S.A. candidates prepare for election

On Monday and Tuesday students will vote for next year’s Student Association president and vice president. There are three presidential candidates vying for the top job. The candidates for president are junior Michael Colucci, John Hughes and Jon McDonald. Sophomore Nate Hemmes is running unopposed for vice president. All four candidates participated in a live debate on WTOP on Tuesday.

Colucci would be new to S.A., but has served in various organizations outside student government. If elected, he would set up a consulting service for student organizations. At the debate he elaborated that he wants to provide easier access to S.A. for students.

"The students are S.A.’s customers," Colucci said. "They need to adapt to students’ needs no matter what."

He would also like to address Auxiliary Services’ contract with Oswego State and see what improvements could be made to allow more student freedom for food services at their events.

"We live in a capitalist society," Colucci said. "We shouldn’t have to deal with a monopoly."

In the debate, Colucci said he wanted to address the issue of campus unity.

"There’s not a lot of unity," he said. "I really want to bring these clubs together."

Hughes has been involved in S.A. since his freshman year and currently serves as director of Student Affairs.

"First day in office I will issue an executive order that the S.A. website will be up and running," Hughes said. "Second I will have an executive order that will have complete transparency."

This would include posting all laws and policies on the S.A. website. Hughes would also like to use the kiosk outside The Point to promote S.A. and collect student input.

"As a student government it’s our duty to be students’ voice on campus," Hughes said. "We’ve spent so much of this past year dealing with creating new policies, allocating funds and penalizing organizations. S.A. shouldn’t be acting like a bank, but a students’ advocate."

At the debate Hughes said he wants to work to lower book prices for students.

McDonald, who currently serves as Social Events Coordinator for Student Association Programming Board, has been involved S.A. through various organizations since his freshman year. If elected, he wants to create a street team for S.A. that would be responsible for promoting the organization to students.

"There’s a lot of students who don’t know who S.A. is," McDonald said. "My goal is to first create that awareness of S.A. from incoming students and current students."

McDonald added that S.A.’s role is to advocate for students. He wants to increase S.A.’s transparency and make information easily accessible for students.

"For student organizations to accomplish goals they need financial assistance but there’s more to that than meets the eyes," McDonald said. "By no way is S.A. a bank."

McDonald also wants to create a space that is solely for student use on campus, like Hewitt Union used to be. The Campus Center is not adequate for multi-purpose programs, he said.

"It [Hewitt Union] was a space that the students had a sense of ownership with. We don’t have that now," McDonald said. "What students need is a building that is designed for student programming."

Hemmes, the vice presidential candidate, currently serves as senate pro tempore. He wants to mobilize senate and have them stop concentrating on fiscal issues.

"We’re really here to lobby for the students," Hemmes said at the debate. "We need to get back to what matters."

One issue that has been a point of contention this year among S.A. and student organizations is the budget process. McDonald would like to work with S.A. senators to brainstorm ideas for improvement on the budget.

"The best way to create an efficient budget process is to include everyone who is involved: student organizations, senators and myself," McDonald said.

Hughes also wants to include the senate and organizations in the budget process. Before the budget is passed, he wants to send a copy of the budget to all student organizations to gather their input. After the senate passes it, he would send it out again to organizations for their input before signing it.

"I want everyone to have a seat at the table," Hughes said.

Colucci wants to add more options for organizations to fundraise. He said there is not a lot that can be done about the cuts, but S.A. can find ways to work with what they have. One solution he has proposed is working with Auxiliary Services to allow students to use their Plus Plan to donate to organization fundraisers.

"It allows a group to be more self-sufficient," Colucci said.

At the debate, Colucci said that organizations that are not using all of their funding need to be looked at and show that they deserve the money they are receiving.

Any S.A. fee-paying student can vote in the elections, S.A. Elections Chair Devon Finnegan said in an e-mail. Students will be able to begin voting on Monday, March 7. The polls will close on Tuesday, March 8 at 9 p.m. Students will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to submit their vote electronically.

In order to win, a candidate must have 55 percent of the vote, Finnegan said. Last year just under 1,000 students voted in the election.

"I have high hopes that this year will have higher numbers based upon the amount of people asking about the election and our attendance for the first two debates," Finnegan said.