History! Voter turnout higher in this SGA election than any other

As I previously reported, SGA took several steps this year in order to increase voter turnout.  Two of the most noticeable initiatives were smart phone voting and a physical voting station that was set up in the Champagnat breezeway, a high traffic area particularly for freshman.  In addition, the elections commission plastered posters all over campus and had T-shirts made in order to increase awareness.

Based on the results that came in tonight, this initiative seems to have worked. 1643 Marist students voted in the election, which makes for 36.33% of the student body.  The elections commission had set a goal of 35% turnout.

“I’m ecstatic about the turnout,” said elections commission head Erica Jordan. “We were down [from our goal of 35%] by about 150 votes with an hour of voting time left and we ended up surpassing our goal by 100 votes, setting a Marist record.”

The past several years have seen turnout of 15% or less. Of course, one reason last year’s election saw such a low turnout was almost certainly due to the uncontested race for student body president.  This race came with a good deal of controversy that SGA tried to correct with the appointing of an elections commission consisting of three members this year.

It remains to be seen whether smart phone voting provided a boost to the numbers.  SGA Chief Information Office Michael Janofsky tells me that the data could be in as early as tomorrow as to how many people voted on their mobile device.

Stay tuned for an update on this.

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Full list of winners…

Here are your 2012-2013 Marist SGA members:

Class of 2015
Sarah Gaudio

Carolyn Bugbee

Ignacio Andres Borbolla

Vice President
Ryan Ellman

Giananthony Damasco

Class of 2014
Hilary Wiggins

Diana Dubs

Alexandra Makowski

Vice President
Dillon Orr

Deborah Akinwunmi

Class of 2013
Kevin Manning

Aimee Beltramini

Kevin Hunker

Vice President
Alexandra Cavaliere

Nicholas Homler

Commuter Senator
Justin Pupa
Zain Qayyum

Resident Senator
Samantha DeVito
Courtney Lawlor
Atiq Lucas
Garrin Marchetti
Jane Tracy

Student Body President
Paul DiBlasi

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DiBlasi wins student body presidency

From left to right: Running mate Brian Gelok, President-elect Paul Diblasi, Student Body President Andrew Paulsen, Executive Vice President April Bourlierh

By a vote total of 837 to 756 , current 2013 class president Paul DiBlasi won the student body presidential election over the current senate speaker Michael Johnson.

“Andrew Paulsen told us to prepare a short 30 second speech for this, but he couldn’t have prepared me for the nerves I’m feeling right now,” Diblasi said at the SGA results announcement party before thanking his supporters and the SGA staff.  DiBlasi was joined by his running mate Brian Gelok.

Because Johnson ran in this race, he will no longer be a senator and therefore will not hold an elected student government position next year.  There is always the possibility, however, that Johnson will be named onto next years executive board by DiBlasi.   The president-elect must name his board members by March 21st.

“With the campaign over, it’s like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders” said Johnson after the announcement was made. “I look forward to continuing to work closely with student government.”

In a recent debate between DiBlasi and Johnson, their relationship seemed very cordial.  In the cross-examination portion, neither candidate seized the opportunity to throw any particularly difficult questions at the other.  Perhaps this will be a sign of what is to come in the relationship between the two.

Stay tuned – more about this election’s historically high turnout coming soon.

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It’s Election Day(s)!

The time has arrived to pick next year’s Marist Student Government.  You can access the voting site through the Marist home page (www.marist.edu).   Voting runs from now through this Wednesday, February 29th at 3pm.

If you still are unsure as to what the student body presidential candidates stand for, check out a brief summary of some of their stances here.  This link will also provide you with a list of candidates who are running for the many other positions as well.

You can also watch Paul DiBlasi’s and Michael Johnson’s speeches from speech night here. Unfortunately, video of the debate between the student body presidential candidates has gotten lost somewhere in the MCTV abyss.

Happy voting!

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Civility campaign moves through its second year

Since November 2010, SGA, alongside other Marist clubs and organizations, has been spreading the message of civility across campus and throughout the community.  You may have seen some of the events around campus in the last few weeks as part of February’s “love your neighbor” theme.

Class of 2014 president Deborah Akinwunmi is at the head of SGA’s contribution to this campaign. “Earlier in the month we did the flower sales for Valentines Day. Following that we did the Free Hugs equals Free Lollipops campaign and now are beginning the love wall,” she said.  “The love wall is open to anyone to write a message of love or appreciation to another student, a faculty member, an administrator, or anyone really on a post-it note and stick it on the wall.”

