The Student Government Association held its press night last week for the upcoming election, where current SGA President Emily Solomon debated Alan Vilimaitis for the position of SGA president. The election began today at midnight and is open for 24 hours.
President: Emily Solomon (incumbent), Dan Goldberg (current class of 2017 president), and Alan Vilimaitis
Vice President: Gabriela Kula (current class of 2017 senator), Michael Moccio (current WLP senator)
Class of 2016 president: Rebekah Brinkerhoff (write-in)
Class of 2017 president: Michael O’Connor
Class of 2017 treasurer: Shepard Price
Class of 2018 president: Sam Chase (incumbent), Elias Scangas
Class of 2018 senator: Arianna Conte (incumbent)
Class of 2018 secretary: Dylan Walton (write-in)
Solomon, a sophomore visual and media arts major, focused her presentation on continuing efforts to improve diversity and inclusion at Emerson, and concerns surrounding mental illness. She also spoke about working with Ashley Cunningham — president of Active Minds, a student mental health advocacy organization— to connect the organization to Emerson’s Counseling and Psychological services.
Solomon spoke about the connections she has built with staff members and fellow members of SGA in her time as president this year, and said it was important to have an SGA president for consecutive terms.
“I think we need that for continuous communication,” said Solomon.
Dan Goldberg, a sophomore visual and media arts major who is also running for SGA president, said was not available for press night. According to his statement, read by SGA Elections Chair James Rowland, his platform focuses mainly on transparency and communication between administrations and students. Goldberg plans to help unify students behind causes such as fair wages for college employees and creating a safe campus, according to the statement.
Alan Vilimaitis, a junior political communication major, focused on his past experience working in student government at Bunker Hill Community College before he transferred to Emerson last semester. He also spoke about wanting to get more involved with student organizations, noting that he wanted to create a public website with a schedule of all on-campus organizations’ events and meeting times.
“There is nothing more important than getting to know organizations,” Vilimaitis said, “When elected, I guarantee, every meeting I will be there.”
Vilimaitis said that while it may be difficult, he plans on making himself available to students.
“Even if I’m defeated, I am still going to work with people in SGA,” he said
Solomon also discussed SGA’s proposed constitutional amendment. Currently, at least 10 percent of the student body must vote on a constitutional amendment—and a majority of those voters must approve the amendment—for the amendment to pass. The proposed constitutional amendment would, among other changes, eliminate that 10 percent requirement.
Solomon said the current setup prevents many changes from being made, including revising outdated terms that should not be in the constitution. In her time as president, Solomon said there has been an effort to promote the group in social media by the new public relations chair, including tweeting live updates from all weekly meetings.
“I am a staunch supporter of transparency and believe covering up only leads to trouble and miscommunications,” Solomon said. “At this point it is in the hands of the students.”
Gabriela Kula, a journalism major and the current class of 2017 senator, is running for the SGA vice president. Kula focused on working more directly with the Office of Housing and Residence Life regarding the new residence hall being built and furthering the academic initiative, which addressed issues including attendance policies, course evaluations, and registration.
Her competition is junior Michael Moccio, the current writing, literature and publishing senator. Moccio said he wants to simplify the process to get new organizations recognized by SGA and hold workshops to help students with this process. He also said he wants to continue his work with the Office of Academic Affairs on the academic initiative, where he was involved in course selection and evaluation.
Freshman journalism major and current class of 2018 President Sam Chase ran for re-election with a platform centered on continuing to build up the freshman class council and budgeting. Elias Scangas, a freshman visual and media arts major running against Chase, focused on having an open door policy with students and getting healthier options in the Little Building C-Store.