VPDI being more heavily policy and structure focused if we do not continue on campus.”
VP Graziani: “I feel like my position will really have to continue to change and adapt if we do not return to campus. My committee and I have been working hard to come up with bonding opportunities off-campus and it has defiantly shined a light on how crucial that human aspect is to my position. I feel like there are still other ways to grow this position in a digital format.”
Senator Lindgren: “I envision still working with administration to get the university to a point where we can go back to on campus learning. I would also hold office hours through zoom and other means to help students if any problems were to arise. I would also promote events hosted by administration and clubs.”
Senator Reilly: “I think my position will still be able to run smoothly, since social media will be the main part of communication. I plan to have zoom meetings, promote my committee on social media so I can hopefully grow it and obtain interest over the summer as well. I plan to reach out to communications students who have an interest in design and social media to hopefully join the committee. Overall, I just plan to try and make it as simple and effective as possible, to still have our focus on other clubs and organizations and be involved with them.”
Speaker Sciuto: “As I mentioned in the town hall, everything would just be done with technology. I think this would be a time for us to get creative.”
16For Vice President Graziani: After one year of experience how do you plan to improve your internal responsibilities to the organization?
VP Graziani: “I know that my responsibilities as the VP of Internal Affairs will really have a shift to recruitment since we lost our spring elections for senate this year, as well as our change in structure. This will be a massive task that will take a lot of planning and collaboration between us and outreach.”
17For presidential candidates: What is your top priority as president and what is the first step you will take to make progress on it? (question submitted by Riley Keffer)
Senator Condon: “My top priority as President will be to address Mental Health by creating an adhoc committee on Mental Health. Again, it is such an important topic and I believe an SGA response is one of the first big steps we can take towards addressing it.”
Speaker Sciuto: “I am curious in collaborating with teachers and student engagement and leadership and possibly doing a study on student involvement/burnout. The first step after being elected would definitely be reaching out to my advisors and seeing if they have anyone in mind that could/would be interested in mapping out what the study would look like/what it’s purpose would be. I am interested in collecting data on why students either get involved, or choose not to, and then looking for trends to see if there are any bridges we can build to connect the campus community.”
18One of the largest problems today is affordability of college including other expenses than tuition. How do you plan to support students with books and food?
Senator Condon: “This is such a big and important question, and one that I would definitely rely on Student and Academic Affairs for a more comprehensive address of. As of right now, SGA does have a food pantry called Bob’s Cupboard that provides food for food insecure students. In the way of books, I was able to sit on an OER (Open Educational Resource) committee last semester at SRU, and I would like to continue pursuing the path of having cheaper and/or free textbooks for college classes at SRU.”
Mr. Desing: “This past year I served on the OER (Open Educational Resources) committee. We have been making a lot of progress and looking to do more with finding free and cheap online textbooks or sites to use to makes books more affordable to students. The biggest thing we have been promoting is a site called Tophat. This site gives functional classroom use and a variety of features that students can use to read textbooks or professors can use to enhance their class. It is subscription based but the good news is that as more classes start to use it the cheaper it will be for students as the subscription gives you access to Tophat and is the same price regardless of how many classes you are using it for so if you have three classes it is still the same price and the price of top hat is cheaper than many text books. For food we will continue to work with the food pantry and explore more options for affordable food for students and look into possibly having a meal swipe donation program but that is to be looked at more in the coming year.”
Senator Gish: “The problem of access to food or materials is definitely very real and prevalent with college campuses, I will strive to continue the efforts of Bob’s Market, and brainstorm for initiatives to offer support with materials.”
VP Graziani: “We have our food pantry up at the [Macoskey] center that is no questions asked and available to any SRU student. I would love to possibly start a new initiative with our bookstore regarding a kind of book loyalty program that could involve discounted rates.”
Senator Lindgren: “Working with the Macoskey center, I want to help promote Bob’s Cupboard and make students know it is a resource on our campus. Also, I would like to work with the student support office and highlight their resources as well.”
