Sworn in during the Allegheny Student Government meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 19, the five Class of 2021 senators explained their excitement and goals for the coming year after their second ASG meeting.
Class of 2021 Senator Benjamin Blackburn said he enjoyed the election process, despite the stress that accompanied it.
“It was kind of a fun process,” Blackburn said. “It was a good way to get out there and meet the freshmen class. We really got our names out there and met with people we would not have met with had it not been for the campaign. Now we can work together as a team.”
Class of 2021 President David Roach echoed Blackburn’s words, saying the campaign was an enjoyable process.
“I really like the aspect of campaigning itself,” Roach said. “Being so close to the beginning of the school year with elections, it was a nice way to not only get our faces out there but also meet people and hear what they have to say about their first impressions of Allegheny so far.”
With both senators emphasizing their feelings that the election was a fun process, Class of 2021 Vice President Emma Godel expressed her happiness over the way the election was handled.
“I liked how clean the election process was,” Godel said. “We didn’t sling mud at each other. I was so inspired by the campaign speeches.”
The feeling amongst the new senators was shared by Secretary for Student Voting Elyse Cinquino, ’20. Her position requires her to organize tabling for first-year elections, put up posters for first-year interest meetings and tell people how to vote in the election, Cinquino said.
“I know we got the numbers for the election,” Cinquino said. “It was a pretty close election for a lot of different slots, which I thought was interesting. Every candidate would have been a great senator, but I think the election was successful.”
This year, senators organizing the election and first-years running in the election had a strict schedule to which they adhered. The election was earlier than last year, according to Cinquino.
“I would have liked to have a week more … to get everything done,” Cinquino said. “But it wasn’t a crazy time crunch. It was manageable.”
With the elections now behind them, the first-year senators are setting their goals for the coming year. A few preliminary ideas they will work on collectively include more dining options, greater mental health awareness on campus and a better student relationship with the Allegheny Gateway.
Class of 2021 Senator Trevor Mahan explained the idea of creating a better student relationship with the Gateway formed when he and the other senators were talking with each other.
“A lot of students will get to their junior or senior year and realize they don’t know how they’re going to get a career,” Mahan said. “As freshmen, we’re very well transitioned into Allegheny and we’re given a lot of resources and a lot of information about how to do things. We want to make sure that information wasn’t just thrown at us, but rather that we retain it and develop a relationship between the freshmen class and The Gateway.”
The hope for a relationship between students and Allegheny services extends beyond the Gateway and includes Winslow Health Center, counseling resources and ASG itself, according to Mahan.
“We want to make sure there’s a sustained relationship between the Class of 2021 and the rest of the school and the resources it has,” Mahan said.
Class of 2021 senator Osbaldo Meza’s personal goals for the year focus on relationships as well.
“I want to create a Stronger Together community campaign,” Meza said. “Basically, students can become more aware of what their community in Meadville really is and what it’s about.”
The Stronger Together community campaign would include implementing student discounts in certain local shops and creating local car stickers advertising small businesses as partners with ASG, according to Meza.
“I would also like to offer a diversity orientation for people with different backgrounds,” Meza said. “I would like to advocate for the issues most people don’t consider.”
Godel said she shares Meza’s hope for advocacy, though she would like to focus her support for students involved in the fine arts.
“I know that I’m not alone in thinking the fine arts are such an important thing to maintain on campus,” Godel said. “I’m especially in support for keeping those maintained and well-funded.”
Godel’s advocacy extends beyond students to products offered by facilities on campus.
“My ultimate hope is to make menstrual products free in all bathrooms on campus,” Godel said. “Tampons are cheaper than condoms and condoms are free on campus.”
Godel also stressed her desire for communication, both with students and her fellow senators, a hope echoed by Mahan.
“The biggest thing is I want to work with the four people here and the rest of ASG,” Mahan said. “Our awesome and amazing class comes first because I want to establish a relationship with them.”
Roach agreed with Mahan’s desire to put the Class of 2021 first on his goals for the coming year.
“I’d like to be an advocate and a voice for the people in my class,” Roach said. “It’s a transitional period … and [by] advocating for people’s issues on campus, we can really form a collective bond for the freshmen class.”
While the other four senators expressed their specific goals, Blackburn explained he is waiting to form a list of goals based upon feedback from students.
“I am mainly focused on going out and meeting all the freshmen,” Blackburn said. “I want to go to sporting events and other clubs and just talk to other freshmen. I want to shape what we do in response to what they want us to do.”
Expressing her delight over the new senators, Cinquino dubbed herself “a proud mom.”
“I think they’re all going to work really well together,” Cinquino said. “I think they’re going to do great things in ASG.”