SA e-board elections are ongoing and will conclude Friday at 5 p.m.
Only the vice presidential race is contested, with freshman history and social studies education major Montana Desabio and junior civil engineering major Steven Holguin gunning for the position. Junior civil engineering major Nicholas Singh, who is running for president, and sophomore criminology major Austin Wolfgang, who is running for treasurer, will run unopposed. This is the first time the presidential and treasurer races have been uncontested since 2018.
Students also have the opportunity to keep or remove the mandatory student activity fee for the next two academic years. The fee — totalling $109 per student per semester — funds SA programs and club budgets. The student body voted in September by a nine-point margin to make the fee voluntary.
Current UB students can vote in the e-board election and on the student activity fee referendum on the SA’s website.
The SA announced on April 13 that candidates are not allowed to run as parties, since no one declared party status before the deadline.
The Spectrum has compiled the platforms and qualifications of the four candidates on the ballot who, if elected, would receive annual stipends of $15,750:
Nicholas Singh, junior civil engineering major
Platform: Declined to provide a platform since it “would vary based on the results from the [student activity fee] referendum.”
Qualifications: “Even though I am an engineering major, most of my college career has been geared around student development. I love working with my fellow students in aid of making the ‘college experience’ the best possible.”
Relevant Experiences: Vice president of membership for Phi Theta Kappa at Westchester Community College, WCC student trustee, chair of the WCC Programming and Planning Committee for Student Development, SA Board of Directors member, communication coordinator for the ASCE seismic design team, student engagement ambassador, community assistant, and a “member of numerous executive committee[s] here at UB.”
Supporting vice presidential candidate Steven Holguin.
Montana Desabio, freshman history and social studies education major
Platform: “My platform for VP is to get the undergraduate students involved with what is happening on campus and to have open communication between the students and SA officers. I also want to enhance the student experience which can be done by hosting a diverse set of activities that allow students to feel connected to UB.”
Biggest issue facing students: “The biggest issue for UB Students is that they don't feel as connected to the campus because of... remote learning, and they don't know of the opportunities that there [are] currently. I want to bring more events to UB to make up for what students missed and to get students more aware of the opportunities on campus.”
Qualifications: “I am qualified for SA VP because being someone who understands what it feels like to be disconnected from student activities, I know how to make students feel more involved. I am also open to all sorts of ideas on how to grow as undergraduate students and will welcome ideas from undergraduate students to help improve their experience.”
Relevant experiences: “Since next year I will only be a sophomore, I haven't had a chance to get as involved as I would like to at UB. In high school, I was president of Link Leaders, captain on the Varsity Bowling team and VP of a girl empowerment club called GRL.”
Steven Holguin, junior civil engineering major
Platform: Declined to provide a platform since it “would vary based on the [student activity fee] referendum results.”
Biggest issue facing students: “One of the biggest issues now with COVID is that students aren't able to experience the typical college life. ...The social life aspect is missing. It's important to slowly start rolling out smaller events where students can be social, have fun and not solely focus on academics.”
Qualifications and relevant experiences: “Some relevant experiences that I have for this role are being an orientation leader, a peer transition assistant, and events coordinator for the Latin American Student Association. I have also been featured in a couple of UBAdmissions videos. Doing all these experiences has made me realize I have a passion for working with people and trying to make their experiences one of a kind. I have also gained a lot of leadership skills that will help me prosper as a Vice President.”
Supporting presidential candidate Nicholas Singh.
Austin Wolfgang, sophomore criminology major
Platform: “My first priority will be getting clubs access to their budgets and their materials so they can prepare for our return to campus. Since we will be seeing two student classes having their first exposure to our clubs, making sure clubs are ready to begin hosting meetings and events again is crucial. I also plan to increase the Senate and Council Coordinators supplemental funding budgets so clubs have access to additional funds. Finally, I want to clean up the purchase order system and implement a tracking system. Everyone knows the system is flawed and slow. I will meet with club officers and our other student government leaders to create and implement a more student-friendly system.”
Biggest issue facing students: “The biggest problem facing UB students right now is how the return to campus is handled. Our student government leaders are going to play a huge part in whether we return to where we were pre-pandemic or we incorporate some of what we have learned to make our school better. And I don't just mean in terms of the Student Association; our E-Board will need to advocate for the student body and ensure that the university uses this opportunity to improve.”
Qualifications: “The treasurer not only oversees the budget but is also an elected student advocate. I authored a resolution calling on the university to add wellness days. While the Faculty Senate [Executive] Committee voted against changing our calendar, I was able to get them to email faculty encouraging them to relax some of their policies, and many professors have followed this recommendation. I also have a lot of experience in business and making cost-effective decisions from years of working at my Taekwondo school and helping the owner.”
Relevant experiences: “I currently serve as the Speaker of the Assembly for SA. I am also a member of our Mock Trial, Taekwondo, and College Democrats clubs.”
Natalie Doller, Josh Ferullo and Kiana Hodge contributed to the reporting.
Grant Ashley is an assistant features editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Grant Ashley is the editor in chief of The Spectrum. He's also reported for WBFO, WIVB and The Buffalo News. He enjoys taking long bike rides, baking with his parents’ ingredients and recreating Bob Ross paintings in crayon. He can be found on the platform formerly known as Twitter at @Grantrashley.