SGA to host spring elections at end of week


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A Student Government Association meeting in spring 2020.

By Adri Pray and Maddie Barron

Candidates for the 2023-24 Student Government Association have spent weeks marketing their campaigns to the Emerson community, who will choose their representatives between April 6-8 through electronic voting on EmConnect.

Of the 26 candidates vying for spots in SGA’s internal affairs, the academic senate, student experience senate, and class councils, 18 positions remain to be filled.

Executive Board

Three candidates are competing for the executive president position, which will be vacated by its year-long incumbent, senior data science and economics major Pranit Chand.

First-year visual and media arts major Nandan Nair is running for the presidency on a joint ticket with fellow first-year interdisciplinary major Juwaria Jama. Jama is running to replace sitting executive vice president and senior VMA major Neiko Pittman.

“[Jama and I] want to try to understand the community as a whole and try to come together with effective collaboration, effective communication, and ultimately create change that lasts beyond just our campaign or our presidency,” Nair said in an interview with the Beacon.

Nair and Jama worked alongside Chand and Pittman as their respective executive assistants this academic year and hope to use the lessons they’ve learned from their first year at Emerson to champion three key principles going into their joint campaign: collaboration, community, and change.

“Something that Nandan had been talking about is looking at the SGA Impact Fund and figuring out what resources we can distribute to students,” Jama said. “We know that tuition continues to go up every single year, but our financial aid doesn’t go up, and with so many students coming here on scholarship, we are trying to do our best to support them.”

Charlize Silvestrino, the incumbent department senator for VMA, is also running for the executive presidency. For her ticket, the sophomore partnered with vice presidential candidate Arienne Dinh, a junior writing, literature, and publishing major and current executive secretary.

Silvestrino and Dinh have made accountability an integral part of their campaign. Having been in conversation with sitting SGA executives and committee members, they have touted their firsthand experience of how students in different departments interact with both each other and the campus as a whole. Their platform aims to promote accessibility to officers and unite students from all majors to foster a more inclusive community.

“We also want to focus our administration on change that everyone else wants to see, like hearing ideas from everybody, not only including the SGA members for our community to make the changes they want to see because in the end, we are serving them,” Silvestrino said.

Beyond SGA, both candidates are involved in various on-campus leadership positions within their majors that Dinh believes are imperative in shaping their platform.

“What matters to us is that we are providing a space for other student leaders on this campus to make changes that are most important to them because I review that as how we as a school, and as an organization, can get the most done,” Dinh said.

Sam Osmon is also running for the executive presidency; he could not be reached for comment.

Academic Senate

First-year political communications major Monica Rivera Sosa is running against sophomore political communications major Peyton Benbow for political communications senator. 

Sosa said her platform centers around diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts within the major to inspire unity among students. 

“I care more than I’ve ever cared about anything else and I had the choice not to care,” she said. “I could have stayed in Puerto Rico, and I could have gone to a different communication school, but I chose to come to Emerson because I knew the opportunities that it could give me, and I just don’t see anybody else standing up for the same things.”

In addition to that candidacy, Sosa is running unopposed for communication studies senator.

Benbow did not respond to the Beacon’s request for comment.

Sophomore business of creative enterprises major Cameron McLean, first-year interdisciplinary major Fiona Brown, and junior marketing communications major Jacqueline Cahill are all running for academic senate in their respective majors unopposed and did not respond to the Beacon’s request for comment. 

Sophomore VMA major Sadie Swayze and sophomore WLP major Nina Powers are both running unopposed for senator in their respective majors. They both hope to promote more community amongst students of all class levels within their majors. 

Class Council

Angus Abercrombie, a first-year political communications major, is mounting a re-election campaign for the post of Class of 2026 president, after serving as class president for this academic year. 

Abercrombie said he hopes to keep the momentum of his administration. His current priorities include free menstrual products on campus, bigger shower curtains in communal bathrooms, and the holding of frequent Town Hall meetings to hear from the student body. 

“We want to set up events that people are going to show up [to] and…just listen to what this class wants and make sure that we are fulfilling what they want,” he said. 

He is opposed by first-year BCE and theater education major Lauren Wiedenmann. She has experience in policy and outreach, receiving a fellowship in highschool with New Voters at Harvard and performing at the United Nations Women for Peace Association. 

Wiedemann’s platform includes opening SGA meetings to all Emersonians, creating a Student Involvement Board for Emersonians to input their ideas for student events and goals, and planning both a blood drive and a class prom. 

“I want to ensure that every student knows they have a support system,” she said. “And that their voices are heard.” 

Sofia Attaway and Heidi Garmise are running as co-presidents for the class of 2025. Attaway is a WLP major who is spending the spring 2023 at Kasteel Well, and Garmise is a VMA major who is currently serving as 2025 class president. 

Their campaign’s slogan, “Revive ‘25,” reflects their shared hopes of increasing community outreach. Garmise said, as co-presidents, the two are hoping to hold fun events that bring Emerson students together. 

“I want to help be the person who makes those [community building] opportunities for other people,” Garmise said. 

Mimi van Dyke, sophomore VMA major, is running for president against Attaway and Garmise. Viralika Arora, a first-year VMA student, is running as a write-in candidate for vice president of 2026 against Ruhan Arora, a first-year VMA student. Not all candidates responded to the Beacon’s request for comment.