The Student Government Association (SGA) started the semester in a rather unorthodox manner: without key members of the executive board, as the positions of president, vice president, and secretary were left vacant after last semester’s electees recent resignations. Tuesday night marked the first meeting of SGA this semester with the important business of filling the vacant positions of vice president and secretary. Under normal circumstances, the members of the entire student body would have the opportunity to vote for their student government leaders at the end of the spring semester as members of SGA form tickets and platforms on which to run. This semester’s voting process was markedly unusual due to the fact that only members of SGA, 36 students at the first meeting, were able to vote for the student leaders that will have influence over the entire campus and the entire student body.
Regardless of the method of the impromptu election process, SGA elected Leonarda Parente as vice president and Kyle Smith as secretary of the executive board. They will be working in collaboration with Ben Brutigam who stepped into the role of president after last semester’s elected president Matthew Holliday resigned.
The recently formed executive board is optimistic nonetheless for the upcoming year and SGA seems to be unphased by the sudden shift in circumstance.
“Our bylaws mandate that we hold an in-house election to fill vacant Executive Board offices,” Brutigam said. “A campus-wide election takes weeks to organize and advertise, weeks in which SGA would not be able to function properly without a complete Executive Board. It is in the student body’s best interest that we fill empty Executive Board seats in a timely manner so that our plans and events for the year are not hindered and/or postponed.”
Students not involved with SGA seemed to be relatively unaware about the circumstances of the resignations and elections.
“Honestly, it might be for the best…as long as they picked the people best for the spots rather than a popularity contest. “If it went to a public vote, it would be just that,” fourth-year student Patrick Cunningham, said
“I think this school does a lot of things that affect us that we have no say in,” fourth-year student Kevin Zarelli said.
Increased involvement is one of the goals of the new executive board.
“I think this is a great opportunity for me, along with the Public Relations Committee, to advertise to the university about Student Government and get students involved,” newly elected Parente said. “As for specific plans and goals, I will continue the traditions of Student Government events such as participating with Homecoming, Spirit Week and student involvement fairs.”
SGA meetings are open to all students for participation, complaint, comment or any other concern that may exist. For example, members of SGA hold very specific positions with control and influence over organization budgets and what events take place on campus each semester. This responsibility that is placed in student leaders hands can contribute to and increase student involvement.
“As with the current circumstances that our organization and executive board have gone through with the recent resignations, I would say that is beyond our control now,” Smith said. “Nothing can be done to change the fact that we lost two great executive board members. However, to dwell on the situation would not be in the best interest of SGA or the student body.”
Shane Madden is a fourth-year student majoring in History. He can be reached at SM590676@wcupa.edu