by TAYLOR BRETHAUER & JOE LIGGIO, Editor-in-Chief & Asst. Editor
The annual student government campaign season is underway. For the next week, students should expect to see three major parties running for the student body executive board, up until online elections on Tuesday, March 27 and Wednesday, March 28.
The three parties, B.E.S.T of the Bronx, The Jasper Shore: The Lasallian Experience and the Jasper Student Union, are led by presidential candidates Jaycie Cooper, Alex Constantine and Liam Moran, respectively. Cooper is running with Jara Giner as her executive vice president, while Constantine has selected MaryKate Himmelberg and Moran has selected Samantha Wilson. The entirety of each party can be seen on the chart below.
The campaign season is held in the months of March and April of the spring semester every year. The winning members will hold their positions from the following fall semester until the next spring semester, when the cycle starts over again.
In order to be eligible to run for student government, interested students were required to fill out an application and obtain 50 signatures from Manhattan College students. Applications were due Thursday, March 22, a day later than planned, due to the snow day on Wednesday. Once deemed eligible by Student Engagement, the teams will participate in a public debate, held Monday, March 26 in Locke’s Loft from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Candidates will yield questions from the student body during the lunch hour.
The three students are running on separate platforms, each with their own ideas of making the college better for the student body and leaving their legacy on student government as a whole.
The idea of running for this position became clear to junior biology major Constantine, after serving as freshman and sophomore class representatives.
Last year, he ran as executive vice president with candidate LisaMarie Nilaj on the “Campus That Never Sleeps” ticket. This year, he wants to take what he learned from running and use it to his advantage when getting his word across.
“I wanted to run again because I wanted to be able to implement printers in dorm halls. I wanted to expand commuter space. Not only me, my entire party– we all share the same goals. We want to find some space that we can claim as a commuter lounge, somewhere on campus that can assimilate them with the residents. We also want to revamp the common rooms in the dorm halls. That entails putting kitchen supplies, dish soap, paper towels in these places so people can use these common rooms,” said Constantine.
On the opposing side, junior government and public relations major Cooper has many ideas of her own. Her focus lies on the idea of connectivity on campus between departments, clubs and offices while being an unbiased representative.
“This school has changed who I am upon entering. I got involved, I want to say the end of my freshman year, and I have been evolving into the student I am ever since. I am actively in a bunch of different clubs, and I see issues on campus that I think I could fix and also I think I could be a good representative; I’m unbiased and I want to represent the student body,” said Cooper.
Lastly, junior government and philosophy major Moran has been a part of student government since his freshman year as well. He thinks the Bishop administration has done a good job this year and wants to continue what they have done, while adding what he sees fit to change.
“Through my experience in student government, I began to see how many issues students face. I particularly felt the need to get more involved. I think the Bishop administration has done a wonderful job tackling a lot of issues and I think we can continue that going forward, specifically with quality of issues. So that includes dorms, range of problems from maintenance. It’s making sure that the student’s voices matter and they’re actually being heard,” said Moran.
It is custom of student government parties to come up with fun, creative names to gain the attention of students while campaigning around campus. This year’s groups are no different.
Jasper Shore stemmed from the comeback of the popular MTV show, Jersey Shore. It’s not a coincidence that some of the members of the party also live in that area.
“Jersey Shore is coming back and we have two people in our party from that area and at first it was a joke, but then we thought ‘oh that’s pretty good.’ […] [Jasper Shore: The Lasallian Experience] came from Jersey Shore: Family Vacation, it’s like a play on that,” said Constantine.
The B.E.S.T. of the Bronx has a deeper meaning than what it appears. The acronym for B.E.S.T. actually highlights each major point of the party’s values.
“B is ‘Bridging the Gap,’ which means bridging the gap between students, which means residents and off-campus commuters, it means bridging the gap between athletes and non-athletes, it means bridging the gap between students and faculty, students and administration, students and public safety […] E is ‘Educational Success,’ we have a few ideas, the level of what we can implement is questionable […] but as of right now we really want to make campus resources for educational success more accessible to students, we really want to promote that to students, make students feel comfortable going to these resource centers, that they don’t feel that they’re behind because they are seeking out help […],” said Cooper.
“S is ‘Sustainability on Campus,’ so we really want to work on being mindful of garbage consumption, we want to be more mindful of recycling on campus, we really want to promote fair trade practices. The T is ‘Together by Association.’ So this is one of the Lasallian values. Together by Association basically means we, not just me, it means working as a team, working together, working in fellowship […] The more relationships we can build on campus with other organizations, other students, we’ll get more done working together instead of alone. So that’s kind of our platform as of now.”
Jasper Student Union, on the other hand, did not use an acronym. Rather, they used three simple words to drive their point home.
“We figured we want something that would bring our mission home. Jasper, our community. Student, being the voice of that community and the focus is on that community and union because we want to have not only a unified voice but also a union-like approach so we can tackle the issues efficiently and effectively,” said Moran.
Overall, each student has a strong platform in which they will use to run on and get students to be on their side.
Constantine’s platform is all about a collaborative group of students coming together to service the greater population of the Manhattan College campus, all while keeping it light and fun.
“I just want to say on record that I will not transfer if a squirrel becomes the new mascot,” said Constantine, referencing a Voices on the Quad from issue 6, in which he said he would do just that. “I will stay a loyal president and me and my party will try to help the student body as the Jasper Shore.”
Cooper’s platform is an extension of her and her party’s own personalities: striving for connection with students and ending the segregation between specific organizations on campus.
“I think I have a really open mind, I don’t think I have all the answers. I’m supposed to be representing the students so I’m not gonna micromanage at all. As I said, I wanna reach out to as many students as possible, If I’m just keeping issues between our e-board then nothing that is really an issue is gonna get done, so that means I’m really gonna make an effort to go to each of the club meetings, see what clubs I’m not associated with, what their needs are, see what students needs are,” said Cooper.
Moran was able to lay out his three tenets in a concise manner. He is able to handle and understand what student government needs due to his involvement with the group.
“My platform is based around what I consider three tenets. Quality of life, making sure that students in their dorming life and commuting life are heard. Whether it be issues of Horan’s elevators or issues of dorm maintenance. Transparency within the government, both with its budgets and what it’s doing. As a member of student government I don’t feel we’ve done enough to reach out to our constituents. I think that biggest issues that we have right now so I’m hoping on addressing that more. And the third tenet being financial reform and making sure that things were done properly. Both in this past administration and other past administrations and for the future,” said Moran.
Students are encouraged to attend the debate, along with reaching out to the candidates to learn about their platforms before making their decision on who will be running student government come next fall.
The voting period starts on Tuesday, March 27 and ends the following day. For more election coverage, continue following The Quadrangle.