Candidates start the race for SGA presidency
Just as the campus starts to thaw after months of ice cold weather, the Student Government elections start to heat up.
The most notable position up for grabs, in fact the only contested seat, is president.
The incumbent president, Joseph Donato, will be graduating after a two-year stint as head of SGA, creating an opening for a pair of hopeful successors Finance Committee Chair Timothy Hoffman and Treasurer Ashley Jefferson will be running for the position.
Hoffman will be running on a ticket with Ryan Kane, Jessica Page and Teagen Sebba who are going unopposed for vice president, treasurer and secretary respectively while Jefferson is running on a solo ticket.
Jefferson, a junior, says after two years as treasurer with SGA under Donato has sufficiently pre- pared her for a term as president.
“First and foremost I have created the necessary relationships with administration and University executives,” Jefferson said. “This is so crucial because day one of my presidency will not be creating these relationships but in- stead I will act on them and begin to create change. Secondly, I have earned the Student Body trust. As treasurer, I interacted with organizations on a daily basis. I am very in touch with student needs and because I worked with them closely, I have developed a comfort level with them.”
Hoffman, a sophomore, who in addition to his work with SGA is an elected trustee on the Hackensack Board of Education, where he handles an annual budget of over $98 million, says he too feels as if his position has readied him to take on the presidential role.
“Serving as finance commit- tee chair has prepared me for the presidency because it is a unique position in SGA that works with both the Senate and the Executive Board,” Hoffman said. “I have served two years in this position, and two years on the Senate Leadership committee which has enabled me to gain a great understanding of the organization itself and take on a pivotal leadership role. In my position, I also have interacted with many of the clubs and organizations on campus, which provide the energy found on campus. Interacting with these clubs and organizations has been important for me because I strongly feel that we need to really support these organizations in new ways going forward.”
Jefferson is running on the platform of five specific “pillars” that she hopes to improve: Student Affordability, GDS, Health Services, Housing/Residence Life and Campus Safety.
“Each of these broad categories have specific things that students want handled,” Jefferson said. “I have been told countless times from administrators – ‘If you get the students behind it, you have a really great chance to change it.’ I feel that the past couple of years SGA hasn’t heeded that advice. As President, I plan to band students together and create the change that the students want to see.”
Hoffman said he plans to focus on improving relations between students and SGA and have their needs heard, in particular off-campus safety and village relations as well as increasing the budget allotted to SGA in order to allocate more funds to clubs and organizations.
“I believe the SGA should be the primary way students can voice all of their concerns and the SGA should be trusted to take concrete action to address all is- sues on campus,” Hoffman said.
“The atmosphere on campus is currently very disconnected and it will be a mission of my administration to bring unity to this campus by working closely with all clubs and organizations on campus.
A central goal of the campaign is to build a strong working relationship with the Village of South Orange so we can work together to improve off-campus safety and work collaboratively on issues facing students and the village.”
Assistant Dean of Leadership Development Maggie Bach said she is excited about the elections and is confident with whatever outcome may come of it.
“Regardless of the outcome, I am confident that next year’s e-board and senate will continue the progress that was made this year,” Bach said.
She said she encourages students to participate in the elections and learn about the candidates who will be representing them.
Meet The Candidates Night is on Monday, March 24, in the Chancellor’s Suite at 5pm where Jefferson and Hoffman will present to answer any questions from the student body.
Clayton Collier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.