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Five tickets campaign for SMC freshman class office

Megan O'Neil | Monday, September 19, 2005

Saint Mary’s newest students have five tickets and a variety of campaign ideas to choose from in today’s first year presidential and vice presidential election.

The tickets, Francesca Johnson and Pauline Kistka, Audrey Anweiler and Maura Clougherty, Mary Conroy and Katie Connolly, Maggie Johnson and Christina Partyka and Jennifer Gray and Therese Tschudy spent the last several days wallpapering campus with posters and flyers and knocking on doors to introduce themselves to classmates.

Experience among this year’s field of candidates ranges from high school student council president to captain of varsity sports teams to four years military experience.

Elections commissioner Danielle Lerner said while there are fewer tickets this year than last, the quality of the candidates is impressive.

“I think last year we had upwards of eight or nine [tickets],” she said. “The last few years the first years have been really excited about student government and obviously we are really happy about that.”

At a panel session Thursday the tickets answered questions posed by Lerner and other members of the student body about their goals if elected to office.

“It went quite well,” Lerner said. “Normally first years are really nervous, but all of the candidates were really well prepared and we felt all of them would do a great job.”

All the tickets said they want to build class unity through service work and fun events. Conroy, student council president of her high school, said she and running mate Connolly hope to be a strong and experienced voice for the first year class on the board of governance, the highest student government body at Saint Mary’s.

“First of all we have an enthusiasm and a love for the school,” Conroy said. “We want to have every first year to have the best year they can.”

Gray, who served as a student council representative in high school for four years, said one issue she would like to tackle as first year class president is the sometimes strained Notre Dame-Saint Mary’s student body relationship.

“We really want to get rid of the stereotypes between the Notre Dame women and the Saint Mary’s women,” Gray said. “I haven’t experienced [the tension] myself but some girls said they did, especially at Domerfest.”

Gray said she would like to build a strong bond between the first year classes at the two schools through organized events with both Saint Mary’s students and Notre Dame students.

Campaigning with the slogan “Your energizer bunnies; we will keep going and going for you,” Francesca Johnson said although she has never held a major leadership position, her determination and enthusiasm make her a strong candidate.

“One thing we want to do is start a dance marathon,” she said.

The event, which she hopes will include Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame students, would include a 24-hour dance during which money would be raised for local charities.

“This is actually something we can start and continue [as a class],” Johnson said.

Presidential candidate Anweiler spent four years after high school stationed in San Diego as an enlisted servicewoman in the Navy before enrolling at Saint Mary’s.

“I’d say it gives me the type of leadership traits to be a good president,” she said.

Anweiler said she and running mate Clougherty want to lead their class in efforts to help with Hurricane Katrina relief, either through collection drives or a service trip to the area.

“We feel service is very important and we can do something even though we are so far away,” Clougherty said.

Maggie Johnson and Partyka got a list of all the first year rooms on campus and knocked on every single door.

The pair said they would also like to promote the connection between the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s first year classes. Further, they said they want to maintain open lines of communication with their classmates through e-mails and monthly surveys.

“We are just really motivated,” Partyka said. “We have a lot of different ideas, but even if we don’t win it has been a good experience. We have gotten to know a lot of people.”

First year students have until midnight tonight to log onto Prism and vote, Lerner said. Candidates will be notified of the results at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Due to the number of tickets, there will be a runoff election Wednesday between the two tickets with the highest number of votes. The final winners will be announced Thursday, Lerner said.