Elections for the 2023-24 Student Association (SA) e-board are underway this week.
Six candidates — three running for president, two running for vice president and one running uncontested for treasurer — are on the ballot. That’s down from last year’s nine candidates, but still a more competitive race than 2021’s lightly contested and partyless race.
The candidates shared their platforms and qualifications last Friday at a debate held in the Student Union Theater.
All undergraduate UB students are eligible to vote through the SA’s website. Voting ends at 4 p.m. Friday.
Here’s a look at this year’s candidates:
Ramtel, a freshman computer science major, is running for SA president as an independent candidate.
As an international student from Nepal, Ramtel wants to use his background to help bring more international student representation to the position. Ramtel’s platform involves creating a stronger sense of community on campus through the creation of a multicultural exchange program and world pallet festival, where students can learn about different cultures, indulge in a variety of ethnic foods and showcase the cultural practices of their respective countries.
He also wants to establish a mentor club where bigger organizations can provide newer and smaller clubs with guidance and support, as well as a support hub where clubs can help the local and international communities in times of crisis. Ramtel stressed he kept his platform “realistic” to avoid making any promises he can’t keep.
Becky Paul-Odionhin, a junior industrial engineering major, and Sammi Pang, a junior business administration major, are running for second terms as SA president and vice president, respectively. Paul-Odionhin said they should be reelected because their year in office has given them the experience they need to run the SA.
“Paul&Pang” touted a record of “increased communication” with clubs and said they were “proud” of how they handled problems they’ve inherited from prior administrations, including amending the ticket merchandising policy.
“Clubs have come to us with issues that they’ve experienced in previous years, and still don’t have a solution,” Pang said. “I’m proud of how I said f—k that, let me find you one.” Paul-Odionhin said she is proud of increasing student engagement and keeping undergraduate students in the loop with her frequent email updates. If they are reelected, Paul-Odionhin and Pang say they plan to prioritize student engagement and communication in their next term.
As part of their platform, “Paul&Pang” want to implement mandatory e-board training for new and returning SA employees, which they hope will accelerate the learning process. “Paul&Pang” also wants to add a separate committee for Spring/Fall Fest production because of how much time and money it takes to plan these events.
More of Paul-Odionhin and Pang’s platform can be found here.
Astha Pandey, a junior philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) major is running for SA president alongside her vice presidential running mate, Thomas Dias, a fellow junior PPE major. Pandey is currently an assistant director of equity, diversity and inclusion.
Their party, PanDias, has three main points on their platform: catering to clubs, transforming SA and being better advocates for the undergraduate student body.
As a part of their election campaign, Pandey and Dias say they have been talking to numerous clubs to get feedback on the current SA and what they want to see changed. They also want to incorporate bi-weekly town halls where “anybody can come to contribute ideas, complaints or critiques.”
PanDias encourages students to vote for them because they are “extremely dedicated” to these positions. Neither of them will be involved in other clubs or outside activities, in an effort to fully immerse themselves in the student body.
“We’re going to be entirely dedicated to serving them [the students] and what they want,” Dias said. “The students hire us and it’s our job to serve them.”
More of Pandey and Dias’ platforms can be found here.
Unnati Agarwal, a junior biomedical engineering major, is the sole candidate running for treasurer.
Coming from a family of businessmen, Agarwal believes she is financially literate and capable of implementing changes that will provide students with a better undergraduate experience. She said she plans to shadow the current treasurer, Alana Lesczynski, to ensure that she can get well-adjusted to her role if elected. (Lesczynski, a senior studio art major, will be graduating and is therefore not eligible for reelection.)
Agarwal said she wants to address clubs’ financial concerns, including delayed approvals for programs. Increased fundraising efforts and collaboration initiatives are the main priorities of her platform.
“I want to emphasize that I’m committed to working collaboratively with the rest of the executive board and all clubs to achieve our shared goals,” Agarwal said. “I am a person who can make a difference and who can improve funding that clubs and organizations receive.”
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