Meet the candidates: President
Spirit presidential candidate Nick Johns. Alexa Strudler /// The Spectrum
Forward presidential candidate Carson Ciggia. Alexa Strudler /// The Spectrum
The president shall serve as the chief executive officer of the Student Association and has the ultimate responsibility for the enforcement of the constitution and bylaws of SA. He or she also serves as the official representative of SA, both inside and outside of the UB community.
Name: Nick Johns
Major: Political science and business
Current SA position: Treasurer of mock trial and SA senator
Extracurricular activities/relevant experience: Intern at Micro Automated Systems Group, legal researcher at Sub Board, Inc., pledging Delta Sigma Pi Fraternity, College Democrats member, Bangladeshi SA member
Nicks Johns walked in to speak to The Spectrum editorial board with dirt caked onto his flag-football uniform. He was fresh off a game with the fraternity he is pledging amidst election season.
"I get my hands dirty," Johns said. "I'm ready to get down in the trenches and figure out what needs to be done. I'm not going to sit on a pedestal; I'm trying to live the college life."
He said only someone immersed in "the college life" can understand the college experience. He thinks one of his greatest qualifications is that he lives on campus, which gives him "a better connection to students and what they want, what they need and what they're interested in."
Johns would give the present e-board a grade of "C," citing his main concern with President Travis Nemmer is he isn't in the office enough. If elected, Johns plans on establishing "coordinated office hours" so his e-board is in the office at the same time. This plays into the "efficiency" part of Spirit's "TIE" plan (transparency, inclusiveness and efficiency).
Johns' biggest plan for his possible office is re-hauling the SA website to improve transparency and communication with students.
He stressed the importance of his e-board running like a unit, something he doesn't feel the current e-board manages well. Vice President Adam Zimnicki is never in the office, and Nemmer and Treasurer Justin Neuwirt "clash all the time," according to Johns. He emphasized "communication is key," and that is something he will implement.
While some may point to Johns being a sophomore as a disadvantage, he said it serves as ammunition to prove them wrong. He said he is focused on college right now and that "senioritis is a real thing" and something he won't have next year.
"I'm not going to be looking out the doors of the university into the 'real world,'" Johns said. "I'm still looking at college and being in college."
Name: Carson Ciggia
Current SA position: Academic coordinator
Extracurricular activities/relevant experience: Founder of UBiz, teaching assistant for accounting, runs small mobile automotive detailing business, Singapore SA member, Circle K member, UB Conservatives member, campaigned for Chris Collins for Congress, UB Citizen's Police Academy member
At the beginning of the year, Carson Ciggia went into President Travis Nemmer's office and said, "One day, Travis, I'm going to have that chair."
The Clarence native said he wasn't trying to be cocky or condescending - he wants to impact more students than he currently does as academic club coordinator. He wants to advance SA toward "the greater good."
He would give the current e-board a "C" and said Nemmer's relationship with the average student "isn't that good."
The presidential candidate said his experiences creating a club, being on its e-board and being on the other side of clubs as a coordinator let him see things from all angles.
Ciggia wants students to know he will fight for them, something he said is apparent by his involvement in last semester's drama with Student Life and its pending involvement in clubs.
"I didn't want Student life to reign down on us," Ciggia said. "I want to stress I have a good relationship with administration, but I want to stress that relationship does not mean for them to take over the reins. It actually means for them to give us more control because they should see we're mature adults."
Ciggia stressed the connections he has forged with not only administration but community officials, as well.
He said in the past year, he has had meetings with Mayor Byron Brown and the Erie County sheriff. He said he has put things into motion and hopes students give him the opportunity to continue with his efforts as president.
Ciggia's platform emphasizes the importance of student safety on South Campus; he wants to see a decrease in crime.
He said his past in "community involvement and being involved in real-world politics is really important." He plans to transition what he learned from working for Congressman Chris Collins into SA, if elected.
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