SGA elections continue into Thursday

By Sam Butterfield

The University of Massachusetts’ Student Government Association (SGA) elections commenced Tuesday, with students voting online and at the polls in the Campus Center. Elections will run through Thursday, with results announced next Monday.

Today, the Collegian profiles several more candidates from SGA senate races. To read yesterday’s profiles, click here.

Southwest North

There are five candidates for four spots in the Southwest North race. The field includes freshmen Juan Moreira, Adam Baldarelli, as well as senior Sarah Schultz, Daniela Sanchez and Blaine Stillerman.

Schultz said she is running because she feels she can represent a variety of voices as both a senior and a Resident Assistant to freshmen.

Schultz said if elected, she will work to engage students in campus happenings and events, and will attempt to be an outlet for students in her area.

“Most students [in Southwest] are freshmen and are only beginning to understand the University at large, and their place within the UMass community,” she said. “My hope is that by involving students in the happenings of the University and the SGA Senate, they will become interested and involved.”

Schultz also added that she feels new faces on campus could possibly use some assistance in mastering PVTA bus routes.

“Many of my fellow residents found it difficult to work the bus routes and would have appreciated a “getting around Amherst“ tutorial while at orientation; it“s the small issues that prevent many students from getting involved or feeling at home,” she said.

Sanchez said she would like to inform her potential constituents about ongoing issues around campus, and that she would like to see a tighter rapport between the SGA and the student body at large.

I’m running for a senate [seat] because I feel like the student body is not well informed about what“s going on on our campus,” she said. “I want to create a tighter connection between the SGA and the student body.”

Sanchez also listed securing wireless Internet for Southwest as among her top goals.

“I hope to not only keep Southwest residents informed, but to fight for commodities other residential areas have, for example wireless Internet,” she said.

Central

The race in Central includes five candidates gunning for four spots in the Senate. Yesterday, the Collegian outlined the views of three of them; Andrew Eaton, Evan Pleasant and Sean O’Connor. The other two candidates in the field are Zachary Broughton and Benjamin Lees.

Broughton, a freshman from Salem, Mass., said he hopes to be a part of “a new student government that focuses on true student issues.”

Broughton said he would like to see funding allocated for cleanup and ameliorations to Central’s residence halls.

“I am hoping to fight for funding to renovate, update and remodel all of the buildings so that they can be as amazing as the new Gorman First Year Residence Hall,” he said.

Broughton also said he would work to bring more sustainable washers and dryers to Central’s dorms.

Further, he said he would advocate for more financial aid funds for students and to prevent increases in student fees.

Orchard Hill

The SGA senate race in Orchard Hill features 12 candidates for three seats. Yesterday, the Collegian profiled three of them; Matthew Bonaccorsi, Jessica Jankowski and Nick Barton.

Other candidates include Nate Richardson, Stuart Farber, Mark Borenstein, Mark Riddle, Stephen Darcy, Edward Tedesco, Balaj Rai, Sheryl Klein and Chandler Hall.

Sophomore Nate Richardson, a Shrewsbury, Mass., native, said he has entered the race because he built connections to the SGA senate last year while working as an elections commissioner, and that he believes with this experience he can work effectively in the senate.

Richardson said if elected, he will work to convince the University’s administration to improve infrastructure between Orchard Hill and other areas of campus.

“Something I would like to achieve for O-Hill is to finally get the administration to make good on its promise to improve the path between O-Hill and Sylvan,” he said. “There’s no reason why it should be anything but laughable to call it the “Rape Trail,”  he said, “but given its current lack of development, that is not the case.”

Like many other candidates, Richardson touched on what he sees as poor Internet infrastructure.

“I also stand … in wanting to reach a better solution to Internet access on campus,” he said.

Richardson also said he would like to see greater cohesion and synergy within the SGA.

“I think we need to promote a greater degree of collaboration between the Senate and the SGA presidency,” he said. “Last year, there seemed to be a big gap between the two that prevented the SGA from working with one voice.”

Klein, echoing a theme many candidates sounded, said she would like to help give a voice to students in her area.

“It is important for us, as students, to make sure we are heard,” she said, “and that is what I want to make sure of.”

Klein said she would like to promote more unity between O-Hill’s separate clusters, perhaps by bringing more activities and events to the area“s social scene.

“I would like to orchestrate more cluster unity,” she posited, “maybe with more appealing activities like open-mic nights in the bowl.”

Commuter

The Commuter Senator race is not exactly a race. There are 13 candidates in the field, with 18 slots available.

Yesterday, the Collegian profiled Justin A. Thompson, Josh Davidson, Ellen Moorhouse, Greg MacDonough and Matthew Medney.

Other candidates include Alex Cidado, Allison Sacks, Michelle Sudan, Elle Rahilly, Dan Stratford, William Cody, Thor Tillberg and Matthew Reilly.

Rahilly, a junior, said she is seeking a seat as a way to become more involved with her fellow students and to attempt to impact decisions affecting the student body.

“The main motive I have in running for a seat in the SGA senate is the aspiration of a way to become more involved not only with our campus, but our student body,” said Rahilly.

Like several of her fellow candidates, Rahilly listed working with area authorities and law enforcement to depressurize relations with the town and work to promote a more hospitable, less punitive climate for students.

“My main objective would be to increase safety while decreasing the number of police within the area,” she said. “I would rather allocate funds to increase the availability of transportation for students past midnight, as well as provide a sufficient number of streetlights to ensure the safety of all pedestrians,” she said, “as opposed to the amount of police force, which lacks in providing a sense of security for most [commuter] students.”

Stratford, a junior from Bethpage, N.Y., who is seeking a return to the Senate, said like many returning candidates that he hopes to build on his experience.

“I am running primarily upon my prior experience in the SGA Senate and politics in general,” he said, noting that he last year served on the SGA’s Ways & Means Committee, tasked with distributing money to student groups through the Student Activities Trust Fund.

Stratford said he will work for his fellow commuters by attempting to make getting to campus simpler.

“I hope, in part, to ease the ‘transaction costs’ of commuting,” he said. “One of the most contentious and time-consuming activities of all off-campus students is just getting onto campus in general,” he added, “I would like to work with the PVTA to erect more sheltered bus stops, and to upgrade some of the more dilapidated ones that are already built.”

Stratford further stated that he would like to initiate more discourse with the PVTA and plans to consider putting into place an overhaul of the SGA election process “to allow for a more open and amiable nomination and elections process, which would include publishing things like a comprehensive ‘How To Guide’ for SGA elections.”

Whatever the outcome, this year’s SGA will certainly be a quite different body from the Senates of years past, as only eight Senators are running to return.

Sam Butterfield can be reached at [email protected]