ANTHONY CAPOTE AND DANIEL YNFANTE
Student government elections are officially underway, with both presidential candidates and their parties filed and ready for campaigns.
The election pins Nick Weyland—a sophomore—and Blake Pizzola—a junior—against each other.
Weyland, whose party he has named The Quad Squad, plans to champion Manhattan’s Lasallian values at the root of his campaign.
He is a Lasallian Leader on campus and attended a Lasallian conference in Barcelona, Spain, where he says he learned a great deal about leadership that will help him as student body president.
“I come from the only Lasallian School in Tulsa, Okla.,” Weyland says, “I really want every student at Manhattan College to be included, to get that excellent education, to have respect for all persons. All of the five core principals that we have at the Lasallian mission.”
Pizzola, who has named his party Don’t Stop This Party, will be looking to hear all students’ suggestions in order to emphasize the concept of unity.
The major campaign points for the junior from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., include improvements to social life, expanded dining options and better school spirit.
“It’s not about what I want,” Pizzola said. “It’s about what everybody wants and that’s what you should look for in a leader. Someone that cares about everyone.”
Both Pizzola and Weyland have experience in student government, making their decision to run for president even easier.
Weyland has served as a business representative for student government in his two years at Manhattan and says that students have come to trust him as a result.
“I kind of found myself getting asked ‘oh Nick do you know this? Nick do you know that,’ because I was in student government and I knew some of the rules,” he said. “So I did want to run for president to help more people know what their say is.”
Pizzola has been his class’s representative all three years at the school and even thought about running again for a fourth.
But, he has decided that it is time to take on more responsibility.
“This year, it was either do that again or get more involved with the student body,” Pizzola said. “I talked it out with a bunch of my friends and they were really into it, so I thought I’d run for student body.”
Pizzola’s cabinet will consist of what he calls, “responsible people,” that will get the job done.
“It’s friends,” Pizzola said about who is in his cabinet, “but it’s people that are going to be responsible because it’s not something you can take as a joke.
“You are running for the entire student body. It’s not like you can have kids that are just going to sit there and go for the ride, or just enjoy it just because it looks good. I have kids that are going to take it serious.”
Meanwhile, Weyland has selected Tiffanie McIntosh for executive vice president on his staff.
Mahina Choy-Ellis will be vice president of social life; Ivan Bohorquez as the commuter representative; Brittany Perpejes as vice president of communications; and Abby Weilte, George Schlinck and Lucas Gilbride to fill out the rest of the spots.
Weyland and his cabinet would certainly break the traditional mold of president and cabinet, as McIntosh would be the first student-athlete in student government ever, while Bohorquez carries a unique backstory.
A transfer commuter student from SUNY Albany, Bohorquez has formed one of the most active cultural clubs on campus, Fuerza Latina.
If elected, Weyland will emphasize his goal to increase inter-club organizations, where clubs can help each other and be helped by student government to make events and activities better.
But, his simplest idea is to just start student government on time for the fall semester of 2015.
“I would like to have an early start,” Weyland said. “I heard from a lot of students that a lot of budgets were held back like a month because of the late start that student-government had.”
Unlike some major political elections where the candidates are usually not close to one another, Pizzola and Weyland are friends, creating an interesting dynamic in the elections.
However, Pizzola says that he and Weyland have spoken and no matter who wins, they have agreed to work together.
“I know Nick would do a really good job,” Pizzola said about the possibility of Weyland winning the election. “I’m not just making any of this up because I am friends with Nick and I do think he’d do a good job. As much as I want to beat him, I can’t say anything bad about him. … Whichever one of us wins, wins.”