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April 13, 2015

Students vote for SGA leaders as school year winds down

By Melanie Morris

It’s that time of the year again for the Student Government Association elections. Voting was held April 6-9 and two candidates ran for president: Emily Halasah with the Students Serving Students party and Paul All with the Student Mobile party.

The elections were held online and students were eligible to vote as long as they were enrolled in classes and had a valid Campusnet ID and password.

Students were able to run for an executive board position but must do so as part of an Executive Board Party, which consists of a president, vice president, treasurer and secretary. The requirements for an executive board position are that the student must be at least sophomore standing, have a semester and cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 and be enrolled as a full-time student.

“You don’t have to be a current member of SGA to run for one of the executive board positions, but having that experience certainly helps,” Marissa Pappas, Board of Elections chair, said.

Halasah and All ran with their “ticket,” otherwise known as their party. Any number of parties can run and members campaign in events such as the Open Forum and the Presidential Debate. In past years, there have been ballot issues, like the U-Pass referendum last year. This year’s issue was the wrestling referendum. Pappas said she and the board are hopeful for a good voter turnout.

Both students running said they hope to see their beliefs come to fruition and care strongly about the students they’d be working for.

Halasah, a junior health science major and business administration minor, is now the secretary of SGA. She has been a part of the organization since her freshman year and first became involved as a senator to represent her class.

Throughout the past three years, she has been involved in a number of projects that she said she’s proud of and hopes to continue this work as president. She’s been involved with the extension of library hours, the reduction of parking citation rates and the moving of course evaluations online.

“I want to help each individual student recognize their power as shareholders in this institution,” Halasah said. “I would like to see SGA address any and all issues that could make this university more student-focused and student friendly.”

All, a junior finance major, is in his first year with SGA and is running because he cares deeply about Cleveland State University and hopes to foster a sense of student community.

All is currently planning the first Major Fair sponsored by SGA, where students can understand the variety of academic options at Cleveland State and add, change or declare a major. He has also advocated that midterm grades be required and internship credits be more valuable, as well as worked to find a prayer room at the university for all faiths.

“I want nothing but the best for the students here,” he said. “There are students who are either afraid or do not know where to voice their concerns and I, along with my ticket, want to be that voice.”

The SGA group for this school year has been committed to advocating for issues on campus, has implemented many programs and has been a part of many events. At the beginning of the year, the organization made a “#FocusedOn50” list to highlight items it wanted to tackle. As of this month, a step has been taken to achieve every item on the list.

SGA worked with Joseph Han, assistant vice president of the Department of Facilities and Safety, to identify ways to make the campus better and more effective for studying. For example, more charging stations and outlets have been installed in convenient locations.

SGA has also created many programs that are extremely beneficial to students. It partnered with athletics to create a discount card for students to use on game days at local places on campus, and designed a Facebook page for students to post when they have extra dining swipes that they’re willing to share with others.

“We represent the student and that is not taken lightly,” Allie Dumski, current SGA president, said.
Dumski is graduating this year after serving three years with SGA. She said she looks forward to using everything she’s learned from SGA in her future and feels like she’s been successful in helping improve the student experience.

Dumski is especially proud of planning the first Homecoming parade in 47 years, establishing traditions on campus through the Viking Traditions book and making advancements on textbooks.

“I have had so many opportunities as SGA president that I wouldn’t have had, ranging from representing my fellow students to professional networking,” she said. “I have made so many friends and met so many people. I have great relationships with many members of our administration and consider many of them mentors.”

Dumski said she encourages other students to get involved with SGA because of the experiences and opportunity to make a difference on campus. She said students interested in joining should be open minded, dedicated and motivated.

Students can run for senate, cabinet and judicial board positions. Students must submit a petition with 64 signatures to apply for a senator position (such as student organization, residence halls and freshman senator positions), and cabinet positions are chosen by the SGA administration in the fall.

“Joining SGA helped me find my passion and guided me toward what I wanted to do as far as a career,” candidate All said. “If an organization like SGA can do that for me, then I am very sure it can for all students.”

Results for Executive Board:

Students Serving Students (Emily Halasah): 697
Student Mobile (Paul All): 613

For full SGA election results, turn to the CSU Board of Elections website.