With Allegheny Student Government elections fast approaching, the official candidates discussed their platforms, expectations for the elections and decisions that led them to run. For the first time in five years, the six candidates will participate in primary elections before the general election is held March 7 through March 9.
ASG Chief of Staff and presidential candidate Camila Gomez, ’19, talked about what she expected to see in the primary election, since it was the first one she is involved in.
“The fact that it’s the first primary we’ve had in several years will definitely be a learning experience for everybody,” Gomez said. “All of us currently serve on ASG, so we’ll be learning, not just as candidates, but as current student representatives.”
Director of Finance Gillian Greene and vice presidential candidate, ’20, was chosen as Gomez’s running mate. Greene agreed with Gomez’s interest in seeing how the primary elections will go.
“I’m excited,” Greene said. “I think it’ll be a really positive experience for everyone involved.”
Gomez and Greene said they became interested in running because of their love for Allegheny.
“We both really love and care about Allegheny, and we’re very grateful for every opportunity that has been presented to us here,” Gomez said. “We decided to run because we love it. We decided there are areas that need improvement and that could definitely use the student voice.”
Gomez said she and Greene have had a positive working relationship for two years, which resulted in them choosing to run together.
Two of Gomez and Greene’s opponents, presidential candidate Noah Dawgiello, ’19, and vice presidential candidate Trevor Day, ’20, talked about how their relationship has grown through the election process.
“I have seen how wise and benevolent he is, and I would like to spend all my working days alongside him, bouncing off ideas and making the world a better place,” Dawgiello said.
Day agreed with Dawgiello and explained how their close relationship could help them as a political pair.
“Since meeting Noah, I think we’ve both grown to respect one another as both friends and colleagues,” Day said. “We work very well together to influence great change to Allegheny Student Government and the Allegheny community.”
The third pair entered in the election, Class of 2020 President and presidential candidate Jason Ferrante and vice presidential candidate Zach Rohan, ’20, have experienced a similar grow in respect toward one another.
“Zach and I have known each other from day one, [and] we’ve know each other on a personal level as well,” Ferrante said. “In our freshman year we took two different paths in a way and I took a more heavy role into government my freshman year, we’ve alway had strong ideas on how to make campus better. Zach has the outside experience and I have the inside experience. Student government needs a strong advocate for student voices and someone to say this is what students want, this is the voice of the students.”
Rohan agreed with Ferrante, saying he decided to run in the election because of his outside experience.
“[Jason and I] are in clubs together, [but] I’m involved in so many different things,” Rohan said. “I bring the perspective of someone that hasn’t been involved in ASG. [I] know what is going on outside of that, and [I] know the problems that need to be fixed.”
Concerning his platform, Ferrante said he and Rohan spent a lot time making sure they encompassed many different issues, though their priority is with Title IX.
“When we talk to people in passing, there’s a lot of concern about the process,” Ferrante said. “A common thing is we want to get student voice active. I’ve always been big on having people questioning us, voicing their concerns. We represent them and not just our own best interest.”
Rohan also stressed their desire to know what the student body wants.
“Between the two of us, we know the issues going on around campus,” Rohan said. “Student body has the voice.”
While Ferrante and Rohan focus on giving the student body a voice, Dawgiello and Day are searching for solutions to one of the biggest problems they have noticed on campus. Dawgiello said enrollment on campus is shrinking, which led to the creation of one of their most important policy proposals in their platform.
Lower enrollment has resulted in fewer student-run clubs and participation in current clubs, according to Dawgiello. Dawgiello said the clubs, which offer community and inclusiveness to students, are quickly disappearing.
“One of the ways we want to counteract that is to support cornerstone organizations, like the Outing Club and Grounds for Change, but also to advertise and support greater start-up funding for new clubs,” Dawgiello said. “That can bring some life to the campus, bring people together and get them out of their dorms to show their passions.”
Another problem Dawgiello and Day noticed was a dissatisfaction amongst the student body concerning the impact of their voice on campus, according to Day.
“We’d like to see a greater co-governance between ASG and administration,” Day said. “There’s a large section of the student body that feels that their thoughts or comments aren’t being met by administrators. The fault there, it really comes down to ASG. Students feel [ASG] is not adequately meeting with those administrators and representing them.”
As Dawgiello and Day look to student voices, Gomez and Greene are focusing on student wellness as the foundation of their campaign.
“Camila and I really try to focus on is student wellness in several different forms, like mental health and making sure Title IX processes are handled carefully,” Greene said. “We also want to focus on the students as individuals. We all have different experiences, we’re all different people. We should be treated like we’re the same person.”
Gomez also said she and Greene are being mindful of how they acted throughout the election.
“The most important thing for Gillian and I has been carrying ourselves with dignity and confidence throughout the entire election process,” Gomez said. “Of course we want to get our names out there, but we want to be recognized for the things we’re already doing. In a way, it’s business as usual. It’s most about continuing excellence in the current positions we hold and all the positions we hold on campus outside of ASG, as well.”
Similarly, Ferrante said he is hoping for a worthwhile and clean campaign.
“People should reach out, ask question, Facebook message [us] if needed. As a result of this election, all the candidates should continue to push for their ideas,” Ferrante said. “We can all keep making changes.”
Rohan added how important the election is.
“It’s too important of a time,” Rohan said. “Vote for someone because believe in their ideas.”
Voting for the primary election will be available on WebAdvisor Feb. 22 at 8 a.m. and will end Feb. 23 at 5 p.m. Candidate platforms are available on the ASG website.