Tickets face off in class council elections
Two tickets from each class will be competing for the role of executive board for the sophomore, junior and senior class councils. Elections will be held today from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Andrew Stoker, Shae Boguslawski, Mia Womack and Kyle Witzigman divided their platform into three parts: a senior speaker series; senior engagement on social, service and spiritual dimensions; and senior week.
“We plan to use Notre Dame’s resources to bring prominent speakers to campus,” Stoker, the ticket’s presidential candidate, said in an email. “From entertaining comedians to business leaders, we want to connect students with people that we could only get access to while at Notre Dame. I think engaging with speakers like this is unique to the college experience and something we should really be taking advantage of before graduation.”
The ticket also wishes to strengthen seniors’ involvement with each other and with the community as a whole, Stoker said.
“We’ll have social events from a back to school barbecue to study breaks with free pizza right before midterms, service partnerships with the Boys and Girls Club and the Robinson Center and spiritual opportunities, including a class mass and candlelight prayer,” he said.
Stoker, Boguslawski, Womack and Witzigman also have plans for senior week that incorporate both old traditions and new ideas, Stoker said.
“I’m personally most excited about the senior speaker series,” Stoker said. “This kind of event has never been taken on by a class council before and I think it will be an exciting challenge to see how big we can make it. The inspiration for this project came from attending speeches by Stanley Druckenmiller and Alexis Ohanian, the founder of Reddit.
Stoker and Boguslawski have served on class councils since freshman year, while Womack and Witzigman have been involved with class councils since sophomore year. Stoker is currently the Junior Class Council’s treasurer.
The ticket aims to encourage participation among off-campus seniors, Stoker said.
“One of the challenges for student government senior year is that so many students move off campus. We plan to collaborate heavily with off campus council and other student groups in the planning of events,” Stoker said.
Thomas Schneeman, Shannon Montague, Brian Cimons and Bridget Doyle said they hope to make senior year as memorable and meaningful as possible by focusing on bringing together on- and off-campus seniors. They plan to do this is through transportation reforms, the ticket’s candidate for treasurer, Cimons, said.
“One of the first thing that we would like to get started working on is increasing the off campus transportation network,” Cimons said in an email. “All the construction going on has really limited parking options, and since seniors make up a majority of off campus students, this is a great concern of ours. We also want to work on expanding the existing transportation to downtown South Bend.”
Scheeman said the focus will be on ensuring that the seniors, regardless of location, will remain close.
“Senior year is much different than any other year, as it is our last year together, and we will be facing different challenges,” he said. “With so many seniors moving off campus, the event planning shifts from bringing together students from around campus to uniting the off-campus community with the on-campus community.
Montague, the ticket’s candidate for vice president, said that the ticket has built up a variety of contacts that will ensure their plans will be implemented quickly and effectively.
“This will allow us to dedicate our efforts and utilize the necessary resources and planning at our disposal to make them great and encourage spending time as a class without inviting busy seniors to events every single week,” Montague said. “We know that as seniors, everyone in our class will have busy schedules, so for programming, we want to hit a couple of big, signature events.”
Thomas Schneeman, the ticket’s presidential candidate, is the current Executive Controller for Student Government, managing the Vidal-Devine administration’s budget. He has also been a member of FUEL, Morrissey Freshman Orientation Committee, Morrissey’s Hall Council and various departments of Student Government, including University Affairs and Constituent Services. Montague is the Chief of Staff for the Undergraduate Student Union and has previously served as Pasquerilla West Hall’s dance and Queen Week commissioners, and was a member of the Student Campus Orientation Committee. Cimons is Morrissey’s representative on Student Senate and helped bring the Wall Street Journal to campus. He also has served on Morrissey’s Freshman Orientation Committee. Bridget Doyle, the ticket’s candidate for secretary, is Vice-President of Howard Hall and has served as Co-President in the past. She also has been a member of class council and served on various committees within the council.
The ticket wishes to continue the great work of this year’s Junior Class Council, but also expand on it for their senior year, Doyle said.
“We want to make this next year even better, since it is our senior year here on campus … I think that we have a great team and some really good ideas, and we look forward to our senior year with the chance to give our classmates the best year yet,” Doyle said.
Eva Niklinska, Katelyn Wray, Mason Zurovchack and Kimmy Sullivan intend to introduce several new events for the class, including giveaways and service opportunities, the ticket’s candidate for treasurer, Zurovchak said.
“Events like study abroad send-offs and welcome-backs will provide a perfect opportunity for staying in touch with new friends made around the globe and those you love from under the Dome,” Zurovchak said in an email. “Frequent events like Berry and Einstein Bagel giveaways will sweeten your day with a way to destress from the craziness that is junior year. We plan to give back to our amazing class by not only offering them more opportunities to volunteer their time and talent in the community, but also through Junior Appreciation week — a new initiative to give juniors steals and deals within and outside campus.
