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Paradiso, O’Connor named the incoming Saint Mary’s SGA president and vice president for the 2020-2021 academic year

| Monday, February 24, 2020

After three days of campaigning in campus spaces and on various social media platforms, juniors Giavanna Paradiso and Kelsey O’Connor have been named the incoming Saint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA) president and vice president for the 2020-2021 academic year. They will officially take office this summer.

The Office of Student Involvement announced the official election results in a campus-wide email at 11:15 a.m. Friday, after polls closed at 8 a.m. The voting percentages were not disclosed to the student body.

Nola Wallace | The Observer

Giavanna Paradiso, left, and Kelsey O’Connor, right, prioritized empowering student organizations and promoting community in their platform.

“So this was actually fun,” Paradiso said about the moment she learned she and O’Connor had won. “I had my 21st birthday the night before, and Kelsey was calling me and I thought ‘Oh my gosh, why is she calling me right now?’ And she was like, ‘Check your email.’”

Before notifying the entire student body, the Office of Student Involvement officially offered the positions to Paradiso and O’Connor, which they quickly accepted, Paradiso said.

“Then I just screamed at the top of my lungs super loud, and jumped out of bed,” she said. “It was really exciting.”

O’Connor said she immediately called Paradiso upon learning that they had won the office, waking her up with the news.

“The first thing was to go find Giavanna, and she wasn’t answering my calls,” she said. “Honestly, I wasn’t nervous, I was excited to find out and after a long week of doing so much stuff, just being able to meet so many different people on campus, I was just so excited.”

Paradiso and O’Connor beat the opposition ticket, juniors Deirdre Drinkall and Brianna Kinyanjui, in the race for the office.

Drinkall congratulated the winning ticket, and said she was proud of the time and effort she and Kinyanjui put into their own campaign.

“We know Giavanna and Kelsey will do great things in this position,” Drinkall said in an email. “Brianna and I are so proud of the heart and soul we put into this campaign despite many obstacles. We will continue to celebrate the spirit and sisterhood of Saint Mary’s College.”

Kinyanjui said she and Drinkall will continue to serve the College through their involvement in student leadership.

“Deirdre and I are so lucky to have been a part of this election, and we want to wish Giavanna and Kelsey the best of luck in their new positions,” Kinyanjui said in an email. “This is just one stepping stone of the numerous ways that Deirdre and I will continue to advocate for and support the wellbeing of our Saint Mary’s community. We will always advocate for spirit and sisterhood.”

Paradiso expressed her appreciation for Drinkall and Kinyanjui and lauded their passion for the College.

“I think they’re both fabulous women,” she said. “I guess what I would say to them is I hope they still feel involved in the Saint Mary’s community in every way possible, and I think they did a fantastic job, and that they both have very bright futures.”

Before even officially taking office this summer, the incoming SGA president and vice president are already initiating some of their platform goals, Paradiso said. Specifically, Paradiso and O’Connor are starting discussions surrounding the Blinkie trackers and continuing to return Dalloway’s to its original state as a student space.

“For starters, I know that tracking app isn’t going to be easy, so I’m just going to start talking to people about it now,” Paradiso said. “Same thing with Dalloway’s — talking to people about that now.”

In their platform, Paradiso and O’Connor committed to meeting with every club on campus. These conversations are already beginning, Paradiso said.

“Hopefully after spring break we can get some meetings planned,” she said.

Both platforms promised increased transparency and communication between SGA and the student body, suggesting town halls and office hours, as well as social media updates. Paradiso said she will be using her own Instagram to keep students updated in the months until she takes office.

O’Connor thanked the student body, not only for voting, but also for providing ideas for improvements to be made in the remaining months of spring semester.

“A big thank you for everyone that came out and voted,” she said. “And thank you to everyone that took the time to even just get to know us and get to know our platform — that was the greatest thing. So many people gave us so many ideas not even for next year, but this year to work on in SGA, and that was so great.”

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