Student government elections are well underway and candidates have kicked off their campaigning processes through social media and on campus. In an effort to put a voice to the faces on posters across campus, the Student Government Association (SGA) hosted its annual “Meet the Candidates” event in the Chamberlain Student Center Ballroom.
The event was led by a panel of standing elected officials in the SGA that raised a series of questions to hopeful candidates in multiple positions. Each candidate had two-minute-long increments to answer questions posed to them by the panel to provide clarity to the student body on their approach and what they intend to do if elected. Questions from the panel started with an opening statement, followed by a question specific to each position, and then closing remarks for each candidate.
The panel kicked off with the four presidential candidates outlining their plans in office for the upcoming year if elected. Candidates included standing SGA President Paige Bathurst, Brianna Reagan, Ryan John Mackenzie and Dimitry Faltas.
Following shortly after the presidential candidates’ panel was the lone executive vice president hopeful Joshua Zarahof and the two student trustee candidates, Mike Harrington, and Ama Hopkins — who was not able to attend.
Next up to the panel were Chief Financial Officer hopefuls Semaj Sullivan, Kavin Haldo, and Matt Keller. They all expressed their plans on how to manage student funding and gave ideas on how to allocate the club funding equitably for all organizations.
The event closed with the youngest group of students in Series 1 elections. Alternate Student Trustee candidates, Yuval Saar and Matt O’Laughlin weighed in on how they can make an impact as younger students in one of the earliest apprenticeship roles within the schools student government.
To make your vote count in this year’s Rowan Student Government Association election, students can vote online through Rowan campus labs.
Brianna Reagan, junior, journalism broadcast major with a minor in Africana studies: “I don’t want to tell you to vote for me or endorse me just because. I want you to take the time out of your day, whenever you see me on campus or through my social media to reach out and voice your concerns and see what I can do about them before putting in your vote. Your vote and your voice matters…”
Dimitry Faltas, junior: “I was born in Ukraine and adopted by an Egyptian Family who brought me to the USA when I was only two years old…I’ll lead by example with my actions and how I was raised to tackle anything that needs to be accomplished while I’m president. I’ll be prioritizing expanding more resources for mental health for our students, expanding parking, and reducing crime on campus with a few measures we will have to put into place. On the other hand, I want to be a President of the people and not only for my benefit but to help everyone who steps on the campus and helps everyone.”
Ryan John Mackenzie: “The current SGA administration feels like it’s running for profit and the benefit of the people in charge. I want to help the student body explore all options for success and safety on campus whether it’s by reallocating the largest chunk of money ever back to the clubs, or exposing the SGA for the ineffective bureaucratic scheme it is. A vote for me is a vote for more opportunities in networking and a safe place for anyone of any background.”
Paige Bathurst, junior, supply chain and logistics and leadership and social innovation major: “As the candidate with the most experience in SGA, I am confident that I can continue leading the organization and creating the SGA of the Future, an SGA that works best to meet student’s needs. I’d love to continue serving the student body in the 2023-24 academic year.”
Joshua Zaharof, junior, chemical engineering major: “There are two words that have been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember, and those two words are servant leadership… Servant leadership flips the pyramid [of power] upside down. The entire point of having a manager, a leader, or a president is to support the bulk and to support behind as many people initiatives and initiatives as they can… If you’re gonna take anything away from me just make sure you turn that pyramid upside down and believe in servant leadership, I’m here for you.”
Chief Financial Officer:
Kavin Haldo, junior, marketing major: “When I decided to run for this position one of my primary objectives was to really get to know the student body and embrace the culture of Rowan. I pride myself on being fully transparent and communicative. I have a strong ethic and will make sure all of your questions and concerns are answered.”
Matt Keller, junior, economics and law and justice major: “I hope I can represent my study body well if elected. I want to be somebody you can reach out to make a change on campus. I want to make my mark on this campus!”
Semaj Sullivan, junior, computer science major: “I currently serve as the President of the Men of Color Alliance, as well as the Event Coordinator for the Black Student Union. I am currently running for SGA’s Chief Financial Officer to provide education on SGA’s rules and regulations regarding funding to clubs and organizations, to ensure SGA provides equitable funding to Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) clubs and organizations, and to break the divide between BIPOC Rowan and traditionally White Rowan.”
Mike Harrington, junior, law and justice and political science major: “As a student trustee and a representative I’ve really been able to bolster my confidence over the years and I believe I have the ability to be someone to students that will listen and take action. We’re going into a new building next year and going into a new student center. We’re changing the structure of how we’re doing senate and committees, this really is going to be the SGA senate of the future and I’d love to be around for another year to help facilitate that.”
Alternate Student Trustee:
Matt O’Laughlin, sophomore, disaster preparedness and emergency management major: “I am currently a sophomore DPEM major. My intentions for this position include strengthening the bond between the Rowan Senate and SGA, which will streamline information and increase transparency, making those in positions of authority here at school more aware of the reality of student life.”
Yuval Saar, freshman, sociology major: “Running for more administrative transparency, there have been too many issues on campus making students feel unsafe that we need more of an explanation on… I love learning and meeting new people, and always try to hear a diverse range of student experiences. I’m interested in seeing the diffusion of administrative decisions through to how they affect students. I think getting that experience as Alt. Student Trustee would make me a stronger, more effective Student Trustee the following year.”
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