By Jen Cardone and Jill Power | The Duquesne Duke
For the first time in three years, two full tickets are running for the executive office of the Student Government Association. Elections will take place on Feb. 20 from 8 a.m to 8 p.m. Students can vote on CampusLink, which is accessible through the DORI homepage.
The Spirit Party ticket consists of junior Peter Samson for president, junior Joey Gionvannelli for vice president of Student Life, fifth-year pharmacy student Erica Liska for vice president of communications, junior David Andexler for vice president of academic affairs and fifth-year pharmacy student Attila Mihalik for vice president of finance.
All members of the Spirit Party ticket have been involved with the SGA before the campaign. Mihalik is the current SGA president, while all other candidates are current senators.
The Spirit Party, founded on Jan. 1, and is a play on the Duquesne motto, “It Is The Spirit Who Gives Life.”
“As a party we want to breathe a new life in campus by not only achieving some of the issues and goals we plan to approach, but by trying to bring spirit to Duquesne’s athletics and campus life,” Samson said.
The Spirit Party wants to improve Gumburg Library, the loop bus routes, communication with the Office of Residence Life, building access, campus dining and school spirit.
Mihalik, who oversaw the redesign of the fifth floor of the Gumburg Library during his presidency, suggests that the entire library space be better utilized. The Spirit Party proposes to adjust the seating arrangement to allow more students to work at tables at a time.
“If you adjust the seating, it opens up more tables and is able to seat more people,” Samson said.
Accessibility to power outlets is also an issue many students have voiced in regards to the library. The party intends to address this issue by installing outlets underneath tabletops, similarly to what is already available in the law school.
The Spirit Party also hopes to extend students’ access to campus buildings, such as the Power Center and the library. Mihalik, as the current president, has had access to the school’s budget, and said, “There’s definitely budgeting room for the library and the Power Center [hours] to be extended longer.”
As its name would suggest, the Spirit Party hopes to oversee enhanced school spirit under its administration. The party intends to utilize its relationship with the athletic department to encourage students to attend Duquesne sporting events.
All of the candidates on the Spirit Party ticket are involved in Greek Life, with Mihalik and Samson as brothers of Delta Chi, Andexler a brother of Phi Kappa Theta, Gionvannelli a brother of Sigma Nu and Liska a sister of Omega Zeta Nu.
Issues involving Greek Life, including available rooms for pledging activities, reserved seating in dining halls and encouragement of attendance at sporting events, would be addressed under the Spirit Party administration. According to Samson, the Greeks bring a “spark of enthusiasm” to sporting events, and would thus further improve school spirit.
The Trailblazers Party has a full ticket that consists of senior Hally Ramirez for president, freshman Tyler McCardell for vice president of student life, junior Katherine Hilton for vice president of finance, freshman Matthew Henderson for vice president of academic affairs and freshman Kallie Crawford for vice president of communications.
Ramirez is currently the SGA VP of Student Life and Chair of the Pittsburgh Student Government Council.
The Trailblazers platform, focused on diversity, includes awareness of the recycling program, improvement of Parkhurst Dining, residence halls, collaboration and support of campus organizations, enforcement of the smoking regulations, Loop Bus, cheaper textbooks and school spirit.
Ramirez said the recycling program is sometimes overlooked and students feel there are not enough recycling locations.
The Trailblazers also want SGA to partner with Parkhurst to ensure that students have access to healthy options and solutions to their dietary needs. Ramirez said there were multiple problems with student organizations and catering.
Additionally, they hope to implement an option for takeout boxes at Late Night at Towers.
According to Ramirez and McCardell, they would also like to establish a better relationship with all campus organizations, such as Greek Life for homecoming.
To institute a connection with students, they want to hold Town Hall meetings, bimonthly. This would be an opportunity for students to propose ideas and “serve the community as a whole,” McCardell said.
An additional issue they want to address is the smoking policy. Ramirez said she knows smoking is a personal choice, but it is not for everyone. They would like to ensure that the current smoking policy of being 25 feet away from a building entrance is enforced. They will work with Public Safety and Residence Life.
Cheaper textbooks are another area that they would like to fix by decreasing the price at the bookstore. According to Ramirez, there is a federal requirement that booklists are sent to the bookstore. She said that the sooner booklists are in, the cheaper the textbooks can be. They will work with the deans of the colleges and bookstore to pressure them to have the booklists sent earlier.
McCardell is currently a senator and will utilize his experience serving as president of Freshman Class Council and membership on the State Farm National Youth Advisory Board to strengthen the party’s agenda. He said he wants “open and honest leadership.”
Hilton is also a senator, Finance Committee chair and service chair for Kappa Epsilon.
Henderson is a senator who was an integral part of Night of Lights in December, Ramirez said.
Crawford is currently on the executive board of the Red & Blue Crew and serves as the SGA liaison, plus she is a senator. She interns with the Athletic Department. Crawford runs the Trailblazer’s Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages.