After a close race for newly created positions, the Ithaca College Student Government Association elections came to a close on Sept. 26, with 10 new senators preparing for their responsibilities.
Twenty candidates contested for the 10 open positions: one transfer senator, five student-at-large senators, a newly created varsity sports senator, a music school senator and two Class of 2017 senators.
The most popular positions included the Class of 2017 senator position, which had five candidates, and the newly created student-at-large senator position, which had seven candidates.
The newest additions to the SGA, which serves as a liaison between the student body and the college’s administration, are senior Gillian DeRario; sophomores Jamila Carter, Julia Castle and Kyle James; and freshman Melinda Carmichael, who were all elected senators-at-large. Freshmen Drew Olkowski and Rachel Rozin-Prior were elected the Class of 2017 senators, while freshman Heru Craig was elected transfer senator. Sophomore Alexandria Kemp will serve as the music school senator, and sophomore Zane Shephard will be the varsity sports senator.
Cedrick Michael Simmons, president of the SGA, said he was excited to see more students running for the multiple new positions compared to the Fall 2012 semester.
“They bring a wide variety of issues to the table that we wouldn’t have thought of,” he said.
Drew Olkowski, Class of 2017 senator, said he wants to keep in mind the size of the larger-than-usual freshman class when making decisions.
“It’s important to know that we’re a huge class, so it’s hard to represent a huge body of students,” he said. “I want to try to do my best in creating an environment where everybody … gets to know everybody.”
Olkowski created the Facebook page “Senator Drew Olkowski,” where he will post videos every week showcasing the talents of students across campus. He said this platform will complement personal interactions by serving as a way to inform the student body about the SGA’s initiatives.
“Just … approach us in the hallway and say, ‘Hey, do you want to go to Campus Center and talk about this?’” he said. “I personally love meeting new people and hearing everybody’s ideas. That’s really where we get our ideas from, building off of each other’s thoughts … It’s always good to hear what feedback people have.”
Meanwhile, Rachel Rozin-Prior, the second newly elected Class of 2017 senator, said she plans to address the concerns of temporary housing for freshmen, many of whom have signed petitions asking the Office of Residential Life not to remove the students.
“A lot of freshmen that were placed in the lounges have built a tight-knit community,” she said.
Julia Castle, another newly elected senator-at-large, said her platform stood on the basic ideas of accessibility and mobility on campus, improving student health care and class registration.
She also said she wants to join the Student Outreach Committee, a newly created commission that handles the SGA’s media and creates strategies to build effective communication.
“I would like to make myself available through social media,” Castle said. “Generally, by just approaching other students, going to more events … making sure that other students know what SGA has done and that we are approachable.”
Zane Shephard, newly elected varsity athlete senator, said he will work with his fellow senators to help the administration see what decisions need to be made regarding issues concerning the student body.
“We’re focusing SGA more this year to let people know that we’re here to help them,” Shephard said. “Instead of complaining about their problems, they can tell us, and we can work with the administration to get them solved.”