Students will soon choose their next Student Association president and vice president. Michael T. Johnson and Steven W. DiMarzo are competing for the position of president while Thomas J. Scandaliato is running unopposed for the position of vice president.
The Student Association election will take place on March 10 and 11, via e-mail. Johnson and DiMarzo both agree that they have similar goals, but said that what sets them apart is their extremely different way of pursuing those goals.
DiMarzo said he plans to use his experience working with administration to get things done.
"I want to increase the transparency between administrative departments and the students," DiMarzo said. "We are adults with great ideas, sometimes more innovative than the administration because of our immersion into technology, society, and so many other life experiences different from our administrators."
But Johnson disagrees. He said that strategy has already been tried, and it has failed in the past.
"Always catering to faculty is hurting us," Johnson said. "We let the administration take over what was once ours."
Johnson said he wants to promote S.A. using grass roots campaigns and hopes to keep a table in the Campus Center to inform students of the purpose of S.A. DiMarzo said he plans to address students directly by asking for help and involving students with face-to-face contact.
Johnson said that his leadership and experience would make him great for the job. He explained that running a business, sitting on two state panels and being president of Rainbow Alliance has helped sharpen his management skills. His biggest point was that he is an aggressive diplomat, and that is exactly what he said what S.A. needs.
John Hughes, Johnson’s campaign manager, said that Johnson is the right candidate because he has more experience interacting with the students due to his time spent as an organization president.
"[He] has made more of a plan," Hughes said. "He says what needs to get done and what he’ll do about it,"
DiMarzo said the specific qualities that would make him best for the job of president include his outgoing nature, his need to research subjects before confronting the problem and his overall experience with administration. Working in the admissions office, the office of judicial affairs and the alumni office has helped him form valuable relationships with administration.
Elizabeth Wetherby, DiMarzo’s campaign manager said that her candidate wants students’ voices to be heard in the administration.
"Steven has worked very closely with admissions," Wetherby said. "[He] understands how the administration runs."
The issue where both candidates differ the most is on their stance concerning Auxiliary Services.
"Auxiliary Services is inherently good, but becoming inherently bad, because their arms and their fingers are reaching into things that they shouldn’t be reaching into," Johnson said. "It’s bad enough that they own the food industry on campus; there is absolutely no competition other than Sub Shop and Dominoes for plus plan and you cannot use it anywhere else."
DiMarzo believes better communication between S.A. and Auxiliary Services is important and can solve problems.
"I support the general idea of Auxiliary Services because of the good things they do for campus," DiMarzo said. "Most students don’t realize the money they give back to campus."
Meanwhile, members of S.A. are hoping the candidates can help fix some of the more pressing problems on campus.
According to S.A. Senator Jeremy Impellizeri, Auxiliary Services and overpricing of books and food are some of the most important issues that should be addressed on campus.
S.A. senator Alex Resila would like to see S.A. more involved in hall councils.
"S.A. can then take charge in fixing problems that are brought to hall council," Impellizeri said.
While there has not been any division amongst the senate yet, there are issues that may eventually divide them.
"I think the two things that could divide the senate include Campus Life and Auxiliary Services and how to deal with them," Impellizeri said. Both candidates have strong opinions on the topic.
Student apathy has played a role in voter turnout in previous S.A. elections. Both campaign managers do not feel that this will be a problem for their candidates.
"I think the live broadcasts and debates will draw a lot of people," Wetherby said.
Hughes believes that making the candidates visible among the student body will help increase voter turnout. He also believes Johnson can fix the problem of student apathy.
"Students are apathetic because they’re disenfranchised," Hughes said. "Mike would fix that apathy by reaching out to students and bringing them in to S.A."
Impellizeri does not think that there is a problem with student apathy, he thinks the problem lies in the lack of knowledge students have about S.A.
"I think that getting awareness out helps a lot," he said.
Wetherby also believes that DiMarzo will be able to fix the conflictsto make students and faculty allies.
"If we didn’t have any faculty there wouldn’t be S.A.," she said.
-Additional reporting by Elizabeth Sauchelli