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Thursday, August 11, 2022
The independent student publication of The Unversity at Buffalo, since 1950

"Senate, SUNY SA Elections Open This Week"


Twelve seats on the Student Association Senate are up for grabs this semester, and 23 candidates will compete for them during the elections Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In addition, SA Assemblyman Matt Albright will face off against SUNY Trustee George Pape in a race for the open seat on UB's SUNY State Assembly Delegation.

Fifteen students are competing for six on-campus senate seats, while nine are running for the six off-campus seats. This semester, three parties are vying for office: the Edge Party; Transformers; and the Dream Team. Michael Stewart, Andrew Lee and Albright are running as independents.


The Edge Party

The largest ticket on the ballot is The Edge Party, consisting of SUNY SA Delegates Anthony Burgio, Yesenia Diaz and Katie Walsh; on-campus candidates R. Michael Goggin, Kristin Swanson and Adam Baviford; and off-campus candidates Lynn Kwon, Sara E. Nye, Kimberly Sweet, Leonard V. Vistinesky and Mark A. Zambito.

According to Burgio, the Edge Party has the "best campaign" and offers the "best options for students" because they have candidates who are experienced in working with the senate and understanding of clubs, as well as newer students who can offer original ideas.

"We're presenting nearly a full ticket, and that ticket is representative of what an effective senate should consist of, which would be fresh insight, experience and club dedication," said Burgio.

Walsh said the party would ensure that senate proceedings "run smoothly" and that funds are delegated fairly. Each year, a surplus in the SA budget provides the senate an opportunity to distribute $10,000 extra in emergency funding to clubs.

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This year, the senate has $25,000 on reserve, and Walsh would like to work toward having more emergency funding toward the end of the year, when clubs tend to need it the most.

Sweet, a freshman undecided major, said running for the senate is a "good opportunity to give back to the school." She believes she is a qualified candidate because she is "intelligent and motivated," and will work hard to see students get the services they want.

Sweet described the senate as "effective" and said the legislative body "controls the budget well."

"It's very important that clubs are adequately represented," said Diaz.

Neither Burgio, Diaz nor Walsh believe their positions as SUNY SA delegates would interfere with their duties as senators, and all think they would have enough time for both organizations.

"I think I've gotten to a point where I am able to manage my time effectively," Burgio said. "SUNY SA keeps you busy and so does school, but I think the past year's worth of experience has definitely prepared me to take this on."

Walsh and Diaz said most of the work they do for SUNY SA is accomplished during the weekends.

"We have to devote entire weekends to (SUNY SA) and then some day time, but senate is an 'after-school activity,' if you will, because it take place evenings and we'll spend a couple hours at night time hashing out the stuff," said Walsh.

Burgio, Diaz and Walsh ran for their SUNY SA delegations on the Results Party ticket, consisting of current SA President Christian Oliver, Vice President Jennifer Brace, and Treasurer Naazli Ahmed.

Diaz said this will not cause a conflict of interest because SUNY SA is a separate body from the SA, that she is "very impartial" and that the senate is an important part of the system of checks and balances.

"If someone or something is going wrong, I will say something about it," Diaz said. "It's not going to affect me any way, shape, or form if (the executive board) get(s) mad at me."

Goggin said his party would also like to "reward good clubs who work hard, do a lot of community service and fundraising," but may have unforeseen expenses with which they need fiscal assistance later on in the year.


Transformers

Members of the Transformers party - Vicki Boone, Adam "AJ" Haney, Andrew Michaeloff, Stefanie Pirwitz, Urvish Tamakuwala and Daniel T. Hall - are all running for on-campus senate seats and are currently serving positions on the Residence Hall Association.

Boone, who was voted RHA "Senator of the Year," said her party will advocate students' rights and wants to make the senate more accessible to students.

"We're very in touch with residents at UB," Boone said. "We have experience in how to act at a senate meeting and wouldn't be walking in blinded."

