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Juniors contend alone

Kristen Edelen | Friday, January 25, 2008

Saint Mary’s students met juniors Mickey Gruscinski and Sarah Falvey, who are running unopposed for next year’s student body president and vice president, in the atrium of the Student Center Thursday night during a “Meet the Candidates” event.

Gruscinski, who is running as president on the ticket, currently serves on Saint Mary’s Residence Hall Association (RHA) as treasurer. Falvey is the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH) executive assistant, a representative position in a national organization.

“An unopposed race is something that is definitely not normal and will make for an interesting election because they still have to campaign,” said senior Maggie Siefert, former student body vice president and executive director of elections.

Shortly after the forum, Gruscinski and Falvey began knocking on doors across campus to promote their campaign to students.

“Even though there is only one ticket they are working just as hard, as if there were five tickets,” Siefert said.

Speaking to a group of about 20 students, Gruscinski acknowledged the unusual nature of their unopposed contest, but said she and Falvey are still taking their campaign very seriously, and are concerned with increasing voter turnout at Saint Mary’s.

“Students will still be asked to vote,” Gruscinski said.

She explained that students will have the option of either voting for them or selecting an abstain option on Saint Mary’s PRISM Web site on Monday.

In the circumstance that 51 percent of students do click the abstain option, Gruscinski and Falvey will not take office next school year.

If the abstention vote wins, it will be the first time in school history, Siefert said. Since that has never happened before, she was unsure how the situation would be handled.

Extended Student Center hours, reliable and extended wireless Internet are part of the issues that built the candidates’ platform.

“We really want to make Saint Mary’s a [better] place for students to be,” Falvey said.

If elected, a push to extend Student Center hours until midnight on weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends will be made, and improving wireless connection on campus is something the team said they would “really fight hard for,” even if it means cutting funds elsewhere. Falvey believes it can be done.

“We’ll make it work,” she said.

The duo also wants to increase the study break options to once a week throughout the semester instead of just during exams.

“The idea for study break options came from a thought that stress occurs at different times, not just during finals week,” Gruscinski said.

When asked what these study breaks would entail, Gruscinski suggested more movie showings in Vander Vennet theater, recruiting performers onto campus, and hot chocolate nights.

Falvey ended the event by emphasizing her and Gruscinski’s dedication.

“We both have great visions for the school,” she said.

Voting begins on PRISM at midnight on Monday and continues until 11:59 p.m.