“Finally, we want to start a new signature event aside from the classic JPW with an Annual Derby Dance, modeled off the vibe and excitement of the Kentucky Derby.”
Sullivan said that three of the four members of the ticket — Niklinska, Wray and Sullivan — previously served on Class Council.
“Eva [Niklinska] was a member of both Freshmen and Sophomore Class Council as the Freshman Class service committee chair, and the current sophomore class secretary,” Sullivan said. “As an executive this year, she knows what has worked and what changes need to be made in order for the Class of 2017 Council to get more cohesive and better organized each and every year.”
Niklinska said Sullivan’s experience planning events this year put the ticket at an advantage in terms of expectation management, and what projects would be realistic.
“All of our plans are feasible not only within the ability to execute, but also within the budget normally allocated to class councils,” Niklinska said.
Elizabeth Fenton, Louis Bertolotti, Conor Bradley and Shannon Hodges focused their platform on unity and bringing the class of 2017 together for the last two years of their time at Notre Dame.
“This is reflected in our slogan ‘Together, to 2017,’ which we hope conveys the fact that we want to bring everyone together to our telos, or best selves, over the course of our last two years,” Fenton said in an email.
Bertolotti said that the ticket hopes to achieve their goal of class unity through class trips.
“This is a way to bring the class closer together outside of the ‘ND bubble,’ and we think that it could also just be a great time,” Bertolotti said. “First semester, we plan on bringing everyone to the Michigan Dunes for a beach trip, and second semester, should our budget allow, we hope to attend a Cubs, White Sox or Blackhawks game together.
“The plans we will work on first are the networking ones like these where 2017ers will be given the opportunity to get to know each other better.”
Fenton is the current director of National Engagement and Outreach (NEO) and also sits on the Executive Cabinet of Student Government. Bertolotti is the co-director of FUEL and has helped plan events such as the Freshman Networking Fair. Hodges and Bradley both have leadership experience outside of Student Government.
The ticket also wishes to increase cohesiveness within the class of 2017 through signature events, Fenton said.
“The biggest change that we will have to make next year is working with students who are studying abroad,” Fenton said. “We want to ensure that these students will not feel left out of the ND community while they are gone, and we believe that programs which highlight their friends from back home, such as ‘Junior of the Week,’ will help that.
“We also hope to seamlessly integrate them back into the 2017 family when they come back with events that will allow students who did not study abroad learn from the experiences of others who had the opportunity to spend time in another country.”
Greg Perenich, Teresa Simunich, Patrick Rodgers and Helena Qu said they based their platform on three ideas: devotion, authenticity and diversity.
“These three principles are what drive us to serve the Notre Dame Community and the Class of 2018,” Simunich said in an email. “If elected, we would like to show our devotion to our classmates by providing a website tailored to the needs of our class. This website would entail informational links, current news and places where grievances, suggestions or comments could be posted for the betterment of our class.”
Once in office, the ticket’s first priority would be to help its class members better use the resources available to them on campus.
“First, we would like to arrange a fair for pre-professional and pre-medical majors to provide an opportunity for these students to gain insight into their potential careers in the medical field,” Simunich said. “Another top priority of ours is to work in collaboration with different cultural groups on campus (such as Asian American Association, Black Student Association, Latino Student Alliance, etc.) in order create events would to promote class unity and diversity on campus. We also plan to have a Sophomore-specific Study Abroad information night.”
According to Rodgers, none of the ticket members were involved in this year’s Freshman Class Council although they were each involved in student government in their respective high schools.
“We think the fact that we were not involved in Class Council allows us to bring a fresh perspective to the role,” Rodgers said in an email.
JP Bruno, Molly Knapp, Matthew Ross and Henry Long ticket’s agenda focuses on working with the incoming freshman executive board.
“If elected, we would all attend the Freshman Class Council meetings and hold mentorship workshops for the freshmen representatives in order to create a relationship with the future leaders of Notre Dame,” Long said. “We feel that this mentorship would facilitate collaboration between Class Councils and would create a smoother transition for the freshmen as they assume their roles as leaders of their class.”
Long said that he, Bruno and Ross currently serve on the executive board of Freshman Class Council; Bruno serves as president, Long as vice president and Ross as treasurer.
“We have all made extensive contacts within Student Government and the administration at Notre Dame, including Ryan Willerton, the Director of the Office of Community Standards, and Paul Manrique and Peggy Hnatusko in the Student Activities Office,” Long said in an email.
Given their experience on this year’s council, Long said the ticket hopes to increase communication between the Class Council and the class.
“If we are elected, we would focus being accessible to the members of the sophomore class,” Long said. “Open meeting and office hours would provide opportunities for sophomores to discuss concerns, ask questions, and give suggestions for the Sophomore Class Council. Online forms will allow feedback and ideas for events to be shared directly with us.”