Before she decided to run for the senate office, Boone said she thought that if students "weren't in the clique in SA" they were "kind of alienated." She said that because her party has not been in SA, they have "great ideas and are very energetic."

"We're eager to learn the inner workings of SA," Boone said. "I'm very welcome in (the SA office) if I have questions, and I'm not afraid to ask."

Tamakuwala, who was an orientation aide over the summer, does not view his lack of involvement SA as a weakness, but rather a possible strength.

"We would bring a fresh breeze into SA if we get elected," said Tamakuwala.

"We want the students to have a say in what our money goes to and provide better quality services," said Michaeloff.

Boone said they named their party Transformers, because, as the slogan of the popular 1980s cartoon said, the party has "more than meets the eye."

"In reality, we do a lot more for UB than people realize," she said. "I do it because I love what I do. That's enough recognition for me."


The Dream Team

On-campus candidates Christopher Gervaise, Gregory Haynes, Nevin Murchie and Adam Sherlip, and off-campus candidate Adam Waitzman, are running on a platform of "quality representation, information, and showing dedication in the UB community," according to Haynes, who served as an SA senator last year.

Haynes said his party is committed, would be active members of the senate, and would not "idle the time away."

"We're the only ones out there handing out fliers, we have ads in Generation, we've submitted stuff to the Web page, (we have) a banner hanging down," he said. "That's reflective of how much we want this position and how dedicated we are to getting it."

This year, Haynes would like to push for a more "thorough" review of line-transfers before budget meetings.

Sherlip said he learned in high school that "getting involved is enjoyable, and I also learned to get involved early." He believes he is a qualified candidate because he has "character and dignity," a "different perspective," is "easy going" and "likes to have fun."

"People think I'm genuine, and I am genuine," said Sherlip. "I do what seems right and work from there."

Both Haynes and Sherlip said their party is unique because they all come from a variety of backgrounds. Waitzman served as a member of the SA Assembly, Gervaise is president of the men's hockey team, and Sherlip is treasurer of the Richmond Hall Council.

"For five guys we couldn't be any more different," Sherlip said. "We have different perspectives, so you don't have a machine that goes for one issue."

Sherlip said that even though his party only consists of five candidates, they could accomplish a great deal.

"As long as we stay together, we can get things done," he said.


Independent

Michael Stewart and Andrew Lee are running as independent candidates for the SA Senate. Despite several attempts by The Spectrum, Lee could not be reached to comment.

"I would like to help make a difference," said Stewart. " I know how hard clubs work. I know it enough to run for a position."

Stewart said he has hands-on experience with the senate as a proxy and as president of club baseball. He said he is pleased with SA's encouragement of community service and fund-raising endeavors.

"They're keeping us informed, which is really good," said Stewart.

As a peer mentor and UB Student Admission and Recruitment Specialist (UB STAR), Stewart said he has a "good knowledge of students." He would also like to get involved with clubs unrelated to sports to broaden his perspective of club needs.


SUNY SA

SUNY SA, formerly known as the New York State Student Assembly (NYSSA), is a representative body consisting of students who lobby in the interests of their constituents regarding educational policy or SUNY-related legislation.

While SUNY SA elections are typically held at the same time as the SA e-board elections, a fourth elected seat was recently allotted to UB by SUNY.

Edge party candidate Pape is already president of SUNY SA and as such is a member of the SUNY Board of Trustees. Despite repeated attempts, Pape could not be reached to comment.

Albright served as member of the SA Elections and Credentials Committee, SA Assembly, and is president of Leaders SA. He said he would like to improve the visibility of SUNY SA among the student body.

Albright said he would lobby against Gov. George Pataki's "bare bones" SUNY budget, as well as increasing the Tuition Assistance Program, Educational Opportunity Program and voter registration.

"The odds are still not in my favor, but I'm going to hope for the best, come election day," he said.




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