After a three week campaign, the Allegheny Student Government primary ended with presidential candidate Camila Gomez, ’19, and vice presidential candidate Gillian Greene, ’20, winning the election. Almost immediately after the election, Gomez and Greene started their roles as the new leaders of ASG, as they began interviewing candidates for the ASG cabinet.
With current ASG President Mark MacStudy, ’18, and Vice President Valerie Hurst, ’18, preparing to step down from their jobs, all four ASG representatives shared their thoughts on the coming year and leadership change.
The platform Gomez and Greene campaigned on listed student wellness as its top priority. Stepping into the new leadership position, Gomez said she and Greene have been focusing on ways to help students’ health on campus. One way they hope to improve student wellness includes bringing more employees to the Counseling and Personal Development Center, according to Gomez.
“As always, throughout our whole campaign, our cornerstone was student wellness,” Gomez said. “We’re definitely carrying that torch into our term. We always talked about working with the diversity and inclusion based offices, working with [Gillian Ford] and the Title IX office, those are all things that are very high up on our list.”
Greene added that creating a positive relationship between the Allegheny administration and student body is one of their top priorities. She said she believes the health of students can benefit from better communication with the administration.
“The biggest thing is we really emphasize connecting the administration with the students and making sure the concerns of the students are being addressed,” Greene said. “It’s really just bridging that gap that seems to be between the student body and administration.”
While Gomez and Greene plan to try to improve communication between the administration and students, Hurst said one of the biggest surprises in her position as vice president was the communication with administrators.
“One of the larger challenges was the wall of information you face when you start meeting with administrators,” Hurst said. “It’s learning at a very high pace what’s going on behind the scenes. It’s a combination of federal guidelines, institutional policies and personalities within the administration.”
Hurst said communicating with the administration and learning to take charge of ASG, an organization that interacts with several different parts of campus life, made her position more of a time commitment than she had originally anticipated. MacStudy agreed, adding this may be a challenge to Gomez and Greene coming into a new year.
“They both don’t necessarily know the workload of president and vice president,” MacStudy said. “That will always be the biggest challenge coming into it. But they’re working as closely as they possibly could together in their respective roles for this year. It’s almost like a close friendship I can see that’s already formed.”
Gomez said she is aware of the time commitment facing her and she has prepared for it. While she said she finds it disappointing that some of her projects may not be implemented on campus until after she graduates, she is ready to prioritize ASG.
“In terms of the amount of time and effort that’s going to be put in throughout the year, I feel like we’re both definitely ready,” Gomez said. “ASG has always been my first priority since I joined as a freshman. A lot of things I’m bringing to the table may not appear on campus in the time that I’m here. That’s kind of hard to accept because you want to see the positive change you’re making.”
Greene said she has already seen a glimpse of the time commitment her position will require while she and Gomez chose their cabinet, and she has adjusted to the change.
“We had an overwhelming amount of really great applicants [for cabinet]. We had more than we were expecting to have,” Greene said. “It was a problem picking the best people for the job only because there were so many great people who were applying.”
Gomez added they spent several late nights in the ASG office going over interviews and applications.
When handling an unexpected amount of work, such as receiving the dozens of applications, Greene is levelheaded enough to handle the job, according to Hurst.
“[Levelheadedness] is a really good quality to see because you’re basically the person who is stopping discussion from getting out of control in a meeting, which can happen because discussions get heated,” Hurst said. “It’s good to have someone up there when there needs to be a certain amount of waiting for the right moment of interjecting.”
While Greene must learn how to interact with other ASG members or constituents during meetings, Gomez said one of the biggest obstacles she foresees is she is stepping into the role of ASG president when the college itself is changing.
“Not only are we trying to implement positive changes, but the college itself has had some growing pains this year and in this coming year,” Gomez said. “The positive thing about that is because we’re in a turning point, everybody is getting really creative and thinking really creatively about solving the issues that arise on campus.”
Despite Gomez’s concern, MacStudy said he felt confident in her ability to handle difficult tasks.
“She’s very well-spoken,” MacStudy said. “She’s better with her words than I ever wished to be. Hopefully she can use that to her advantage and tackle difficult issues in a different way than I would have.”
Although Gomez and Greene are aware of the challenges that face them in the coming year, they are excited to be in the positions.
“We’re just super thrilled,” Gomez said. “We have so much to look forward to.”