By Olivia Montes
Throughout the 2022 spring semester, the Washington College Student Government Association underwent several projects, initiatives, and other efforts on campus — now, they are making changes to their own executive board.
On Tuesday, March 1, Interim Provost and Dean of the College Dr. Michael Harvey and Parliamentarian and Chair of the Review Board sophomore Natalie Wisnoski led the SGA presidential and vice-presidential debates in the Norman James Theatre in William Smith Hall.
After opening remarks made by Dr. Harvey, the one presidential candidate — SGA Vice President junior Alex May — and two vice presidential candidates — Black Student Union President and WAC Democrats Vice President Jonah Nicholson and SGA Secretary of Student Life sophomore Kamden Richardson — were given two minutes each to answer pre-written questions.
These queries included their experiences and qualifications for the positions; their main priorities if elected; how they would attempt to re-engage the WC student body in a post-COVID-19 pandemic environment; and how they would support student clubs, groups, and organizations on campus.
According to SGA senior President Kat DeSantis, this debate was designed to allow the candidates to present both their “list of ideas and priorities” and “share their thoughts and opinions of the campus in a really productive and positive way.” She said the event allowed students, staff, and faculty members to become further acquainted with their platforms.
“I thought the debate was awesome…[and] all the candidates are definitely prepared to take office,” DeSantis said. “I think it’s really awesome to see students who are so passionate and excited about stepping up to lead our campus and the SGA.”
According to May, she said that the student body inspired her to run for SGA president, noting how, if elected, she will strive to be an “open-minded individual for the WC campus, and serve as an active listener and advocate” for her peers.
“I love listening to my fellow classmates and their interests and goals, [and I’d like] the opportunity to represent these interests and goals to administration,” May said.
For Nicholson, involvement in several leadership positions on campus allowed them to continue “articulat[ing] the needs of groups to administration,” and they would like to carry that same ethos into their term as vice president.
“Student groups all over campus represent a part of someone’s identity…[and] a big part of student life is our student groups,” Nicholson said. “So, getting the opportunity to have students advocate for themselves is carried out beyond college, and being able to help students develop those skills now — whether it be advocating for your own identity, advocating for a group that you’re a part of — being able to develop these skills at an early point helps you later in life.”
In addition to helping update campus traditions for the 2022-23 academic year, including proposing a Club Festival, initiating pep rallies, and hosting a spirit week, Nicholson hopes to also raise awareness of available resources for student-led clubs and organizations, and help create additional opportunities for student leaders on campus, as well as continue being an active ally for the entire WC student body if elected.
“I want everyone to know that I’m doing this role to create a better campus environment that’s inclusive for all,” they said. “Especially for Black students, I want them to know that they can be more than just a diversity token, and that they can expand into so many different areas of the school.”
For Richardson, she said that how, if elected, she would like to get freshmen students interested in joining groups across campus; support student leaders across a wide range of clubs, organizations, Greek Life, and athletics; and increase campus involvement through collaborations between different groups and increased communication between students and administration.
“We [the students] make up the College,” Richardson said. “Without students, the College wouldn’t be here, and it wouldn’t be the place that it is today. If we don’t have students advocating for what they want and what they want to see…[and] unless we can work together.”
As of time of print, the SGA presidential and vice-presidential elections are scheduled to take place on Tuesday, March 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. According to DeSantis, election results will be sent via campus-wide email.
Photos Courtesy of Olivia Montes
Featured Photo Caption: Attendees filled the Norman James Theatre in William Smith Hall on at 7pm on March 1 to spectate the Student Government Association presidential and vice-presidential debates for the upcoming elections.