Posted by Julia Leef
Approximately 50 students gathered on April 11 in Davis Auditorium to listen to 40 candidates advocate for positions in the Student Government Association. It was the third round of the spring elections this semester, with the previous round's results released on March 30.
Raiza Nazareth '12, vice president of Communications and Outreach, hosted the event, as is traditional for her position. Amanda Seres '14, who will fill Nazareth's position next semester, also attended.
Candidates gave a three-minute speech on their goals and experiences, and the audience had the opportunity to ask them questions. Several groups, such as the 10 students who ran for senator-at-large positions, underwent the question-and-answer session together.
Although many of the candidates are running unopposed, there are several contested positions in this round's elections, including president and secretary of the Class of 2015.
Allan Brown '15, Marcella Jewell '15 and Soraya Attia '15 are all running for class president.
Jewell is a tour guide on campus, writes for The Skidmore News and has an online food blog called "This Skid Kid Grills." She emphasized how these experiences have given her a direct relationship with the College community. Jewell said she wants to redefine "class unity," encouraging students to share their passions and creating a supportive and open-mind class in a comfortable environment. She would like to encourage relationships between students and the SGA, compromising with the SGA to resolve the limitations on students' abilities to use resources on campus and to support student interests.
Brown, a self-proclaimed "idea-bringer" said he will support his or someone else's idea until it becomes a reality, and that one of his major campaigns would be to give all members of the student body access to the College's resources, such as the wood shop and music equipment, even if these interests lie outside of their designated majors. He would also like to create events students cannot ignore, such as adding a projector on the red side of the Murray-Aikins Dining Hall with Skidmore-related commercials.
Attia is the current president of the Class of 2015 and, as such, helped plan the class unity event this semester, which more than 150 first-years attended. She has experience in planning other events, such as the Wild Wild West weekend, and said she serves as an active voice on the Senate. She would like to pursue better study spaces on campus, especially in Case Center, and is working on a proposal with other students to present to the administration regarding the email content presidents can send to their respective classes. She said she would also like to create more focus during Inter-Class Council meetings and is not afraid to speak up and bring peer ideas in front of the Senate.
Lily Rivera '15 and Madeleine Kanazawa '15 are running for the position of class secretary.
Rivera currently serves as the Class of 2015's secretary, and encouraged continuity as part of her campaign. She said she would like to help plan events that create a fun environment on the weekend, including future class unity trips.
Kanazawa said she would like to help the College become a more improved and safe environment, as well as aid her class in uniting through the organization of more events. Kanazawa could not be present at Speech Night, addressing students via proxy, who, because of this, were not allowed to ask the candidates questions.
The candidates for senator at large positions:
- Sam Harris '15 has interacted with Senate before through his role as coach of the Skidmore Quidditch team and wanted to become further involved as a senator. He would like to serve on the Budget & Finance and Club Affairs committees. He said one of his strengths is he knows how to work with other people through his involvement in various clubs.
- Evan Friedler '13 has served on the Inter-Hall Board for the past two years as a hall president. He said he sees the Senate as the heart of the issues on campus and the system best able to affect change. He would like to serve on the Budget & Finance and Communications & Outreach committees.
- Kojo Amarteyfio '15 is a member of the Committee of Diversity Affairs and a reporter for The Skidmore News. He would like to push for more CODA activity amongst the student body. He also said he wants to change the ways in which people think about diversity and make dialogues more available to the community, moving beyond the sharing of personal stories that can be difficult for everyone to relate to.
- Brittany Dingler '15 has sat on Senate before and has spoken with Seres about a new program that would combine the efforts of the Saratoga community, Benef-Action and students to increase passion for community service on campus. She also said she wants to help first-years become more involved in leadership positions and increase the amount of communication between peer mentors and first-year seminars.
- Tami Cohen '13 said she has been interested in serving on the SGA since her first-year, but was unable to participate due to scheduling conflicts. Among her goals, she would like to bring more sustainability onto campus by supporting a water bottle free campaign and serve on the Committee of Diversity Affairs.
