SGA elections held today and tomorrow: Do you know your candidates?

Voting for SGA senate elections is available today and tomorrow on My Charleston.

Voting for SGA senate elections is available today and tomorrow on My Charleston. (Photo by Olivia Cohen)

As this year’s SGA senatorial elections are upon us, students have 23 candidates vying for their vote. To help students make a more informed decision, the candidates offered their motivations, goals and past experience in SGA.

Elections will be held Wednesday Sept. 11 and Thursday Sept. 12. Students can vote by logging into MyCharleston and clicking on the Student Services tab on those dates.

Freshman Candidates

Benjamin Hyder, a communication major, wants to “ensure that College of Charleston will continue to have some of the best student life in the nation.” He is interested in addressing several issues, including a more efficient mail processing system and later hours for Liberty Fresh Food Company and City Bistro. In high school, he was cofounder and president of Young Democrats. He was also involved in SGA and several political debates.

Lance Foxworth, who is pursuing a double-major in political science and French, hopes to get involved in the college community through SGA. “I have always had a passion for civic engagement,” he said. His goal is to build and maintain a strong relationship between SGA and the student population, particularly the class of 2017. His leadership positions in high school included honor council, PEEPS Club, International Travel Club and Project Unify. He hopes to continue his work with disabled children by giving students more opportunities to volunteer with the local special needs community and Special Olympics.

Emily Torchiana, a potential communication major, wants to “light the way to a great school year” by finding out from students what issues they think need to be addressed on campus. Personally, she hopes to address the use of tobacco on campus. “I feel that our campus should be smoke-free. I also feel that the Cougar Shuttle should be open earlier for students,” she said. In high school, she gained leadership experience in SGA, National Honor Society and her school’s service organization. She is currently involved in Alpha Delta Pi and the Catholic Student Association.

Quinten Meadors, a biology major, has made it his goal to give everyone at the college a voice in school and community affairs. “I strive to attain an environment where everyone is contributing ideas to make the College of Charleston the best it can be,” he said. He held leadership positions in renovations, marching band, Key Club and tutoring at his high school.

Veronique Hut, a marine biology major, hopes to make a difference in SGA by representing her classmates’ opinions. Her goal is to “speak the voice of our community” to work toward the changes that students want to see. In high school, she was an SGA member and a captain on two basketball teams for all four years. She also led a club involved with volunteer opportunities in her community.

Anna Lefitz, an arts management and special education double-major, wants her peers to feel comfortable expressing concerns about campus life. She wants to “enhance programs that students love,” work with Residence Life and Housing to make dorm sign-in easier for freshmen and organize more shuttles to off-campus recreation spots such as the beach and movie theater. Her past leadership experiences include holding positions in her high school’s Beta Club and Recycling Club and serving as president of her synagogue’s youth group.

Royal Pipaliya, a biology major, hopes that the SGA will present “a new challenge and adventure” for him. He wants to get involved in the college community and find out what issues matter to people here. Over the course of this term, he plans to “keep [his] eyes and ears alert and get [his] bearings.” When he finds out what issues students want addressed, he will narrow his focus and work toward those goals.

Jessica Rodman hasn’t decided on a major yet, but she has decided that she wants to benefit and inspire others inside and outside the college community to improve their quality of life. This will be her focus during her SGA career, with her eye on a range of projects from opening City Bistro earlier “for those early birds with classes at 8 a.m.” to introducing “highly celebrated programs” that will help students hone their skills to the benefit of the community. In high school, she organized fundraisers and clothing drives and represented her organization in Beta Club.

Zach Sturman, undecided, looks forward to meeting and working with people from a wide variety of clubs and organizations on campus through SGA. His goal is to implement changes that students want either “explicitly or subtly.” While he plans on finding out which issues are of the highest priority for students, he is currently interested in bringing ZipCars to campus, integrating dining hall hours and menus with the College of Charleston mobile app, organizing a campus-wide beach trip in the spring, creating a system of umbrella rentals and offering massage chairs during finals week. He was involved in his high school’s SGA every year, acting as president, student-faculty liaison and a student representative on the Honor Board.

Other freshman candidates include Lauren Johnson, Devon Morris, and Pantelis Papadunimos.

Sophomore Candidates

Thomas Aggeles, majoring in international business, sees the SGA as an organization “deeply embedded within not only the college community, but the city as a whole.” He hopes to inform students on various domestic, international, economic and social issues to bolster their success after they graduate from the College. He has held several leadership positions in NJROTC and a local restaurant in his hometown.

Other sophomore candidates include Michael Faikes, Franco Porras and Richard Redmond.

Junior Candidates

John Cullen, a political science major, sees the SGA as “a good place to dip my foot in the water” for a future career in politics. His main concern right now is helping with the graduation ceremony. He wants to make sure the speaker “can leave a message that isn’t the standard rhetoric” for this year’s graduating class. This is his first time running for SGA, but he has held leadership positions on several sports teams.

Other junior candidates include Rachel Castejon, Emily Davidson, Erin Murphy, Aubrey O’Brien and Hudson Sealey.

Senior Candidates

Siera Barksdale is the only senior candidate for a seat.

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