Meet the Candidates: SGA Hosts Q&A with Future Board Members

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The Student Government Association (SGA) met on Monday in the Chamberlain Student Center pit for this year’s “Meet the Candidates” event. The positions up for grabs are the president, vice president and student trustee. The chief financial officer position is also up for election; however, the current board member Fiona Hughes remains uncontested for her position.

Students got a chance to hear from those running, as well as present the candidates with questions. Students have until Friday, March 13 to vote through ProfLink, where additional information on each candidate is provided.

For the presidency, Arielle Gedeon is up for re-election against Ray Wos. Gedeon has been president since last year and became Rowan’s first female African-American SGA President. Wos is a transfer student from Rowan College of South Jersey, where he served as the student body president from 2018-2019.

“I made a promise I would run for two terms, and standing here today, I’m keeping that promise,” Gedeon said. “This is not an easy job to do, and so throughout my first year, I took the time to learn the constitution and bylaws.”

“My main goal is to make sure that there are a lot more opportunities and events for people to go to,” Wos said. “More commuters, more transfers out to things so we are able to see a different environment for them, so they are able to be part of something bigger on this campus.”

For the position of vice president, there were two candidates present to answer questions. Sam Mardini, the sitting assistant vice president (AVP) of academic affairs, is running against Ayala Gedeon, the current SGA secretary. The vice president position has recently expanded its responsibility; they are now responsible for club development.

“Throughout my college career, I’ve only expressed my genuine dedication to the university,” Ayala Gedeon said. “With my past experience as the SGA secretary, I was able to incorporate things above the position, not just the requirements given to me.”

Ayala Gedeon noted her experiences as a first-generation college student and how critical it was for her to delve deeply into Rowan’s community. Her main focus is to get rid of barriers for starting clubs as well as creating community events. She highlighted these ideals with her role as the director of social activities for the Student University Programmers (SUP) and her membership in the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

“I’ve always had a passion for helping students to achieve their extracurricular and academic goals, which is what led to my involvement in the SGA,” Mardini said. “I’ve increased the number of SGA scholarship recipients from ten to twenty. I’ve worked to reduce expenses for Rowan performing arts majors.”

Mardini cited his experience as the vice president of the Financial Management Association, as well. He also said if he’s elected, he will create a detailed guide with training materials for clubs trying to get chartered.

The last position up for election is the alternate student trustee. The winner will serve a two-year term, tasked with giving students a voice to the administration. They meet with the higher-ups at Rowan as the middleman between student’s concerns and administrative action.

Present in the pit for the trustee election were three female students. Sarah McClure is a sophomore international studies and political science dual major with a minor in German studies. Her roles at Rowan include tour ambassador, vice president of the Political Science Club, peer mentor in the Honors College and the founder and leader of the Honors Intro to Dungeons and Dragons group.

“It’s not being the voice of the students,” McClure said. “I’m not there to be your voice. I’m here to channel your voice. Listening to students and meeting them is what’s most important to me.”

Monica Torres is the youngest of the bunch, a freshman computer science major. She is a Leadership Rowan Program assistant, which she says helps her communicate with the student body. As a Puerto Rican woman, she is also the only Latin/Hispanic candidate running for a board position.

“The students want to progress in life and to get what they want,” Torres said. “I think the alternate student trustee should set boundaries and be a role model for students to follow.”

Samantha Bollendorf, a sophomore biomedical engineering major and member of the Bentivoglio Honors College, is the other candidate. She serves on the University Advancement Committee, the Student Committee for Academic Affairs, and the Affordability Task Force.

“The alternative trustee attempts to achieve the mission of the university through financial planning, strategic role planning, and developing it through the legislature,” Bollendorf said. “That’s how I interpret the position, it’s being that place at the table, so what they need is being accurately communicated when the legislature is being put into place.”

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