Senator Reilly: “I’m not sure how I can exactly support the students with books and food, but I would [definitely] help to promote the help we can offer by emails and social media. We could possibly even mail something to the students so their families know as well that we can offer [them] help during this difficult time for many people.
19Is it really an institution’s responsibility to address mental health that much ? We have a new director of the counseling center and other orgs that focus on it.
Senator Condon: “Yes, absolutely. The point of SGA is to address student concerns, and this is one that has been brought up to me many times in conversation. We need to make lots of big steps, and I believe SGA becoming involved in the conversation even more is one of those important steps.”
Mr. Desing: “The way I see it is that the university is like a business and we are like the customers. If we have a problem then we tell the business and in order to keep us as customers they work to solve the problem. While it is great that we have a new director of the counseling center and organizations to help promote mental health awareness ultimately I see that there is still room for improvement. There are students who despite knowing of the counseling center don’t visit, feel like they can’t fit it into their schedule, or don’t even know about walk in appointments. While we may do everything we can in our power to help we can’t cause any campus changes, such as the change in counseling hours and change to unlimited sessions, without the administration. These changes happened because we as a student body made them present to administration and got them changed but without working with the administration we wouldn’t have been able to do this. This is an issue that we as a community have to all work together on.”
Senator Gish: “I believe it is a responsibility to be addressing mental health continually. To leave the professional matters to the counseling center and not overstep, but still advocating for the issues to show support as a whole community.”
VP Graziani: “Our job as SGA is to support the students and address the issues that they face. As long as Mental Health is an issue for students at SRU, we will continue to advocate for a change.”
Senator Lindgren: “The institution does play a big part, but I think It comes down to the student. SRU has recognized this as an issue and have put funding towards many resources to help alleviate this problem. I am open to any student that wants to talk about mental health. It comes to the choice to speak up. Just recently in SRSGA we had a mental health community café organized by VP Calvert and Social Justice committee and only members of SRSGA and students already passionate on helping to find solutions to this problem were there. I believe to really address mental health on our campus, it is the choice of the student to take advantage of these resources in place and letting their voice be heard about the issue.”
Senator Reilly: “I think it is the [responsibility] of every student to be self-aware and understand their minds and bodies so we are able to help them. I think it’s important to be able to have an understanding of yourself, because it can also help you to notice when someone else may be struggling with a similar issue. We are an organization by students for students and it is our job to be able to help our students as much as we can. Considering this is the space they are living in, I [definitely] think it’s important that we address issues of mental health because they are under our supervision and care. Yes we have a new director and clubs that focus on this already, but the more light on the situation the more open the conversation becomes and the [more] help can be [received]. We have also had [events] that seemed to allow for a lot of strong discussion that the counseling center is taking to help them grow on campus. Sometimes students are afraid to speak up about what they need to higher positions and are willing to talk students, and if that is the case then we need to be that voice for them.”
20For presidential candidates: Could you discuss your strategy for accomplishing initiatives beyond communicating with administration?
Senator Condon: “My number one strategy for accomplishing things is delegation. As I said earlier, I cannot do this alone, I am only one guy and, no matter how much I do, I will always need the support of Senate and e-board to accomplish our goals.”
Speaker Sciuto: “A good way to handle tangible initiatives like parking, or sustainability on campus is to apply pressure. Do you remember in middle school what it felt like when you were taking a test and your teacher was peaking over your shoulder. I see SGA as that teacher in certain situations. While we might not be able to build a new parking lot, we can lobby to administration by constructing proclamation, attending trustee meetings, go to borough counsel meetings and so on. At the end of the day, we the students are the customer, and if we are unhappy with something, they have to change it. Students have the power, and SGA is just the means to exert that power.”
21The new senator structure will be important for representation of students but will take a strong e-board to be successful. How do you plan on doing this?
Senator Condon: “The role of E-board during this time is to nurture the new Senator rules, provide them more form, and to support the Senators who fill those positions. I think that all of E-board, especially considering their past experience on SGA, will be valuable resources to the new Senators in providing guidance and mentorship.”
