David Wolfe was elected to be the next president of the Slippery Rock University Student Government Association, after getting nearly 46 percent of the 1,240 votes tallied.
Wolfe led the way for his Together Our Goals Achieve (T.O.G.A.) party, which saw every member on its executive board ticket get elected into office.
“We are ecstatic by the success that we as a party had,” Wolfe said. “We are also very excited to work with the members of other parties that won spots and we are looking forward to bringing together our ideas with the ideas of the other parties to make a Student Government Association that is as successful as can possibly be.”
Wolfe received 564 votes, 213 more than second place finisher Alex Hiller of Party Rock, who registered 28 percent of the votes casted. Zach Hall of the Mario Party finished third with 194 votes (16 percent), while the independent candidates David Matuszak and Terrell McNeely tallied 93 and 17 votes, respectively. Rounding out the voting, 21 students wrote in a candidate of their choice.
Of T.O.G.A.’s candidates joining Wolfe, Kelly Moore was elected VP of Internal Affairs, James Henry won the position of VP of Student Affairs, and Benjamin Motyl took the VP of Financial Affairs spot. All three candidates won by double-digit margins. Christian McChesney, of the Mario Party, was the only non-T.O.G.A. representative elected to the executive board after running unopposed for the VP of Campus Outreach position.
There was nearly a 50 percent better turnout in this year’s election compared to last year, when only eight percent of the student body voted. The main reason for the increase in numbers likely stems from the competition in this year’s race. Five students ran for president this year, accompanied by several candidates for the other executive board positions, whereas all but one executive board position ran unopposed last spring.
The T.O.G.A. party campaigned several promises in the weeks leading up to the election. Restructuring the SGA budgeting system, improve campus parking, provide better lighting on campus roads, a revised Happy Bus schedule, better library hours, reduced costs around campus and a pledge to change the ‘elitist’ attitude of SGA were the key points for the party.
While many of the party’s ideas were at least shared in some manner by its two biggest competitors, Party Rock and the Mario Party, Wolfe heavily emphasized how his party hoped to use their diverse backgrounds in various areas to form a collaborative effort towards reaching the needs of the student body during the presidential debate on March 26. The different experiences the T.O.G.A. party has is the main reason Wolfe feels his party was successful in the election.
“We separated ourselves because of the experiences every one of our party members has,” Wolfe said. “We have all been a part of so many different organizations that we were able to garner support from everyone and the students knew they could trust us. We were not a one-vision party per se.”
Wolfe said that the mixed experiences the party campaigned on will allow for his executive board to have a better sense of unity, but expects SGA as a whole to be unified from the start regardless of the parties they ran for.
“The unity will allow us to get the ball rolling as soon as possible because we all know each other so well,” Wolfe said. “But don’t get me wrong, I expect us to be one unified senate starting right now.”
A unified senate is the top priority for Wolfe now, while party identity is no longer an issue at all.
“I will be working as hard as possible to create one united senate,” Wolfe said. “This article will be the last time party affiliation is mentioned. We are now one united senate who is going to come together and make every decision on what is best for the 8600-plus students that attend Slippery Rock University.”
To better ease into his new position, Wolfe will be seeking advice from SGA’s current president.
“I will be meeting quite a few times with President Jordan Bailley over the next few weeks,” Wolfe said. “His passion for student government will help me become a better president next year.”
Wolfe was obviously happy with the results of the election after a long, hard-fought campaign over the course of the spring semester.
“The election process is a tiring process,” Wolfe said. “But I think it makes sure that only passionate students run for office because of the amount of work one has to put into it. Nothing is perfect and there are some things I’d like to tweak, like the length of the process possibly. All in all, Zach Dornisch and the rest of the election commission did a fine job.”