First-year ASG senatorial race gets underway


Sami Mirza

Baldwin Lounge, where the first-year candidates addressed their class at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 12.

The first-year Allegheny Student Government senate election speeches took place in the Baldwin Lounge Sunday, Sept. 12. Candidates Zachary Gallagher, ’25, Abigail Estrada-Hernandez, ’25, and Ray Colabawalla, ’25, took turns speaking to everyone gathered to garner further support for their candidacy.

According to a document outlining the 2021-22 ASG senate election information, senators compose the voting body of ASG. Each senator must sit on one of six committees: Rules, Sustainability, Community Relations, Student Affairs, Finance and Public Relations. There are 20 senators total in ASG, five for each class. Only three first-year candidates spoke Sunday night.

The candidates had to register their candidacy via a Google Form petition and obtain 25 signatures from classmates. The document says that they then had to submit a platform and biography by Sept. 9  to appear on the ballot. These platforms were ultimately approved by Attorney General Jack Parker, ’22.

Gallagher is setting his sights on president of the class of 2025, and he is basing his platform off of three key ideas.

First, Gallagher advocated for a centralized space for clubs at Allegheny to entice new members and keep current members up-to-date.

“While ASG is responsible currently for the approval of clubs and allocating their budgets, another project could be added regarding the creation of a universal website where one can go, find information on any club, any event, at any time and place at Allegheny,” Gallagher said.

Second, he supports an initiative to get more students involved in ASG.

“For such an organization of high standing and standards (as ASG), it is imperative to give everyone an equal opportunity in pursuing a goal to be elected into this group,” Gallagher said.

Third, Gallagher suggested a weekly polling of Allegheny students to ensure that a wide variety of perspectives are being counted.

“When the full results are in, students can be confident that their voices are being heard while ASG has a public opinion resource on which to base its rulings,” Gallagher said.

Colabawalla, like Gallagher, has ambitions of being class of 2025 president. He also has three main visions for student life under his leadership.

He wants to make the dining in Brooks Dining Hall and McKinley’s Food Court more inclusive.

“One of the first things I’d like to do is make more food options available to give students with dietary restrictions … as wide a menu as non-restricted students,” Colabawalla said.

Colabawalla is also advocating for more cultural events on campus.

“Being able to enjoy the cultures of our diverse student body would benefit not only school spirit but would lessen culture shock and help international students feel at home,” Colabawalla said.

Lastly, he would like to see more events take place for sports.

“Hosting events for both D3 and club teams would provide more opportunities for said events to take place,” Colabawalla said.

Estrada-Hernandez’s agenda includes boosting diversity and inclusion.

“As a student, I value greatly the community we have created as a student body and hope to improve it through promoting diversity, inclusion, and bettering the resources available to students,” Estrada-Hernandez said.

As she stated in her campaign, she hopes to use her platform to make sure the first-year class is heard, keep students up-to-date on campus happenings and how they would impact the student population, and promote collaboration between students and school organizations to foster new ideas for making campus life better.

“It is my desire to create better transparency and use my voice to ensure change and justice among my class for the students it represents,” Estrada-Hernandez said.

Tannaz Latifi, ’25, who was also running for ASG senate but was not present at Sunday’s event, wants to use her experiences being part of the Bonners Program, a program designed to aid students from underprivileged communities, to aid her as a senator.

“(My Bonner experience helps me) understand students from different backgrounds and ability to work with people all around campus, to make choices that will try and benefit not only the Allegheny students, but the staff as a whole,” Latifi said in her campaign. “I believe that the position as a senator will aid in my growth in understanding ‘real world’ issues that students struggle with, and I can aid in the supportive effort to develop solutions to problems that adversely impact the student population we are serving.”After each candidate delivered their speech, the candidates participated in a  question-and-answer session.

Questions were posed by the students in attendance and ranged from how candidates would get the funds for activities and other clubs to the measures they would take to make dining options at Allegheny more inclusive.

“While there may be a bit of an increase (in the cost of meal plans), the foundation of getting better food is not increasing the prices of the meal plans,” Colabawalla said.

Colabawalla said that he would like to see higher quality ingredients to create better quality food without making students pay more.

Another inquiry was how candidates would manage to balance their other extracurriculars with their ASG duties, if they were to be elected.

“As of right now, I’ve done a pretty good job of managing my time,” Estrada-Hernandez said.

Estrada-Hernandez said she uses Google Calendar and Notion to help schedule her activities and keep herself organized.

“All of you as students have different interests and different clubs … I would be able to cater to that as well,” Estrada-Hernandez said.

Colabawalla said that he has always participated in many extracurriculars but said that would not take away from ASG duties.

“I’m willing to skip a rugby practice to take care of what you guys require first,” Colabawalla said.

Gallagher said he ultimately decided not to take up track or soccer in college so he could devote his time fully to academics and clubs.

“I wanted to pursue things like this,” Gallagher said. “Now my time is solely dedicated to the clubs and organizations and the head of the clubs and organizations and ASG.”

Senate elections will be held via a Google Form from 8 a.m. Sept. 16 to 5 p.m. Sept. 17. Winners will be announced by 5 p.m. on Sept. 18.