Posted by Andrew Cantor
On Feb. 22 about 80 students packed into the SPA to hear Thomas Rivera ‘13 campaign for a seat on the SGA executive committee.
Logan Brenner '12, former vice president for Academic Affairs, is studying abroad this semester in Turks and Caicos, which created a vacancy for the position.
Rivera '13 ran uncontested for vice president for Academic Affairs, an executive board position, and won the position with 280 votes. There were 37 abstentions and 15 no confidence votes.
"It's a very tough position, honestly," Alex Stark '11, SGA president, said. "Especially midway though the semester, it's hard to find people running for that. The fact that we got someone very qualified for the job is even better."
Rivera was not required to give a speech for the election because it was uncontested.
"I didn't have to do this," Rivera said. "I didn't have to give the speech and put up posters. I told everyone to come out tonight because we have to make a shift from apathy to action."
"Currently student power is in the hands of a few students … Some of us forget that SGA represents the student body and a lot of us are simply giving up this power by not voting," he said.
Rivera launched a Facebook group named "Bridging the Gap between Apathy and Empowerment" where students can voice their ideas about how to shape academic affairs. His goal is to make SGA more transparent and accessible.
Rivera, in his new role as vice president for Academic Affairs, plans to have a dinner where students and faculty members from every department can meet and speak informally.
"As a business major I've never had the opportunity to speak with a biology professor," Rivera said. "It's important we speak to faculty members in other disciplines … and it's important they speak with different students."
Rivera also wants to alter the major fair and change the event venue from one large room with multiple majors represented at tables, to separate classrooms for each major. He said this is more conducive for an intimate atmosphere, giving prospective majors a better idea of each department.
In his speech, Rivera spoke about the need to be less apathetic in school affairs. The large student presence in the SPA on Monday night seemed to indicate, especially for an uncontested election, student interest in campus policy.
"We didn't even serve pizza on Monday night," Alex Stark '11, SGA president, said. "We usually feel pizza is a big draw for these things."