SGA officials elected by 837 students

Annelise Catanzaro, this year’s Student Government Association (SGA) student trustee, was elected SGA executive president last week, winning with just over 50 percent of the vote. Ravi Kaneriya and Keith Jeronimus trailed behind Catanzaro with 27.5 percent and 18.3 percent of the votes, respectively.

Jasmine Charlon, current senator of Nursing, won the executive vice president position with support from 53.3 percent of voters. Her opponent, Eric Pasternack, received 35.7 percent of the vote.

The election results are based on the votes of about 14 percent of the student body; 837 out of about 6,000 students voted.

Catanzaro, thankful to those who voted, said, “I’m very excited about the upcoming year. I feel like there will be a lot of cohesiveness on the board.”

Regarding her opposition, Catanzaro said, “I’m trying to reach out to those people. Give us your issues now and we will work them out for next year.”

Over the summer, according to Catanzaro, the elected students will train for their new positions and webmasters will revamp SGA’s Web site to make the organization more accessible to students.

Catanzaro said she is already in negotiations to raise the 400-page limit for free printing through Print Sense, so that students will be able to print more pages in Fall 2005 without incurring extra charges.

She also suggests giving organizations separate Novell accounts so that materials students print for their organizations do not count toward their personal page limit.

Students who supported the ideas of the other candidates expressed hope that Catanzaro will consider the aspects of their platforms that she did not incorporate into her own campaign.

“Ravi’s plans for reform in the SGA were really appealing to me,” Faith Hoffman, freshman special education psychology major, said. “I hope that Annelise considers at least some of the ideas that Ravi suggested.”

Christine Susek, senior computer science major, said, “It’s really important that Annelise is open to the ideas of the other candidates because they came up with amazing ideas and people did vote for them.”

Charlon, executive vice president-elect, said she is grateful for those who supported her. “I’m really happy and excited for next year,” she said.

For her first plan of action, Charlon said that she will be working on the Sodexho issue and gathering more student input.

Charlon, who helped conduct a survey on students’ opinions regarding Sodexho, said that results of the survey are in. The results, which were analyzed by Jon Cherng, sophomore statistics major, reflect student dissatisfaction with several aspects of the dining plan.

Charlon said that with Sodexho’s current contract at the College due to expire next year, these results will help SGA play a role in the decision to renew the contract with Sodexho or to explore the possibility of contracting a different dining service at the College.

Although nearly the same number of students voted in this year’s election as last year’s, the fact that only 14 percent of the student body participated still concerned students.

Other students are more sympathetic to SGA, blaming the low turnout on the students and not on the organization.

“People are just apathetic,” Susek said. “It’s kind of embarrassing.”

Kim Slizewski, junior criminology and justice studies major, suggested that students are lazy.

“The voting was in a place on campus (Brower Student Center Atrium) where everybody goes nearly every day,” she said, indicating that it was easy to stop and vote while passing through the building.

Other students blamed the low turnout on the fact that students simply do not know about SGA’s actions and that it is not necessarily apathy.

Jennifer Fish, junior psychology major, said, “I think that some people don’t realize how influential SGA is in dictating what goes on on campus. I think if they realized, they’d be more interested in who is elected.”

The new executive board’s first official meeting took place Monday.

These students will be sworn in at a general body meeting today in Science Complex Room P101.