By Victoria Gill-Gomez
Students gathered in Norman James Theater in William Smith Hall on the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 25 for the annual Student Government Association presidential debate for both presidential and vice president positions for the coming term.
“The Student Government is an essential part to this campus. It serves as a way to keep the students updated and involved on the relevant issues,” junior and SGA Secretary of Student Life Isabella Sansanelli said.
Juniors Isabella Sansanelli, Ethan O’Malley, and Elizabeth Lilly are all running for President.
Running for the Vice President position is freshman Alexandra Solano Guante, sophomore Emilee Daniel, and junior Nicolina Capitanio.
“It was the most candidates we have had running in the last few years and all had excellent initiative and passion to better our campus,” Sansanelli said.
The evening of questions was proctored by John S. Toll associate professor of business management Dr. Michael Harvey.
“It is also a time to voice concerns about different areas of campus life whether it is about infrastructure, dining services, safety issues,” Sansanelli said.
All of the candidates have prior experience working with the SGA on various committees as senators.
Students have the opportunity to join committees that discuss certain issues or host events in areas that they find interest in. According to all of the candidates, any level of involvement made on the behalf of the student body, regardless of committee membership choice or leaderships roles, are essential to the student experience. This provides the chance for students to make their voices heard.
Many of the topics discussed and platforms that these students are running on are about the every day function of student life on campus. This consists of Buildings and Grounds, Dining Services, technological advancements for transportation and safety, and inclusivity.
With the recent events surrounding the racial bias incidents, many of the candidates are continuing to spotlight this topic and the need for change. These candidates are focused on demonstrating respect and safety for minorities on campus.
For Daniel, her platform, entitled “combating loneliness,” could assuage the current climate of the College.
“One of the main reasons that students leave Washington College is that they believe they do not have a place here. I think a great place to encourage students to get involved is in clubs, so I want to help promote the creation of new clubs and the maintenance of current clubs,” Daniel said.
She hopes that fostering diversity through clubs and other collaborative events through on campus can promote a greater scope of participation, even more so that there seems to be a divide in the community.
“Starting with being VP of Class of 2023, this has taught me how to be greater collaborator not with my fellow officers but the whole freshmen class. I represent my class and through my class’s voice, I help those needs and demands,” Solano Guante said.
Lilly said that the consistency the SGA provides in communication with the administration is key for a beneficial relationship.
“We are in very interesting times with the College, and while it might seem like the administration is not doing a lot — and I do not really know what they are doing — but the best option we have is to make sure our voices as students heard; to make sure we have the best opportunities as we are students here,” Lilly said.
Overall, the students of the SGA believe that their participation within the organization has created more of a bond within the college community and issues. Even those that plague the school and students, they have said, have taught them how to collaborate and take it on as their own fight to better the situations for others.
“The administration has a lot to do and I think we fail to realize that because we are seeing the things that are not getting done,” Lilly said.
She hopes that students will be able to lend their voices and use whoever is elected as the bridge between those who need to be hear and those who need to hear them.
Students voted this past Tuesday, March 3 in the bottom of Hodson Commons and an online link was sent out to the entire campus.