Published: April 7, 2016
As The University’s spring 2016 semester chugs into April, it is time for students to elect new Student Government officials for the 2016-2017 academic year.
Student Government campaigns began March 31 and voting is 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. today. Students can use RoyalSync to vote for student body president and vice president, class of 2017 senators, class of 2018 senators, class of 2019 senators, residential senators, commuter senators and off-campus senators.
Christopher Kilner, the current student body president and graduating senior, said Student Government is very involved on campus, doing more than setting budgets and overseeing clubs.
“We actively participate in the direction of policy on campus, and then we have initiatives,” Kilner said. “We also try to improve student life through pushing different offices on campus toward new initiatives.”
These Student Government initiatives include opening the first and second floors of the Weinberg Memorial Library for 24 hours and installing water fountains inside Gavigan Hall.
In today’s election, rising seniors David Bigley and Isabella Dolente are running unopposed for president and vice president, respectively. They said this is much different from previous years.
“This is much more relaxed,” Bigley said. “It gives us the ability to develop a better platform now that we don’t really have to think about how we’re going to campaign. We can think about what we’re actually going to do instead.”
Bigley has served as a class of 2017 senator for three years and appropriations committee chair for two years. The neuroscience major said his experience in Student Government would help him deal with situations in medical school in the future.
“I’m going to have to be able to speak to people of authority,” Bigley said. “Being able to conduct yourself in certain situations along with the ability to speak with people — I think that’s one of the biggest things I’ll be able to take away from potentially being president.”
Dolente is the current vice president and has served in various Student Government roles the past three years. She said she and Bigley plan to finish initiatives that she and Kilner started, including opening the Wellness Center on weekends.
“We want to try and do that because Chris (Kilner) and I got some good reception on that last year,” Dolente said. “I know that a lot of students get sick on the weekends and need somewhere to go to.”
The healthcare administration major mentioned other plans, including restoring the mural on Fitzpatrick Field and getting a new mascot costume.
“We are working on getting a new Iggy,” Dolente said. “I just feel like our mascot is not brought out enough, not only at sports, but at orientation for example.”
Bigley and Dolente are not the only candidates running unopposed. In fact, some positions with multiple officers will still have open seats to fill. Students can apply for these seats and will be appointed in the fall.
Paige Nonnenmacher is one of two students running for residential senator, an office that seats three students. The first-year student already has experience in Student Government from high school and also has ideas to bring to the table.
“I have a lot of initiatives of my own to try to improve campus life and build on the great foundation we have at Scranton,” Nonnenmacher said.
The class of 2019 senator race has six students running, but usually only four are elected to the position.
Professor Jack Strain teaches multiple communication classes on rhetoric and debate. He said effective communication is important for a candidate to win an election.
“If they can really demonstrate there’s something that they’re willing to fight for, and if someone shows they’re willing to fight on someone’s behalf, that’s the best way to really stand out from the field,” Strain said.
The winners for all positions will be announced after voting closes at 8 p.m. today on the second floor of the DeNaples Center.
Kilner said he has seen Student Government at The University changing and feels positively about the future of it.
“There’s a lot more room for growth, which is a positive, but I think at the same time there’s going to be some growing pains,” Kilner said. “It’s going to require the students on Student Government to really take initiative in terms of filling that growing opportunity.”
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