Student Government presidential and vice president hopefuls vied for the positions Tuesday in a debate preceding the elections.
The debate, which took place in the Loyola Science Center, provided candidates with the opportunity to explain their campaign platforms and discuss their plans for The University’s upcoming year.
Hayden Strickland, a junior health administration major and presidential candidate, said he knew he wanted to run for president as early as his first year at The University.
“This place means so much to me. As a freshman I knew I wanted to leave something behind,” Strickland said. “We want to work with your agenda, we want to bring the student body and Student Government together because we believe it lacks inclusivity.”
Aris Rotella, a junior history and political science major and presidential candidate, emphasized increasing communication between the student and Student Government.
“We are establishing an infrastructure for communication for the semester to come. We hope to leave real, substantial marks on this campus,” Rotella said.
Candidates discussed what they think should be The University’s biggest priority in the next five years. Rotella said that targeting incoming first-year is key to managing The University’s expansion.
“To do that we need to reach out to freshman even on Preview Day; we need to focus on U of S admissions so they know we are the reason The University of Scranton is great,” Rotella said.
Strickland’s running mate Kevin Prendergast also said he hopes to increase transparency between the student body and Student Government.
“Holding senators responsible for connecting with their constituents will be paramount under a Strickland-Prendergast executive ticket,” Prendergast said.
Additionally, the presidential candidates discussed what they think Student Government could improve upon. Strickland said he hopes to expand The University’s community service role in the city of Scranton in effort to improve its reputation in the greater community. Rotella said he hopes to increase cooperation with the faculty senate.
Both pairs addressed how they plan to ensure that they advocate for issues that students are genuinely concerned with. Jason Weinpel, Rotella’s running mate, said he and Rotella plan to continue to look for constituents’ feedback.
“We went door-to-door … that is something we intend to keep up if we were to get elected. We’ll go door-to-door to get candid feedback,” Weinpel said.
Prendergast said he and Strickland plan to continue with the suggestion boards they have employed while campaigning. He said that Student Government may need to change the way in which it legislates.
“We are a function for you guys,” Prendergast said. “Our legislation that we pass is basically based on ideas senators come up with … It shouldn’t be that way. It should be we talked with you guys, you guys tell your senators what you want to see happen on campus.”
The candidates also discussed how they propose to maintain Ignatian values as president and vice president. Strickland said he will make sure that students’ voices are heard.
“I’m going to rephrase ‘AMDG: all for the greater glory of god,’ I’m going to rephrase it to ‘all for the greater glory of The University students.’ I’m going to go above and beyond to let your voices be heard,” Strickland said.
Speaking on the same topic, Rotella said he thinks it is important to care for the whole self.
“Cura Personalis, where you have the care of the whole person … It’s about finding who you are on the inside, honing that and making that what this University experience is about,” Rotella said.
Elections for Student Government will be from 8:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. Thursday. Ballots can be found online at my.scranton.
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