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The Rocket, WSRU-TV and the Slippery Rock Student Government Association (SGA) hosted an election town hall Thursday on Zoom to give those running for executive board positions an opportunity to answer students’ questions.
With more than 30 students, administrators and faculty members in attendance, seven executive board candidates answered questions concerning their candidacies.
The candidates in attendance included Senator Nick Condon, Speaker of the Senate Joey Sciuto, Nathaniel Desing, Senator Leif Lindgren, Vice President of Internal Affairs Mia Graziani, Senator Amanda Reilly and Senator Alexis Gish.
To vote for any executive board candidate, visit the SGA CORE page. Voting opens April 20 at 9 a.m.
Condon said he didn’t originally intended on running for SGA president and that the main reason he is running is to promote student mental health on campus. He said after seeing a lot of things go on involving mental health, he wants to do more and make more resources available for students.
“I feel like SGA could be doing more to address [mental health],” Condon said. “Someone needs to step up and fill in that void we have right now.”
Reilly said she applied for the vice president of Outreach position to get involved with a bigger platform and have more hands-on experience with students.
Graziani is running for the vice president of Internal Affairs position, and she is the only candidate to be running for the position she currently holds. She said she has grown a lot through this role and is excited to see what the positions have to offer next year.
Sciuto is running for president and said there are a lot of parallels between his current role and the president position.
“Because I was Speaker [of the Senate], I was able to practice a lot of communication skills like facilitating conversations and brainstorming in a group and I see the value that those communication concepts can bring to the position of president,” Sciuto said.
Gish said she has always had a passion for issues regarding diversity and inclusion, so she thought the position of vice president of Diversity and Inclusion would be perfect for her to be a part of change on campus.
Desing said he is running for the vice president of Finance position because he has always been a numbers person, and because he was a part of the finance committee, he has a better understanding of how things operate.
Lindgren said he enjoyed his time as a senator on the student and academic affairs committee, and the vice president of Student and Academic Affairs position is a combination of everything he likes.
Condon said he will work closely with administration as president to improve student life on campus.
“A big thing that I want to be is the connection between student concerns and administration,” Condon said. “I am concerned about what students are concerned about.”
Most of the questions asked during the town hall revolved around the hope that students will return to campus in the fall. But, in the event that students do not return to campus because of COVID-19, Condon said he wants to make sure that SGA remains in contact with students.
“I think the number one concern I have is losing contact with students and losing sight of what students are concerned about and being able to advocate for student concerns,” Condon said.
Sciuto said him and SGA is up for the challenge if students were to not go back to campus next semester.
“As problems arise, as an E-board, we’ll need to brainstorm together and reach out to students,” Sciuto said. “It’ll be interesting to see how we can collaborate with things like UPB and other big organizations on campus.”
When the candidates were asked what they think the biggest issue facing SRU today is, Condon said it is hard to pinpoint which one is the biggest.
“Commuters have different problems than people on campus and people living on campus have different problems than those at the apartments,” Condon said.
Condon said he does see mental health as being one of the bigger issues though.
“The number one thing that should be the focus is looking at each consist constituency and asking what we can do for them specifically with the biggest problems they’re facing,” Condon said. “If we just treat it as ‘we have one big problem, let’s put a band-aid on it,’ then we aren’t serving students the right way.”
Sciuto said a possible solution for diversity and inclusion is involvement.
“I have a very much solution-focused problem solving style,” Sciuto said. “Part of that is looking at instances that are already overcoming those problems and how we can create more of those moments.”
Gish said she believes that they must redefine the meaning of student government associations and become more involved to have more of a connection with students.
“At the end of the day, we do have positions on this E-board, we are student leaders, but we’re still students,” Gish said.
Condon said he hopes to support the next vice president of Diversity and Inclusion by helping them as they carry out their duties.
“I think that we should be focused on how we can make Slippery Rock a more diverse and inclusive campus, and that just comes back to supporting the vice president of Diversity and Inclusion in whatever they decide to pursue.”
Graziani and Sciuto agree that attending campus events is another way they can support the vice president of Diversity and Inclusion.
“Whenever we had Dr. Yusef Salaam come to campus, instead of having our meeting that week for SGA, we actually all attended the event,” Graziani said. “It was a great way for us to get out of our normal setting and situation and experience a phenomenal speaker.”
The next SGA virtual town hall meeting will be on April 23 at 5 p.m. on Zoom. The CORE form is open until April 22. This event will feature a panel of guests to answer questions about campus sustainability.