Mr. Desing: “The E-board needs to present a unified whole so we will likely focus on proper communication and teamwork to make a cohesive board. We will need to understand what each member of the board is working towards and how we can each help one another. Then we can help guide the senators who will be in these positions on what to do. These positions while still very similar in functionality to the old senator positions are new and can leave people confused or anxious about what to do. As an E-board we should be there to help those in these positions. We as an E-board need to be there to hear the concerns of the senators and of their constituents.”
Senator Gish: “I am ecstatic for the new senate structure and I think it will work brilliantly, I believe the most important role that E-board can play to support the new structure is by delegating senators and [emphasizing] the power they already hold.”
VP Graziani: “Once again, I plan on having a very strong focus on recruitment primarily with my faculty and staff connections on campus. I know that we have to try to fill as many positions as possible to help the new structure prosper in the way that it was designed to do.”
Senator Lindgren: “Meeting students where they are. I am debating on having Student and Academic Affairs committee around campus to get the thoughts and feelings of students in those disciplines. The new senate structure will take a lot of effort to promote but it is important that we do get that representation in SGA. I was the only safety management major on SGA this school year. Safety management is the 3rd largest major on our campus. It is important that we do fill senate to get full representation of our campus.”
Senator Reilly: “I plan to have a strong E-board by being open and honest about the [situation]. The bottom line is that this is going to be a new experience for all of us, and it’s okay to be confused, make mistakes and ask questions because we are learning. Pretending that we have it all together and making it seem like we know everything will only cause a lack of honesty and dysfunction between the [senate] and e-board. I think as long as we stay truthful, pay attention to what is working and what isn’t and correct any issues we find quickly and efficiently we can have a strong SGA.”
Speaker Sciuto: “By being a cohesive unit. I cannot stress how important it is for the E-board to be on the same page, to have each other’s backs. I believe in the group that I am campaigning with. We are all ready and willing to learn as we go. We do not have all the answers, nor should we. When you have this mentality, you are open to new ideas and feedback. This in turn makes you a stronger leader, and helps you earn the respect of those you are working alongside.”
22For Senator Reilly: What can you do to expand SGA’s outreach efforts beyond social media, especially because not all students are on social media or don’t follow SGA?
Senator Reilly: “At this time it is difficult to reach out beyond social media or technology due to COVID-19 and not being able to have that face to face contact like I’m planning for, but another resource we do have is mailing. Especially right now with having classes online, e-mail is something students are having to pay attention to and sending emails with information about different events and having a news letter during this time would be [extremely] helpful. The problem with social media is that if you aren’t posting at a prime time when students are active, they may never see the information about the event, but the [e-mail] will be there until they open it or choose to delete it. I think it would be a more direct way to reach students. I also plan to grow our following much larger than it currently is, we have a small [amount] of students that follow us and that needs to change. When we are able to be back on campus, I plan to have a table during common hour at least once a week, attend events to help promote SGA and also show support to the club(s) hosting that event and get ourselves better known with administration so they can also help direct students to us.”
23For Mr. Desing: Are there parts of the SGA finance policy that you would like to see changed? If so, what and why?
Mr. Desing: “The section of finance policy I would like to change article V which is expenditure guidelines. We are actually in the process of reviewing and revising this section in finance committee. I want to have further clarification for expenses so that it is clearer for clubs and organizations what they can and cannot have funded as some of the wording can be a little confusing or because something the organization requests is not explicitly stated or covered in the policy. My goal is to make it easier for organizations to understand finance policy because I know how difficult and confusing it can be to first look at and understand.”
24For Senator Gish: How will you advocate for diversity and inclusion within the SRSGA e-board and senate?
Senator Gish: “I interpreted this two ways:
“How will I advocate for diversity and inclusion within our organization yourself? My plan of action is to implement ‘hopefully’ lasting changes right away, Microphone usage, Senator Diversity Training, and other tactics that will become the norm and expectation to move forward inclusively.
“Secondly, How will I advocate for the SRSGA E-board and Senate from my position? Advocacy in my opinion, comes through education and practice. I’d like to emphasize that no one will master diversity and inclusion and again it is a progress based journey. With that being said, conversation based advocacy is my goal moving forward.”