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President — Michael Wuest
This choice was by far the most difficult. Jermel McClure, Jr.’s platform consisted of concrete ideas that were either unoriginal, already underway within the Student Association (SA) administration or relatively unrealistic. Wuest presented a platform that failed to identify many specific initiatives. Our endorsement pivoted on whether we wanted a president with an underwhelming platform or a president without an obviously defined one.
That being said, we are confidently endorsing Wuest. His experience working with University administration shows that he is prepared to negotiate and collaborate, skills that will serve him well while acting as the CEO of OCCT and sitting on the board of Harpur’s Ferry. And as a publication that repeatedly pushes for student involvement locally, we were thrilled to hear his intentions to bridge the gap between the University and the city of Binghamton.
Furthermore, we were undeniably impressed with Wuest’s ideas to expand mental health counseling support. McClure said he is working with the University Counseling Center to increase services, but the reality is that their resource allocation is not within SA control. Wuest offered a creative plan that tapped into SA resources, such as the High Hopes Helpline, as well as local initiatives to support students.
And finally, Wuest seems prepared to lead campus in an increasingly tumultuous political climate. Wuest said he would respect varied viewpoints while also having zero tolerance for hatred and bigotry among students, which proves that he would stand by the student body without silencing controversial voices on campus.
Executive Vice President — Glenn Avisado
Although Avisado is running unopposed, we are positive that he is the man for the job. As a current project manager for the Student Association President, he has experience in the organization and is familiar with its ins and outs.
Avisado wants to provide increased guidance from the EVP office in order to decrease the adjustment period for the executive boards of student organizations at the beginning of the school year, which undoubtedly an issue for the SA’s almost 300 student groups. He also wants to take a more hands-on approach with clubs applying for SA charters.
Another goal of Avisado’s is ensuring that the SA’s five businesses — SA Ink, Binghamton Sound, Stage and Lighting, ESCAPE, the Food Co-op and the Art Co-op — have the resources to expand their services. He suggested that the Food Co-op could offer a wider array of snack foods in addition to the lunches it currently provides. His plan includes providing credit card readers on a trial basis, which would be an efficient payment method that’s not cash or BUC$.
Vice President for Finance — Rebecca Ho
Rebecca Ho demonstrates a nuanced understanding of the needs of the VPF office. Her plans to transition some of the financial forms online and make the treasurer’s exam automatically graded would make the SA office and student organizations more efficient. She also proposed creating financial advisers to aid struggling organizations and creating an “idea pool” to help groups fund each others’ events and projects.
Ho explained a plan to allow groups to use an SA debit card for large, pre-approved purchases. This would take a large burden off of groups that travel or buy expensive equipment. Her ideas are realistically attainable and fit in well with where the VPF office needs growth, especially with respect to modernization. We’re confident that an VPF office under Ho would thrive.
Ho’s opponent, Serena Tesler, showed a lack of understanding of some vital functions of the office she hopes to occupy. Although Tesler has plenty of experience on financial bodies at the University, it did not translate into her platform. Her proposal for an online voucher system may sound good, but it would be impossible to implement due to the necessity of submitting physical receipts. Even suggesting this move underscores her lack of understanding of the complexities of the SA, the University and satisfying basic audit procedures required when using state money. Additionally, she wants to hold monthly financial meetings with every single student organization, something that would be an unfeasible and wasteful use of time and resources for both the VPF office and student groups. We are concerned that Tesler’s election actually would be detrimental to the SA’s ability to function as an organization.
Vice President for Academic Affairs — Raul Cepin
Cepin is the current SA VPAA, and has spent much of his time in office this year organizing and creating a stable foundation. Coming into an office in transition and turmoil, Cepin did a commendable job of setting himself up for success for his role going forward.
His platform included promoting interdisciplinary learning, growing mental health resources and providing options for students facing food insecurity. He said he plans to continue working with other members of the SA E-Board on the SA Spotlight series, and also keep up with the SA Advocates program. He seemed very in touch with students’ needs academically, while also paying attention to supportive services necessary for successful learning.
Vice President for Multicultural Affairs — Joshua Gonzalez
Joshua Gonzalez has the connections, capability and experience to further the conversations started this year by McClure. Additionally, he intends to promote a culture of unity and collaboration throughout campus by promoting diversity in BU’s tour guide program and a diversity leadership conference aimed to foster alumni connections.
Gonzalez also has solid ideas concerning the proposed Black Umbrella Organization, with years of experience pursuing the initiative and a full understanding of the opportunities and conflicts that it may present.
While Eric Lee presented a well-intentioned platform for improving conditions for multicultural organizations on campus, it lacks the social tact and nuance necessary for accomplishing the duties of VPMA. Between Gonzalez’s existing ties with the SA Financial Council and with numerous multicultural organizations, he showed the savvy to be able to successfully navigate this delicate position.
VPP — Elizabeth Aliberti, but …
We’re endorsing Aliberti, but with plenty of reservations. She is currently serving as the festival chair for the SAPB, but we felt she lacked a solid grasp on the position she is running for. Much of the job involves the programming of SA groups, and when asked about what events she had attended, she couldn’t come up with any hosted by a student organization.
We appreciated her plan to continue Max Maurice’s record-keeping efforts, but the rest of her platform was underwhelming. Enhancing accessibility to SAPB as an organization isn’t a bad thing, but it’s definitely not the most important job of the VPP. Additionally, Aliberti wanted to increase involvement within the organization itself. Again, this idea is nice, but we’d have liked to have seen more.
Aliberti is uncontested in this election, but only because of a clause in the SA’s constitution that disqualifies non-SAPB members from running against members. As a candidate she is just fine, but we really would like to have heard other options.