Student body presidential candidates: Louis Bertolotti and Elizabeth Fenton
Observer Staff Report | Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Who they are: Presidential candidate Louis Bertolotti is a junior from Tenafly, New Jersey. A transfer to the University from Holy Cross College, Bertolotti currently lives in Alumni Hall and serves as the executive director of the Student Union Board (SUB), which oversees and plans programming on campus, including concerts, weekly movies and An Tostal. He also served as director of the First Undergraduate Experience in Leadership (FUEL) under the Vidal-Devine administration in his sophomore year.
Vice presidential candidate Elizabeth Fenton hails from Boca Raton, Florida, and lives in Ryan Hall on campus. A junior majoring in marketing, Fenton previously served on the Vidal-Devine executive cabinet as the director of National Engagement and Outreach. She works as a football ambassador in the recruiting office and as a tour guide for Admissions and the Eck Center.
Top priority: Reforming senate and taxi standardization
Bertolotti said his top priority for the next year was the reforming student senate. Citing senate’s C+ grade from The Observer in December, Bertolotti said the group has stopped functioning as an independent body and should be holding the executive cabinet accountable. His plan to repurpose senate would include giving more power to senators as well as having each cabinet member speak at the weekly meetings to give updates on what progress their department has made.
Fenton said her top priority would be the campaign’s taxi standardization plan. The ticket plans to work with local taxi companies to establish criteria for cabs to be endorsed by student government as safe and fair. Approved cabs would promise to take students home regardless of what campus they live on and not wait for full or past-capacity cabs before taking students where they want to go.
Best Idea: A clear, direct platform outlining their goals
The strongest part of the Bertolotti-Fenton platform is its directness; each department in the executive cabinet has at least three concrete programming or initiative-based goals, and a deadline by which they have to complete them. This lends legitimacy to the promise of transparency and accountability by offering a checklist to the student body of things they intend to accomplish.
Worst Idea: Gender Relations improvements
The only exception to the directness and clearness of the platform comes in the Gender Relations department section. Whereas other sections lay out clear goals with defined deadlines, the three tenets of this section all have a deadline of “year-round” or “2016-2017 school year” and are much less well defined. The campaign promises to continue existing sexual assault prevention campaigns including It’s On Us and GreeNDot and to “re-vamp the brother-sister dorm relationship.” Additionally, the decision to include “an awareness to the importance of mental health” in the Gender Relations section seems out of place. While all of these ideas are good, in comparison to the rest of the platform, they seem somewhat haphazardly thrown together.
Most feasible: The implementation of a bimonthly student government newsletter
Most students are not aware of what student government actually does; the introduction of a twice-monthly newsletter sent to the student body could go a long way in combatting that problem. Because the newsletter would be sent out over email, putting it together and circulating it amongst students would require little effort beyond actually writing it.
Least feasible: Changing the student football ticket exchange and improving Wi-Fi on the quads
Bertolotti and Fenton did not have a concrete plan in place to implement the proposed changes to student ticketing — including allowing prospective students the opportunity to use available student tickets — and it seems unlikely the Ticket Office would approve of a plan that could potentially cause more game day headaches than benefits. In terms of improving Wi-Fi coverage outside, OIT has already struggled to address previous wireless connectivity issues inside.
Bottom Line: Bertolotti and Fenton have the most combined experience of the three tickets, which has given them insight into how student government currently operates. However, their top priorities, while commendable, do not seem to align with those of the student body as a whole.