With three students on the ballot for the position of Student Body President, the vastly different platforms appeal to the College’s diverse student population. Although, as the College of Charleston advances with its own administrative changes, the need for a representative figure determined to stand for the desires of the students is imperative in maintaining the integrity of the institution. Candidates Sean Stivaletta, Zach Sturman and Ted Broda approach the role in different manners that only the students can decide will best serve the College’s community.
In his junior year, Stivaletta has acquired an accolade of experience. He began his career in SGA as a freshman and soon after took the opportunity to fill the role of the academic affairs liaison, where he was able to attend faculty senate and relate the sentiments of their meetings to those of the student senate. Striving to get further involved, he became a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. In the following year, Sean took on the position of Chief of Staff for SGA, then took hold of Chair of the Honor Board, and also secured an executive position in his fraternity. Devout to these organizations, this year has given way to even greater positions in which he serves as the Vice President of SGA, remains Chair of the Honor Board, continues with his executive role in SAE and has become a recent member of Charleston 40. With such accomplishments, Stivaletta hopes to use his past experiences as a driver for the goals he knows he is capable of accomplishing if given the opportunity to serve as the elected Student Body President. His platform has a foundation of three aspects, the first being to maintain the integrity of the liberal arts background in which the College is based. It is evident that the school is veering towards expanding and opening up more technical programs, but for Stivaletta, the diverse and well-rounded education students expect to receive is something he will fight for. Secondly, after learning that a minority student did not feel well-represented on campus, Stivaletta is determined to move forward and support two initiatives that will push for a greater minority representation; Cougar Promise and the President’s Diversity Doctoral/Post-Doctoral Fellowship Program. Cougar Promise would support qualified in-state students by helping them to get the proper assistance they need to afford tuition for the College. The second initiative would be focused on acquiring new faculty members from under-represented minorities to teach on the campus. The third point of Stivaletta’s platform is to strengthen communication between the student body and the Board of Trustees and the College’s President. While the SGA’s current president has already begun to enforce this goal, Stivaletta feels that he can further solidify the idea that the opinion of the student body is always known.
Stivaletta is enthusiastic to be running for this position and views this opportunity as a means to show gratitude and appreciation for the institution that has given him so much. After three years of hard work and dedication, the presidency would be a culmination of what he has already achieved and give way to many more achievements for the entirety of the student body.
Sophomore Zach Sturman is no stranger to the intricacies and functions of the Student Government Association. His involvement and determination has led him to pass the most resolutions and by-laws changes within the organization. By running on a ticket with his colleague and best friend, Michael Faikes, he hopes to utilize their experience within SGA and within the College of Charleston community in order to make greater changes than have been achieved before. Faikes is the current Treasurer of SGA and is directly involved with the funding of organizations on campus and with determining other allocations for the other funding that SGA offers students. With Sturman being the current Chief of Staff, the pair’s combined four years of experience within the Student Government Association as senators and members of the executive board has shown them that in some instances, the organization fails to provide for and support the students by making their daily lives easier. It is no secret that the printing available in the library does not serve the student body to the capacity that it should – and that the lack of other options for printing on campus are nonexistent. Together, the running-mates wish to find the means within the association to change this ill-service and provide new printing options in the main academic buildings and residence halls. When the two were brainstorming how they would run as a team, an essential question came to mind: What has SGA done for the average student this year? Realizing that a response was hard to come by, they secured their goal for the upcoming year, should they be elected. It is simple, yet effective; the Student Government Association should be there for the students directly. By implementing changes such as making umbrella rentals available to students on campus and changing the swipe-in policy in the residence halls to an entirely electronic system, Sturman and Faikes want to add ease and fluidity to the already hectic and overwhelming lives of students. These changes are achievable and yet SGA has not been there to provide these services to their only constituents. They feel that the dedication and endless hours that they put into student government has shown them that instead of managing up and dealing with the administration, the key is to manage down to their organization and peers. Unafraid to approach these leadership roles in a different manner than has been done before, they seek to redefine the role of Student Body President and Vice President so that they can be relied on as effective leaders from here on out.
As the youngest candidate, Ted Broda is aware that his experience in SGA differs from the others. Nearing the end of his first year as a senator, Broda views the role of Student Body President as one whose overarching goal is to serve the student population by listening to the changes that the students want to see on campus and finding the best-suited solutions to those problems. Broda believes that his fresh and new perspective within SGA is well fit for a leadership role because he is inclined to diverge from the status quo and alter the inner-workings of student government by re-allocating the funds that the executive board receives. By doing so, he hopes that the money can be used to better serve organizations on campus and be put towards initiatives that will alleviate the issues students run into on a daily basis. Though he is happy with what student government has achieved thus far, he knows that there is always room for improvement – and he feels that students have yet to receive all the benefits the organization is capable of providing to the student body. Ultimately, he wishes to see the student body and student government work in conjunction more often to determine where the issues are and to find pragmatic solutions. An active volunteer in the community and dedicated to his extra-curricular activities, Broda is a driven and inspired candidate who is determined to optimize the functionality of SGA. While he is not running on a specific platform, he states that his future actions will be driven by what the students consider to be the most important issues. Broda knows that open communication between student government and the student body is the only way our campus community will be a more effective learning institution.