Two week election for ASG closes

Lauren Trimber, Senior News Editor

After participating in Allegheny’s first primary election in five years, a debate held before the student body and a two-week long campaign, the Allegheny Student Government presidential and vice presidential candidates are nearing the end of the election process. While waiting for the polls for the general election to open, the four candidates reflected on their experience throughout this year’s election.

Class of 2020 President and presidential candidate Jason Ferrante, ’20, said he appreciated how diplomatic the entire election process has been.

“I think it’s been going really well. It’s been really civil, which is something we’ve really wanted,” Ferrante said. “I think we had good discussion on ideas.”

Despite the short time between the primary and general election, Ferrante said he has been able to talk to a variety of people throughout the process.

“My favorite part has been interacting with a bunch of different people,” Ferrante said. “Zach [Rohan] and I have gotten to know a lot of different people in the process, and we’ve gotten to know a lot of different issues on this campus that don’t impact everyone but a lot of people are passionate about. That’s been something that’s been really interesting for us.”

Ferrante’s running mate and vice presidential candidate Zachary Rohan, ’20, agreed with Ferrante. Rohan said his favorite part has been getting to meet people through tabling.

“So many people have stopped and talked about everything,” Rohan said. “It’s one-on-one, which it what it’s supposed to be about. We’re getting more involved. It’s cool. It seems the campus has been getting more involved than normal.”

ASG Chief of Staff and presidential candidate Camila Gomez, ’19, said she has had a positive experience, even though the election process seems to have gone by quickly.

“It’s been genuinely productive, as opposed to some sort of competition that’s mean-spirited and unhealthy,” Gomez said.

Director of Finance and vice presidential candidate Gillian Greene, ’20, pointed out that even in the debate, she found both she and her opponents were civil and diplomatic

“The debate was interesting,” Greene said. “Not so much in the sense that there was any contention, but there was lack of any. We were on the same page with a lot of ideas.”

One of the biggest challenges Gomez and Greene found during the election process was the lack of student interest.

“Some students don’t really know what the student government does, they don’t really care,” Greene said. “They think the student government can’t do anything for them. I think we need to work on that, spread the word about everything ASG can do for students.”

Gomez said she felt the lack of student participation came from too much campaigning and too many election-related events in a short amount of time.

“It’s been a learning process for all of us because it’s been so long since there’s been a primary,” Gomez said. “I think in the future, that’s definitely going to be taken into account in terms of the timeline and spacing of the general election. There’s a lot of streamlining that could be implemented in the future.”

Similar to Gomez, Rohan found the fast-paced campaigning to be one of the biggest challenges in the election process.

“This is a three day period of really intense campaigning, but that’s mean everything else pauses,” Rohan said. “You still have your personal life, school and other organizations you’re in. It was challenging but obviously worth it.”

Ferrante also saw how overwhelming the campaign could be, especially on constituents.

“I assume people are getting a little annoyed because it’s the second election in a month,” Ferrante said. “But it’s what makes our college special: we have a really high voter turnout. We want to make sure people are active in the electoral process. They’re deciding on the issues that will impact them, and we really want to make sure they’re informed and actually exercising the right they have.”

Despite the apparent lack of student participation this year, Gomez found a positive aspect of the small amount of interest. 

“Not a lot of students came to the debate, but the [Facebook] livestream is up to 500 views,” Gomez said. “Almost all of the students [who came] asked a question. When you think about it in terms of that, we’re doing well to get students who are participating to do so actively.”

Ferrante echoed Gomez’s point, as he said one of the biggest surprises he had encountered throughout the process was how active participating students have been.

“I knew the student body was going to be very active in this, but it’s been interesting to see how active everyone is,” Ferrante said. “We really, really appreciate it, and we appreciate all the positive feedback we’ve gotten, not just from other candidates, but from people who are voting for them. We really like to hear the issues that matter because we think ASG is the place where your voice can channel action.”

Gomez and Greene both agreed their favorite part was campaigning and meeting students, especially those who may not have had a chance to attend the debate and voice their questions or opinions.

“I really like the campaigning,” Greene said. “[I like] being able to just talk to some of the students I might normally not run into.”

General election results will be available the evening of Friday, March 9.