Student Association elections, which were postponed from March 24 to March 26 due to COVID, are taking place online today through September 16.
The vote was postponed due to a mandate put in place by the SUNY Board of Trustees.
Students can vote for members of the Executive Board, which includes president, vice-president and treasurer, and on if they want to keep the student activity fee, which is $109 per student per year. The fees total close to $4 million and are administered by the students on the executive board.
The fees pay for student events, including fall and spring fests, club activities, services and campus events put on by SA.
The vote on student fees occurs every two years. With most students living off-campus, some students have questioned the need for a fee this year. Other students and members of the current SA insist the fees are necessary for student life and to create programming that brings students together, particularly amid a crisis like COVID.
The Executive Board organizes the events, allocates the money to clubs and puts on both festivals. They also serve as advocates for UB undergraduates.
The Spectrum compiled a list of the plans of the three parties running in the election and the two independent candidates and one party member running for treasurer.
The “Dreem Team” party
President- Ghuzlan Alhaddad
Vice President- Abdifatah Ahmed
- Promote clubs by talking to them and listening to their grievances
- Replicate this year’s three fall fest concerts and one spring fest concert
- Advocate for “bigger names” in the Distinguished Speakers Series
- Advocate to host a second job fair during the fall semester as well as other “networking opportunities”
- Create more “leadership positions” on campus
- Promote diversity by having an “open-door policy” and listening to student input
- Promote off-campus “shadowing programs” for students
- Have in-person voting for future SA elections
The “HERstory” party
President- Adolyn Cofie
Vice President- Alyssa Palacios
Treasurer- Sayan Trotman
- “Continue to enhance the student experience outside of the classroom”
- Advocate to make the UB curriculum’s diversity requirement “more centered around students becoming more culturally competent”
- Advocate to re-implement the UB safety shuttle to transport intoxicated students home
- “Use SA as a resource” to educate students about financial resources, mental health resources and self-help programs at UB
- Expand free menstrual products to all campus bathrooms and create more gender-neutral public bathrooms
- Partner with departments like UB Athletics, the Intercultural Diversity Center, University Tickets and Blackstone LaunchPad to “advance where SA lacks in student life.”
- Return to a single-concert fest format, which it says will save SA money that can be used for more SA events.
- Keep clubs that are on probation for the Spring 2020 semester on probation during the Fall 2020 semester until they “reach certain requirements.”
- Advocate to use both online and in-person voting in future SA elections.
President- Zack Graham
Vice President- Netra Mittal
- “R:” Raising club budgets
- Expand programming and community service opportunities to give clubs access to rollover money from cancelled events this semester
- “I:” Inclusivity and outreach
- Reach out to student communities when making policy decisions
- Implement an “interest form” for incoming students
- “S:” Student advocacy
- “Push” the administration to invest more “in things like mental health”
- Create “an online booking service” for mental health services
- Advocate for the increase in counselors on campus
- Implement a system where students can submit anonymous grievances about SA or the UB administration
- “Encourage” Campus Dining and Shops workers to “form a strong worker union”
- “Put pressure” on the administration and the UB Foundation to be “more financially transparent”
- Advocate for more faculty and staff diversity
- “E:” Environmentally conscious
- Promote divestment events to urge the UB Foundation to “divest” from alleged fossil fuel investments within a five-year period
- Advocate for “proper” recycling facilities in campus residencies.
- Promote UB’s Climate Action Plan (included in UB 2020)
- Advocate for Campus Dining and Shops to shift away from plastic usage
- Have a one-concert fest format
- Increase comedy shows to “four or five” per year
- Shift to online voting for SA elections
“HERstory” Sayan Trotman
- Implement policies that improve ecological sustainability
- such as working with Campus Dining to switch to boxes, sauce cups, straws, and removing all soft plastic bags.
- Reduce waste on a campus
- Appoint an Environmental Affairs representative
- Installation of wheelchair accessible tables in every classroom
- required routine examinations of wheelchair accessible buttons to ensure they are working and required wheelchair accessible button for every wheelchair accessible stall in every bathroom.
- work with counseling services to create a safer and more logical way for students to access the resources they need.
- Create a space for students to book and cancel appointments for anonymous online counseling
- Increasing the number of counselors, especially those of color
- Find a way to educate students on the resources available to them (through orientation programs and transfer student seminars).
- Rebuild Mental Mental Health Awareness Week.
- Offering fresh new ideas such as advocating for professors to have at least one “mental health” day during the semester.
- Have SA host QPR Training events that students can voluntarily attend.
- Promote financial transparency
- Break down the SA budget on the SA website
- Promote financial literacy and advocacy workshops for students
- Communicate with the student body by holding open office hours and attending club and council meetings
- Place clubs in one of “three to five” brackets which are determined by their starting budget and then modify club rollovers and fines according to their bracket
- Increase opportunities for club volunteering and events “especially to gain money”
- Advocate for monthly town hall meetings for e-board members
- Advocate to ensure SA uses its delegate appointments to “represent UB as a whole”
- Advocate to return to a single-concert fest format
- Recommend a second comedy series in the fall semester
- Use the excess money from cancelling this semester’s remaining SA events to “bolster” clubs and events next semester
- Advocate to create the BOD Finance Committee in the fall semester, rather than the spring semester
- Set up a framework where clubs can allocate money to use for “emergencies”
- Increase transparency about how SA can maximize its budget
- Promote diversity and equality among SA clubs
- Raise awareness of clubs and how SA works
- Implement a plan to ensure students gain awareness about SA and resources available to them through UB during their freshman year
- Make sure clubs don’t face financial problems because of this semester’s cancelled SA events and activities
- Advocate to return to a single-concert fest format
- Advocate to continue the online voting system
Julian Roberts-Grmela is a senior news editor for The Spectrum and an English and philosophy major. His favorite book is “White Teeth” by Zadie Smith and he hopes that one day his writing will be as good as hers.
Alexandra Moyen is the senior features editor of The Spectrum.