SGA executive candidates field questions

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SGA executive candidates field questions

John Schuler / Photo Editor

John Schuler / Photo Editor

John Schuler / Photo Editor

John Schuler / Photo Editor

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Wolf Howard / News Editor Ask SGA: Jaisel Patel fielding questions from a panel during the 2014 Ask SGA event.

Wolf Howard / News Editor
Ask SGA: Jaisel Patel fielding questions from a panel during the 2014 Ask SGA event.

This year’s only SGA executive board ticket, Connect, participated in a town-hall and question and answer session last Tuesday night in DuBourg’s Sinquefield Stateroom. The executive candidates presented their platform points before receiving questions from a panel, composed of David Young, the Student Involvement Center’s Manager of Operations, current SGA President Vidur Sharma and VP of Mission and Ministry Paul Stark, S.J. The event closed with the candidates fielding questions from the audience and twitter.

Ann Knezetic, next year’s presidential candidate for SGA, stated that a large part of her goals for next is building a strong relationship with next year’s anticipated president and promoting student voices.

“Next year is going to be a huge transition year,” Knezetic said. “A big thing is making sure that the student voice is not lost in this year of transition and representing the students fully.”  In addition to the presidential search, the university is working to draft a housing master plan and select a new food contractor before the next academic year.

Introducing the president to the student body and taking time to engage him or her in student life were two examples she provided of how she might develop a more meaningful relationship between the president and students.

VP of International Affairs candidate Dorien Villafranco stated that his own experiences as an international student provided him with a unique perspective on how to best serve the international population.

Villafranco noted that many international students find it difficult to become involved in SLU’s various organizations and programs.

One solution he offered was a more integrated orientation experience for all SLU students. Currently, the fall orientation for first-year and transfer students is complemented by a separate international student orientation, which occurs roughly a week prior.

“Integrating [international students] better into fall welcome can show them better what resources… campus has to offer,” Villafranco said. Additionally, he stated that he would like to expand the international ambassador program, where American students act as mentors to international students in order to help them adapt to a new cultural environment and get involved.

Jaisel Patel, the VP of Finance hopeful, presented a platform centered around streamlining the CSO funding process while working to make spending more efficient and responsible.

Patel also spoke briefly about his intentions for the Wellness Committee. Since it’s inception, the committee has been largely underutilized and the roughly $100,000 in wellness dollars  has gone unspent.

Patel stated that a lack of knowledge is the main reason behind students not taking advantage of the funds. As a solution, Patel said he would hold open forums in addition to launching a marketing campaign and contacting CSO leaders to better inform them about options students have for funding projects.

Drew Roznowski listed continuing work on SGA’s social media presence and a greater level of personability as two goals he has for the role of Vice President of Internal Affairs.

“Currently… [SGA is] not as personable and some say it’s not as welcoming as what it can be,” Roznowski said. “Making sure that [people are] feeling welcome and that their voices are heard is very important to me.”

Mika Romo, the candidate for the VP of Diversity and Social Justice position, said that she wanted to continue work to develop more communication between CSOs and committees to foster a more progressive and inclusive environment.

Amongst other suggestions, Romo said continued promotion and discussion of the Oath of Inclusion is one means of creating a more inclusive environment on SLU’s campus.