As the term for the current Student Government office holders comes to an end, it is time for new beginnings and fresh faces. The Student Government Winter 2021 Elections were a time of excitement and positive change on our campus. The first sector of the Student Government Association that was open for students to run for office was the Student Events Board. The board is the largest programming organization on campus, planning events such as Family Weekend, SienaFest, and all of the Thursday evening events. The second sector open for candidacy was the Student Senate, which is the largest governing body for Siena students. The Student Senate implements change on campus through the voices of students while collaborating with administrators and other individuals in positions of power. The Commuter Student Association was another branch of the student government that was looking for potential student candidates. The association advocates for commuters and gives them a chance to involve themselves on campus, both by giving them a voice and offering them programming to participate in. Lastly, all of the Class Councils were up for election. The job of these organizations is to unite their classes and represent them as a vital part of the Siena community.
The first step in the election process for candidates was to obtain petitions. The Elections Packet that contained the petitions went live on SAINTSConnect on Oct. 21. All candidates had a required number of signatures that they needed to obtain to have their name placed on the ballot. The Student Events Board and Student Senate both required candidates to receive 200 signatures from any member of the student body. The Commuter Student Association candidates needed 100 signatures from only commuters, and the Classes of 2023, 2024, and 2025 each required 100 signatures from students in their respective classes. There was one exception within the Student Senate, which was the position of Senator at Large, requiring 100 signatures from the general student body. All of these petitions were due at 7 p.m. on Nov. 7. All candidates worked hard, approaching students in Casey’s, knocking on the dorm hall doors, and flagging down students traveling to classes to obtain their signatures. Commuter Student Association Vice President candidate and winner, Azka Hasan, while reflecting on the process, stated, “The petitioning process was an essential part of the SGA Elections that provided me with the opportunity to gain meaningful support and make connections with fellow commuters at Siena.” The Elections Committee, which was made up of student events President, Riley Hall, Student Senate President, Sami DeRagon, and commuter student President, Lily Wang, reviewed the petitions once submitted.
After all potential candidates submitted their petitions, they were notified via email if they were approved to continue moving forward with the election process. While, unfortunately, some were not, many were. The official candidates gathered on Nov. 9 for a Mandatory Candidates Meeting. I was a candidate for the position of Student Events Board Secretary, so I can reflect on my experience at this meeting. All of the candidates were extremely excited that our hard work petitioning had paid off! We enjoyed pizza and buffalo dip together and learned about our next steps. Riley, Sami, and Lily explained that we should begin writing our speeches for Speech Night on Nov. 16. We discussed the rules of campaigning, which required each candidate to place a campaign flyer in the Sarazen Student Union.
All candidates placed striking flyers in the Sarazen Student Union just in time for Speech Night. The candidates dressed professionally and were eager to deliver the 2-5 minute speeches that they prepared. There was a great supporter turnout, and as a candidate myself, I can confidently state that it meant a lot having the backing of the student body. Election Day arrived on Nov. 18 and all voting took place on SAINTSConnect between 12 a.m. and 6 p.m. The candidates also posted on social media to market themselves to their fellow students. Every candidate received a phone call that evening and was allowed to formally share the good news with their friends and family once the office of Student Activities and Leadership Development announced the results.
I would like to offer congratulations to all of the new members of the Student Government Association in each respective branch. After having the opportunity to work with everyone during the election process, I know the Siena Saints are in the hands of strong leaders who will provide us with great support and unity over the next year.