Once again, it is campaign season for the Student Government Association’s new freshman class senators. Campaign week began on Monday, Sept. 20 and continues until Sept. 28 when voting ends. The Elections Commission has been working with SGA and the freshmen candidates to have a smooth and fair elections process, resulting in the election of six new senators. After meeting with potential candidates several times and reviewing their paperwork, it was narrowed down to only eight candidates. On Sept. 22, the Elections Commission held a debate for these eight freshmen candidates to answer questions regarding their individual campaigns.
Unlike last year, the candidates have the opportunity for an in-person debate, as well as in-person campaigning, like giving out cookies on South Campus or handing out flyers or pins. The Elections Commission and SGA were extremely pleased with the turnout at the debate, as the entire Cinema in the Connelly Cinema was at full capacity. Around 180 first-year students and SGA members came to listen to the candidates and decide who they want to elect on Sept. 27 to represent them.
Sophomore members of the Elections Commission, Gavin Woodin and Elizabeth Baladez, led the debate by first allowing all the candidates to introduce themselves. After introductions, each candidate gave an opening statement. The candidates were extremely confident, energetic, friendly and came well-prepared with very persuasive speeches. Next, each candidate answered five questions regarding why they want to be a part of SGA and what they want to advocate for if they are elected as senators.
The candidates discussed a variety of things, from creating an academic mentor system to making more mental health resources available, especially for new students, and to facilitate more communication between SGA and students. They expressed various concerns, like creating more transparency between University faculty and staff and students. They emphasized the importance of allowing students to have a voice in SGA policies, whether that is through town hall meetings or suggestion boxes.
After the debate, The Villanovan spoke with freshman candidate Tyler Moore, who discussed campaigning and how he was trying to get his name and message across to the freshman class. Moore noted that he made several posters, which were hung around South Campus, as well as made many social media posts regarding his background and goals. On top of this, he obtained testimonials from his teachers and peers on why he is a good candidate and even hosted a Q&A event on Instagram for people to ask him more questions.
“I’m looking forward to the next week and seeing the results,” Moore said. “I’m hoping for the best and to be able to represent my peers and the community.”
Regarding the debate, Moore said, “I think the debate was set up by the EC very well. I was really surprised by the turn out, which of course being an ACS approved event helped. I found it cool how engaged everyone was with all the candidates. It was nice to be able to show off your personality and who you are to our peers. While social media is a huge part of our campaigns, the opportunity for everyone to see you in person helped to put a name to a face. I think it was also easier to express ideas, as social media can only capture so much attention.”
Overall, all the candidates agreed on one thing: the importance of truth, unity and love. Despite the competition, each candidate shared the same goal and desire to help make the Villanova community stronger, healthier and happier through transparency and communication.