By Stephen Neukam
As elections for Student Government Association (SGA) unfolded last week, some Westminster Choir College (WCC) students found themselves vying for leadership positions on a campus that they do not currently call home.
However, with the consolidation of WCC from Princeton set for September, students from the choir school ran in elections for the Lawrenceville campus. While there were six senate seats open exclusively for WCC students due to legislation passed last fall by the Lawrenceville SGA, students were also able to run in elections for the executive board.
When results were announced, all six of the senate seats had been filled and even more were able to be appointed to leftover seats that colleges around the university were unable to fill. One WCC student, junior musical education major Morgan Cerbone, was elected to the executive board.
Cerbone, who was a part of SGA at the Princeton campus, said that her original plan was to become the student body president at WCC but decided to run for vice president for student affairs in Lawrenceville.
Her election to the position makes her the senior-most figure for WCC in SGA. It is a responsibility she is looking forward to.
“I always wanted to be president of our student body, but now I get to be in a leadership role for Westminster [and also] get to have a leadership role with Rider students and I get to build a brand new rapport with students I haven’t met,” said Cerbone.
Cerbone said that one of the big fears that many WCC students have is that they will not feel included in the Lawrenceville community. She said that she has immediate goals to make the transition as easy as possible, including making sure events and social gatherings take place that make the campus feel like one student body.
At the same time, Cerbone is taking a “big picture” approach and wants to make sure that the culture of WCC is sustainable and enjoyable for a new group of the school’s students.
“I think [the move] will be good at least within a few years because the freshman class coming in, they had all of their auditions and all of their new student days — those have been on the Rider campus so they’re signing up for this,” said Cerbone. “They’re excited about that campus; they’re excited to be a part of Westminster at Rider. Even though a lot of our students have negative thoughts [about] it, I mean it’s sad to say, but sooner or later we’re going to graduate out and then we’re going to have a fresh face for Westminster.”
Cerbone said she was surprised when she won because of the quality of the students she was running against. However, when the results were announced, it was also revealed that around 75% of WCC’s student body cast votes, which accounted for 21% of the total vote.
The vote also lifted freshman sacred musical major Jordan Klotz to one of the six senate positions that were open for WCC students.
Klotz, who is the president of the freshman class in Princeton, said that he felt running for the senate position was the best thing he could do for the school and that SGA was the best venue for WCC students to accomplish what they want to see done in Lawrenceville.
The biggest concern for Klotz is making sure that facilities are in place for the choir students to succeed. Much of the equipment and buildings at the Princeton campus are specialized for choir practices and individual training. While Rider has committed to some investments into infrastructure as part of its $16 million to $20 million consolidation plan, Klotz said those facilities are simply not on campus yet.
“Currently, as we stand, we don’t have those things in Lawrenceville,” said Klotz. “We need to have those things as soon as possible.”
Both Cerbone and Klotz said they were excited to get to work with Student Body President-elect and junior musical theater major Dylan Erdelyi.
Erdelyi, who was instrumental in the legislation to accommodate WCC students into SGA, said that his goal was to make student government the most effective vehicle for students to accomplish their goals on campus.
“With what we have in place right now, I think the structure is going to work quite well,” said Erdelyi. “We have the WCC Transition Committee… and that’s going to be the central place where all of those [WCC] senators and, in addition to them, fine and performing arts senators, where they can all sit down and talk about any problem, big or small, and have that accountability.”