Julia Rosano | Staff Writer | email@example.com
St. Michael’s students were tasked with placing their votes for elected candidates of the Student Government Association from March 30-31. The positions looking to be filled included class presidents, vice presidents, secretaries, treasurers, student body representatives, senatorial positions and both SGA President and Vice President. Each elected member, aside from the President and Vice President, sit in the Senate and are responsible for approving minutes and voting on important student matters.
KC Onuoha ‘23 was elected President, along with Vice President elect Isabella Saracco ‘23. Onuoha and Saracco are long-time SGA members, with Onuoha being a current member of the executive board and Saracco previously serving as the junior class president.
“They both have lots of energy and I am very excited to work with them next year,” said Kerri Leach, associate dean of students and director of student activities. Leach works closely with the SGA executive board and helps oversee SGA elections, e-board applications and the SGA budget. Though she said she is excited for the incoming President and Vice President, she emphasized how much time and dedication it takes to be in the position.
Onuoha explained that her mission as the new SGA President is to really address equity issues within the community through public engagement.
“One of the possible changes Ella and I are thinking of implementing is moving the SGA meetings from Cheray 101 to Dion,” Onuoha said. “It would be more equitable because currently Cheray 101 has minimal wheelchair accessibility especially during the winter time with the snow.”
Saracco also expressed her desire to increase engagement and student participation on campus. ,
“We also talked about getting the different groups on campus involved in the different things that they already are involved in,” she said. “For example, we need more student athletes on campus to participate in more clubs or student government.”
Saracco emphasized that efforts like these are important to break down social barriers and build a stronger community.
Onuoha and Saracco are expected to tackle a major issue that was raised in the Open Forum on March 22– transparency between the executive board and students.
“ It is hard for me to not say what I meanI don’t embellish things or cut around corners. What I want to do is tell not only the SGA but the student body itself, ‘this is what we are going to do and this is how we will fix things,’”Onuoha said.
Onuoha said she wants student voices to be heard, and she sees herself as a voice for the community.
“…Build back better,” Onuoha said.
Saracco agreed and expressed that not only are they looking to be a voice for the community, but they want the new member of the e-board to do this too.
“We, as the new executive[s], want to have an open conversation and have people that we can trust on our board,” Saracco said. “When we pick our board we are looking for people who are qualified, but also people that have good morals and ethics when performing their jobs.”
An upcoming duty for Onuoha and Saracco will be to review executive board applications, which were due last Friday. Students applied by sending the SGA President-elect two letters of recommendation and a letter of intent stating what position they would like to fill. Executive board positions are the cabinet of the executive officers, and titles include secretary of academics, athletics, community engagement, diversity, equity, and inclusion, finance, student life student policy and two secretaries of programming. The president and vice president along with Associate Dean of Students Megan Ohler oversee the application process and interview potential e-board candidates.
With recent overall school budget cuts the newly appointed e-board members will have to work closely with Onuoha, Saracco and Director of Finance Rob Robinson to allocate funds and help clubs work with their budgets.
Due to these cuts, the SGA budget has been a point of contention among Senate members.
“The SGA budget is historically based on projected student enrollment,” Robinson said. “In the past several years, in part of overall campus budget cutting, we have asked the SGA to take a reduction in the per student amount that we’ve allocated.”
However, Robinson said he and his colleagues have decided that the SGA budget for next year will have the same total dollar amount, despite the fact that enrollment for next year’s incoming class is projected to be lower next year.
Onuoha and Saracco said they look forward to strengthening the SGA’s relationship with administration and help clubs rebuild engagement in the aftermath of Covid.
“I am really excited. One thing that will make us a really good team is we are both not afraid to speak our minds and we have already developed a really strong relationship,” Saracco said.