By Katie Zeck
Junior music education major Anna Friars was elected the new 2011-2012 Westminster Choir College (WCC) Student Government Association (SGA) president on Monday, after holding the position of SGA vice president for the current academic year.
Junior Daniel Halbstein was elected vice president, graduate student Daniel Elder as secretary and junior Sarah Scully as treasurer.
Students on the Westminster campus voted throughout the day on Monday for the SGA executive board positions. The exact number of voters was not available. However, WCC SGA advisor Mare Somaine said that the turnout was not much different from past years. Winners of the elections were announced later that evening.
Collectively, the four new board members said they have plans for change and enhancement of the college’s overall academic and performance-related goals.
Similar to the objectives of recently elected Lawrenceville campus SGA president Brian Williams, one of Friars’ main priorities will be to better connect the two campuses.
“We accomplished a lot this year in terms of improving cross-campus communications and I am looking forward to seeing those accomplishments expand and grow with the help of SGA President Brian Williams who I am very excited to work with,” Friars said.
In order to achieve this goal, Friars and her newly expanded president’s cabinet will work toward instituting a new position entitled the Lawrenceville Relations Liaison. The appointed individual will work with the executive board in keeping open lines of communication between the two campuses.
Additionally, she said she looks forward to operating under the proposed joint campus constitution and bylaws that both SGAs are looking to establish.
“I am looking forward to creating a flawless transition from one set of governing documents to a new one,” she said.
Friars also plans to increase the number of both graduate and undergraduate students involved in the WCC SGA.
“I am particularly interested in increasing graduate student involvement since they actually pay into the student activities fund on our campus,” she said. “By the nature of our school undergraduate and graduate students interact more than most schools and I am passionate about getting them more involved in SGA.”
This past year, the WCC SGA executive board has tried get the students more involved in the decisions of the student government. Forums were introduced as a way for both undergraduate and graduate students to provide anonymous feedback on candidates for faculty positions on campus. Friars plans on continuing this trend.
“This has allowed for much more ‘safe’ feedback from students to faculty members on serch committees who are trying to hire new faculty members,” she said. “I’m excited to be able to make a positive impact on our school and student body and give the students a sense of reassurance that their school is working hard in their best interest.”
As vice president, Halbstein hopes to get the WCC SGA more active and involved in the community.
“I want to really use the talent we have here at Westminster to help others,” he said. “I want to create more performance opportunities at local charities and aid organizations.”
For Elder, who is one of the few graduate students to have had a position on the SGA executive board, building a relationship between undergraduate and graduate students is an important goal as well.
“I look forward to bridging the gap between the two types of students,” he said.
Elder also plans to make the academic catalog more regularly available, allowing for the electives many need to graduate to be taught at a wide variety of time slots.
Scully agrees that being a part of the SGA executive board is about helping the campus to grow as a community.
“I am excited to work with the board and community to continue building upon traditions and creating new ideas,” she said. “I hope to continue working towards more efficient communication on small and large planes.”