The yearly election for the freshman class representatives held this fall was historical one for Manhattan College. Almost half of the entire class of 2018, totaling to 450 voters, and 14 candidates participated in this process. The election marks one of the biggest responses from any class according to data collected by the Student Government Association which organizes the election.
“It’s really good to see all this response from the students. It means that they care about decisions made,” Gabrielle Occhiogrosso, Ph.D. and assistant director of Student Activities, said.
The election was conducted though an online platform, in which candidates were divided into either freshman class representatives or commuter representatives, according to their residence status, and each category had two vacancies.
“It was really quick actually,” Havana Fox, one of the freshman candidates, said. “You had a week to campaign and they [the classmates] voted electronically so you weren’t sure if people would actually go to their e-mail and check it.”
These and other concerns encouraged the contestants to campaign by covering the walls of the college with fliers and brochures with their names and what they were offering to the incoming class.
The winners included Oscar Ortiz and Isra Khaled as commuter representatives, and Fox as one of the two freshmen class representatives. For the first time, the election resulted in a tie among two candidates to occupy the place of the second freshmen class representative. The class of 2018 had voted 44 times for LisaMarie Nilaj and 44 times for Ryan James Quattromani. A Student Government assembly was held to analyze the situation and decided to listen to both contestants’ proposals and pick the winner. Both candidates had to inform why they wanted the position and what past experience they had in the field.
“I was nervous that we tied,” Quattromani said. “I talked about all the different things that I was involved in high school that made me qualify for this position and, eventually they [the assembly] choose me.”
After the closest election ever held for a freshmen class representative, the winners started to ask opinions and ideas to improve how the lives and experiences of the student body. As a result of these dialogues, the first big initiative proposed by Quattromani is some type of availability of coffee in the library, especially during midterms and finals weeks. This would satisfy an unfilled demand of caffeine at times where Locke’s is closed from 10 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.
“It’s our education, you know?” Fox said. “They [the students] should participate in it. If something is wrong, that’s a part of our responsibility, to represent them.”