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SMC presidential candidates discuss platforms

| Friday, February 27, 2015

Saint Mary’s students gathered Wednesday night to listen to the platforms of the three potential student body president and vice presidential candidates.

Junior Shannon Golden said her and fellow junior Margaret Faller’s Saint Mary’s pride led them to run for president and vice president, respectively.

“I realized that I wanted to make every second here count,” Golden said. “I want every girl to feel the inclusion of the Saint Mary’s sisterhood and to be able to love the school as much as I do.”

One of Golden and Faller’s main goals is to change the selection dates for Opus Hall, Saint Mary’s newest residence hall, from the spring to the fall of junior year, which they believe will make deciding senior housing an easier process.

Golden and Faller also hope to increase the alumni relations network and show the Student Government Association’s support for every student-run organization. They hope to extend Angela Athletic Facility’s hours, promote healthy options in the dining hall and ensure everyone feels safe on campus.

“We plan to address any and every concern that students have and bring it to security right away,” Golden said. “We want to be extremely proactive when it comes to this topic.”

Juniors Kaitlyn Baker and Maddie Kohler, running for president and vice president respectively, also discussed safety on campus. They said they hope to fund a second Blinky driver, who will remain at Saint Mary’s after transportation has ended for the night.

According to Baker, her position as Resident Hall Association president has taught her how to communicate effectively with students and how to set up activities.

“I truly understand the demands of the position of student body president and what it means to be a leader,” Baker said. “I know I speak for Maddie and myself when I say we absolutely love all of you and all of Saint Mary’s. That really is why we’re up here today.”

The pair said it hopes to reduce email clutter through the creation of a weekly newsletter that will keep students informed. Additionally, one of their goals is to establish personal bonds with everyone and remain open to suggestions while implementing their own changes.

“We want to work with the student body to make sure that we can all call Saint Mary’s our home, a place where the food might not be as good as mom’s home-cooked meals, but with new healthy options — such as a veggie bar and a smoothie station — it isn’t far off,” Kohler said.

Kohler and Baker said they will support bonding by initiating bowling events, trips to Chicago and ice-skating nights, as well as hosting the Navy Ball. The candidates said they will also limit paper use and fundraise for water-filtering stations in all academic buildings.

“It is our goal to make next year the finest year of your college experience,” Baker said. “Your vote is the first step to having your voice heard.”

Juniors Kristen Whalen and Breanna Elger said they also want to create a more environmentally friendly campus. Both transfer students, Waelin and Elger said they came to Saint Mary’s already knowing what it takes to promote sustainability across a college campus.

Whalen and Elger said that their devotion to Saint Mary’s inspired them to seek the leadership positions of president and vice president, respectively.

“While it’s arguable that our facilities might not be the latest and the greatest, the heart of each student at Saint Mary’s is what makes this school special,” Whalen said. “This passion for Saint Mary’s has compelled us to fully dive into the community.”

The duo said it hopes to collaborate with Sodexo, the company that runs Saint Mary’s dining services, and expand the variety of food in the dining hall, as well as make the coffee machine in the library permanent.

“We are excited to provide this no-cost luxury to our students, using our financial backgrounds to explore options for subsidization and alternative budgeting,” Elger said. “Additionally, we hope to partner with the document center to make color printing available for your personal use.”

Whalen said economic transparency with tuition and extended hours at the Angela Athletic facility are among her and Elger’s priorities, but responding to the needs of students and more clearly defining what it means to be a Belle will always come first.

“We hope to use our business experience to ally with admissions and to partner with the recent marketing firm they’ve hired to make a tangible description of the often unclear notion of what a Belle is,” Whalen said. “As Belles, you exude charisma, you have spunk, you have heart, and you have an iron will.”

Voting took place Thursday on OrgSync and the results will be announced Friday.

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About Martha Reilly

Martha is a senior majoring in English literature and political science. She currently serves as Saint Mary's editor but still values the Oxford comma in everyday use.

Contact Martha