- Emily Paull '13 said the top two things that have changed her life were enrolling in Skidmore and joining Inter-Group Relations. She would like to incorporate diversity into a greater part of campus life, and aims to sit on the Academic Council and the Committee of Diversity Affairs. She said she would like to mandate the fourth hour of Scribner Seminars, in which peer mentors should speak about diversity to first-years.
- Doug Hamilton '13 would like to help inspire new clubs on campus and encourage creativity in students. He would like to serve on the Academic Council and Club Affairs committee. He said he would like to make clubs more available to first-years and said one of his strengths is his ability to take charge when a leader is needed.
- Britt Dorfman '14 has sat on the Inter-Hall Board for the past three semesters as vice president of Kimball and wanted to become more connected to the Senate. She would like to increase the transparency between the SGA and the student body, and strengthen the connection between the College and the Saratoga community. One of her goals is to increase the Scribner Library hours so that it will stay open later, as it does on Wednesdays until 2 a.m.
- Joe Matake '15 said he has always been a fan of the College traditions and would like to create more, such as a Skidmore handshake or cheer, in order to promote unity and community amongst the student body even after graduation. He also said he would like to try to change how students are housed in dorms to reflect whether they prefer a loud or a quiet working environment.
- William (HB) Heidepriem-Baird '14 has had experience in the US Senate and the SGA Senate, and plans to promote sustainability along with increasing the communication between the SGA and student-run clubs and organizations. He would like to sit on the Diversity Affairs and Budget & Finance committees. He said he would also like to increase sustainability on campus by turning off the lights in the Scribner Library and the Murray-Aikins Dining Hall after a late hour, such as 3 a.m.
The majority of the candidates in this election are uncontested, with students running for positions on the Inter-Hall Board, the Senate and the Inter-Class Council:
- Jess Dunning '15 is running for sustainability senator, a new position on Senate established this semester.
- Hannah DeGraaf '15 is running for president of Penfield.
- Nick Toker '15 is running for vice president of Penfield.
- Lauren Scauzzo '15 is running for president of Wait.
- Nile Nair '15 is running for vice president of Wait and class treasurer.
- Madeleine Kanazawa '15 is running for president of Jonsson Tower, in addition to the contested position of class secretary.
- Jarred Green '15 is running for vice president of Jonsson Tower and social chair for the Class of 2015.
- Andrew Lowy '15 is running for president of Howe-Rounds.
- Erik Morrison '15 is running for president of Kimball.
- Sibo Gama '15 is running for president of McClellan.
- Joe Matake '15 is running for vice president of McClellan, in addition to a senator at large position.
- Sam Harris '15 is running for vice president of Wilmarth in addition to a Senator at Large position.
- Will Wygal '13 is running for vice president of his class.
- Evelyn Canela '13 is running for class treasurer.
- Nicole Cox '13 is running for class secretary.
- Meaghan Yolles '13 is running for social chair for the Class of 2013.
- Laura Venner '14 is running for class president.
- William (HB) Heidepriem-Baird '14 is running for vice president of his class in addition to a Senator at Large position.
- Jess Sonnenfeld '14 is running for class treasurer.
- Noam Yossefy '15 is running for vice president of the Class of 2015.
- Z Steinhauer '13 is running for the Speaker's Bureau Chair.
- Taylor Dafoe '13 is running for chair of the Student Entertainment Committee.
- Donald Duff '13 is running for vice president for Financial Affairs.
Students also may vote on three proposed amendments to the SGA constitution. These amendments will add the SGA president to the Committee on Diversity Affairs, convert two Tradition Committee positions to Senate requirements, and update the constitution to reflect current SGA practices.
Voting will take place all day April 12 and the SGA will announce the results the next day on Friday, April 13. Students may vote onlineor at a voting station in the Atrium, the SGA office and the Residence Halls.