This week, the University Student Government Association held its annual student body elections. Available positions ranged from senatorial openings to the President/Vice President ticket. Senators represent their class year or their specified college in which they are enrolled. Fifteen Senators were announced in an email on Friday, March 19. The email also contained the results for President/Vice President, in which juniors Caroline Levine and Ivanica Skalko were victorious over sophomores Julia Lamarre and Philip Choi.
Lamarre and Choi campaigned on “putting the student back in student government” and were excited to start initiatives to improve mental health resources and creating a safer environment in terms of sexual assault. This would have included a collective increased understanding across campus of Title IX policies.
Levine and Skalko have prior experience in SGA, as Levine was this year’s Vice President and Skalko was the Chief of Staff. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Levine has been heavily involved in the Community First program, especially encouraging students to follow guidelines and working with administration. She also developed the campus wide-initiative “Let’s Vote Nova” in the fall. This encouraged civic engagement across campus during the 2020 election. It helped increase voter registration and provided transportation to and from polling locations. As Chief of Staff, Skalko prioritized transparency and efficiency throughout SGA.
During their tenure, the duo hopes to implement new initiatives that reflect the changing community of the University, especially improving mental health resources. In their campaign message, they mention a few options: expanding counseling center session limits, hiring more counselors of color and expanding long-term off-campus resources. Levine and Skalko also want to find a way to integrate underrepresented voices of marginalized students into SGA. There were no specifics, but changes could be reflected at the student and institutional level.
Levine and Skalko are “hopeful that in the next year our community will continue to come together as we return to somewhat normal,” something that every student hopes for after a school year riddled with COVID-19 cases and restrictions. They especially emphasize the inclusivity that they hope to bring onto campus during their tenure.
“We promise to work our hardest to advocate and represent every student on Villanova’s campus [and] look forward to working to make Villanova a more inclusive and welcoming place for all,” Skalko said
With the incoming administration, Villanova students are excited to see what changes are made across campus. After a difficult year, prioritizing mental health resources is important for many students. On-campus counselors have stated that this is the busiest semester they have experienced at the Counseling Center, with record numbers of students signing up for appointments to talk to a counselor. Levine and Skalko want to remind people that “if you have ideas or need anything, [to reach out at] firstname.lastname@example.org.”