Posted by Taylor Ray '17
Twenty-seven candidates vying for Student Government Association positions mounted the stage at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening on Case Green. Approximately 80 students looked on as the introductions began.
Rather than giving speeches, the candidates - including some running for Senator-at-Large and positions in the class of 2017 - were asked to answer questions by SGA representatives and audience members. The thirteen candidates for the twenty available Senator-at-Large positions opened Speech Night with their responses to any issue at Skidmore College that had been raised to their attention.
Many of the Senator-at-Large candidates noted the unionization of workers at the College and agreed that students should continue to make a real effort to help. Other spoke of sustainability issues and the importance of maintaining relations between the student-run clubs and organizations and the SGA.
Many candidates expressed a desire for a more unified Skidmore and an updated method of spreading information about events on campus in order to bring students together.
"We need more of a connection between students and events so that everyone always knows what's going on," said Margaret Patterson '15.
"We are Skidmore College," said Breyton Croom '17. "We are Thoroughbreds, and we should work together so that we can run all the way around the track and get to first place."
Other Senator-at-Large candidates mentioned issues with registering for classes and the high amount of food waste at Skidmore.
First-Year Social Chair candidate, Bernice Langyintuo '17, was asked her opinion on spreading the word about SGA events.
"I would make sure that everyone gets an email about the events, and I would make posters because not everyone has Facebook," she said.
One of the hot topics of the night proved to be school-wide event planning and execution. First-year class president candidates Orr Genish '17, Jonathan Bartfeld '17, Abude Alasaad '17, and Rand Osathanugrah '17, all agreed that it is important to take into account both sides of the equation when presented with a concern in council meetings.
"I would take an example from Dwight Eisenhower and make people argue for their opponents ideas," Genish said. Others stated that working towards a common ground and doing everything possible to satisfy both sides is always important.
Before exiting the stage, Alasaad one final statement to the student audience.
"At the end of the year, I will invite all of you to a reflection meeting, and we will discuss exactly what I've done and what I've achieved," he said.
The candidates for First-Year Treasurer, a contested position, responded to how they would best use a single dollar to serve Skidmore students.
"I would do something that doesn't cost anything at all. Creative thought matters, and there are fun things that we could do with the resources around campus," Julia Elstein '17 said.
"I would plan an event that everyone would love," Croom, who is running for First-Year Treasurer in addition to a Senator-at-Large position, said. "I want all the freshmen students to be united, and I want everyone to have a great time at Skidmore,"
Allocating funds is an important job attributed to class treasurers. The three candidates for the First-Year Treasurer position were asked about their previous experience with managing money.
"In high school, I was the class dance club president. I've worked with committees with very little money. Allocating resources is very important, so I would save whatever I can and spend 10% of it on food. With every event, food is very important, and I think it will bring more people to SGA events," Anh Vu Nguyen '17 said.
"I've had a bank account ever since I was little," Croom said. "I jot down every dollar, every cent, every check, and every single piece of money that goes into my bank account. I want to make sure that we have enough money to do everything we want to do."
Elstein worked in the accounting department of a law firm this past summer, where she was in charge of sending and receiving trust checks.
"I'm used to working with a set amount of money and being in charge of sending it out to different people at different times," she said. "Fun events that get us together as a class and as a school are more fun than spending tons of money on things we can't afford."
To change gears, the candidates for senior class Vice President and senior class Treasurer took the stage. They were asked about possibilities for future events.
"I always look forward to Fun Day," said Sarah Dinkelacker '14, candidate for senior class vice president. "I really like that everyone dresses crazy...I think we should have a Fun Day times ten."
Jess Strasser '14, candidate for senior class Treasurer, added her own thoughts, saying that something outside the mold of the general senior week schedule would best utilize the larger budget allotted to senior week.
With the spotlight back on first-year positions, Maya Reyes '17 and Madison Plummer '17 spoke about what specific skills they would bring to the first-year Vice President position.
"I understand how to support a president," said Reyes, who has had experience in both treasurer and secretary positions. "I know how to play a supporting role within the class representative members."
Reyes also was involved in TEDxTokyo in the past, a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, and wants to display tweets about events on the large projector screen in the dining hall in order to get the word out more efficiently.
Plummer was the vice president of her high school graduating class and was on the student government executive board. She explained that she's open to all ideas, and that she wants to take advantage of the creativity that Skidmore embodies.
"I've worked very closely with the president in planning events. I can bring creativity to this position," she said.
Last to speak were candidates for the first-year senator positions. There are three positions available, and three candidates.
Candidates spoke about how to unify the diverse freshman class. Nick Friedman '17 noted that he wants to speed up the process via community service projects or team competitions.
"What I've noticed is that people bond best when they're working together on a team towards a common goal. Even when people who are polar opposites are working together, they bond."
Kevin Wang '17 mentioned social media and the room for improvement in the SGA's investment in bringing the class together. He also spoke about the need for more awareness of different cultures, suggesting branching off of the Asian Awareness club.
Candidate for Vice President for Diversity Affairs, Britt Dorfman '14, could not attend Speech Night in person, but an SGA representative read her written response to what can be done about the awareness of diversity on campus.
"I think that problems with any type of diversity will arise on a college campus that includes a variety of different types of people," she wrote. "I want to decrease the negative issues that we have on campus. Positive impacts will put us on that pathway, and shifts should be about action. I want people to have more positive things to say about our campus climate than negative."
Voting begins at midnight on Thursday, Sept. 19. There will be designated voting booths around campus during the day, and all students will receive a link that will allow them to vote online at any time on Thursday.
Candidates running for office:
Anya Hein '15
Brendis Gonzalez '16
Ibrahima Thiam '16
Lauren Scauzzo '15
Luca Mobilia '17
Margaret Patterson '15
Megan Shachter '17
Zachary Stiller '17
Charles Tetelman '16
Matt Sickles '17
John Schreur '17
Breyton Croom '17
Dorothy Parsons '17
Bernice Langyintuo '17--Class Social Chair
Orr Genish '17--Class President
Abude Alasaad '17--Class President
Jonathan Bartfeld '17--Class President
Rand Osathanugrah '17--Class President
Julia Elstein '17--Class Treasurer
Anh Vu Lam Nguyen '17--Class Treasurer
Breyton Croom '17--Class Treasurer
Maya Reyes '17--Class Vice President
Madison Plummer '17--Class Vice President
Dorothy Parsons '17--First-Year Senator
Kevin Wang '17--First-Year Senator
Nick Friedman '17--First-Year Senator
Sarah Dinkelacker '14--Senior Class Vice President
Jess Strasser '14--Senior Class Treasurer
Britt Dorfman '14--Vice President for Diversity Affairs