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SMC student body president and VP candidates present platforms

| Thursday, February 25, 2016

Saint Mary’s students assembled in Noble Family Dining Hall on Wednesday to listen to the platforms of the two student body president and vice president tickets.

Presidential candidate McKenzie Johnson said she and her running mate Barbi Prokup, both juniors, hope to generate more enthusiasm for the services the Student Government Association (SGA) provides for the College.

“We really want to bring back the hype that student government is,” Johnson said. “We want people to be excited, and we want people to understand what we do and why we do it. I want to bring back a celebration of student involvement.”

Johnson said she and Prokup would foster a comfortable environment with open communication.

“We really want to open ourselves up as two individuals leading,” Johnson said. “We want you guys to be able to approach us and tell us what problems and concerns you’re having with anything.”

Johnson said students seeking advice should feel free to consult Johnson and Prokup, who plan to hold open office hours.

“You can come and talk to us and confide in us if you have issues,” Johnson said. “A lot of the time people don’t know who they’re supposed to go to.”

Prokup said the ticket would initiate an anti-bullying program to promote awareness and to ensure students feel safe and happy on campus.

“We really want Saint Mary’s to be a comfortable zone for each and every one of our students,” Prokup said. “What we want to do is create support groups, where if you are experiencing a bully in your life, and you want to have someone to talk to, we want to be there.”

Prokup said she hopes to increase support for student athletes by incorporating them more into SGA. According to Prokup, increasing attendance at games relates to the campaign’s goal of promoting inclusivity on campus, which they would also accomplish through designing a support program with the Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO).

“We want to team with BAVO to create a safe space program that serves as a support group for students facing difficulties,” Prokup said. “People can learn how to help people in their time of need. Whatever you’re going through — whether it’s a death in the family or stress at school — that’s what this program is designed to do.”

Junior SGA presidential candidate Emma McCarthy said her and fellow junior running mate Mary Joy Dingler’s love for Saint Mary’s inspired them to run in the election.

“If you would have asked me three years ago when I came to campus if I ever saw myself in this role, I would have said absolutely not,” McCarthy said. “However, over the past three years, Saint Mary’s has become more than just a school to me. It has become my home. I am inspired everyday by the incredible women who surround me.”

McCarthy said she feels prepared to embrace any challenges that would arise if she were elected.

“I understand the level of commitment that this position calls for, and I am more than willing to answer that call,” McCarthy said. “Being student body president is a huge responsibility and one that I will not take lightly.”

Dingler said she and McCarthy want to inform the Saint Mary’s community of upcoming events by sending out weekly newsletters.

“So many emails get lost in the black holes of our inboxes,” Dingler said. “I think it’s important that we all have an itemized list of what’s happening on campus.”

Dingler and McCarthy also plan to host a week-long celebration for faculty and staff of the College, Dingler said.

“They strive every day to make this campus a better place, and Emma and I believe that often their work goes unnoticed and without recognition,” Dingler said. “In response to that, we really want to plan a thank-you week to show our appreciation.”

The pair also hopes to implement a fall formal to promote bonding between upperclassmen and newer students, according to Dingler. Such an emphasis on community events will encourage a welcoming and non-judgmental campus, Dingler said.

“A home away from home implies that we all have an inherent respect and acceptance for our sisters,” Dingler said. “Emma and I wholeheartedly believe in a community that fosters a vibrant sisterhood that is unbreakable by prejudice or disdain.”

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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.

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