This is all in an effort to make Marist a “nicer” place to go to school, according to former student body president Matthew Lubrano, under whose administration the campaign started.

Recall that back in the fall of 2010, cyberbullying was in the headlines after Rutgers student Tyler Clementi committed suicide due to an online video posted by his roommate.   Not long after this incident, Marist kicked off its civility campaign with a candelight vigil held in the student center rotunda as a tribute not only to Clementi, but to all victims of this type of behavior and a call was made for spreading kindness.

“Whether it’s not cleaning up your plate in the dining hall, belittling or degrading a classmate or co-worker, or even arguing with a security officer over a minute issue, there are times when respect levels just aren’t where they need to be,” Lubrano said. “My goals for the program were to replace these rude and obnoxious behaviors with friendlier ones.  I wanted to improve the tone around campus.”

The effort has spread beyond the Marist campus boundaries and into the community.  Today, members of SGA and various other clubs will be heading to the Lunchbox soup kitchen in Poughkeepsie to volunteer as well as to donate clothing and toiletries they have collected in recent weeks.

Other clubs and organizations that are involved in these events include MCCTA, Kappa Lambda Psi, Asian Alliance, Teachers of Tomorrow, Dance Ensemble, and Theta Delta Chi.

If you or your group are interested in participating in this campaign, SGA is interested in helping out.  (Phone extension is x2206)

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SGA candidates make their cases at speech night

Last night we heard opening statements in this campaign season from students running for the various SGA positions that will be voted on next Monday through Wednesday.  Due to the fact that several candidates will be running unopposed, there are already some winners including every position in the classes of 2013 and 2014.

You can view a list of all the candidates running after the “read more” jump.  Also, WMAR radio’s twitter page is a good source for quick summaries of what all of the candidates said at the event (I, unfortunately, had a prior obligation and attended only the student body presidential candidates’ speeches).

The highest profile race is, of course, that of student body president which pits Michael Johnson, the current Senate Speaker, against Paul Diblasi, current 2013 class president.  Diblasi’s vice presidential running mate is Brian Gelok, the current vice president of club affairs.  Johnson is running solo and will appoint a VP should he win election.

A common thread through both speeches included improving relations between SGA and the other clubs/organizations on campus.  Diblasi said that he is interested in revamping the club room registration system to make it work more efficiently.  Gelok echoed his sentiment saying that SGA needs to cosponsor events with clubs.

Johnson stated similar ideas, citing that while speech night was going on, there were clubs and organizations holding events all over campus and saying that SGA needs to work with clubs and not against them.

Some other notes from the speeches:

From Michael Johnson:

  • Proposed the idea of hiring a mail truck to deliver to student housing areas that are distant from the mailroom
  • Would like to bring sustainable to-go containers to the dining hall
  • Believes relationship between SGA and student body can be improved through cosponsorship as opposed to competition in the community (cites ideas for large scale events which would reach out to multiple clubs for sponsorship/presentation)
  • Says his position on board of former president Matt Lubrano helped him find the middle ground between the student body and the SGA.

From Paul Diblasi

  • Discussed increasing campus efficiency through updating parking appeal system as well as club room reservation system in addition to adding “new technology” to classrooms.
  • Wants to develop a “laundry view”-like system for workout machines in the McCann facility.
  • Says students generally come to SGA when problems arise (I.E. parking tickets) which has led to a negative view of student government.
  • Cites ZipCars, New York Times Readership Program as accomplishments during his time in student government.

Continue reading

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Bits and Bites – 2.17.12

  • First off, a huge thank you to everyone who has taken the time to come and visit this blog so far.
  • A model of the new student center was supposedly set up in the Lowell Thomas lobby and, in fact, @MaristSGA tweeted about it (see below). I visited the lobby Wednesday night and again this afternoon though and it was not there. Where did it go? SGA doesn’t seem to know.
  • Campaign season kicked off this week.  Good luck to all of the candidates running for office.
  • There are lots of campaign events next week – see the schedule here.
  • Look for a post in the upcoming week regarding the use of online campaigning which is currently not allowed in SGA elections. I’ll be getting a couple different perspectives on the issue.
  • SGA’s civility initiative is currently going on, some parts of which you may have already seen.  Look for more on this coming soon as well.
  • SGA cosponsored an anti-hazing event last weekend as part of this civility campaign.
  • Marist,  along with the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, will host an event on entrepreneurship in the Hancock Center next week.
  • The Marist men’s basketball team beat first place Loyola this week…say what?
  • In the meantime, the women’s basketball team is revving up for the end of the season.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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