Westminster witnesses most contested race

by Steph Mostaccio

The Princeton campus had its most contested race in history for the SGA presidency on Monday, April 14.

Sophomore Ryan LaBoy came out on top against senior Shannen Kahler, junior Christopher Sierra and sophomore Patrick Meyers.
“I am ecstatic about the results of the election,” LaBoy said. “Not only am I thrilled to be elected, but I am thrilled about who I am working with.”

LaBoy will be working with his fellow Princeton SGA members, including sophomore Brittany Godfrey, the new vice president who defeated graduate student Danielle Wright; sophomore Lauren Parsons, the new treasurer who defeated graduate student H. Kanoa Greene; and graduate student Inez Antoni Mendezona, who won the title of secretary in an uncontested race.

Laura Seplaki, Westminster Choir College (WCC) assistant dean of students and Princeton campus SGA adviser, said any one of the students running for the top positions would have been able to lead the students.

“I think [we had] great candidates, and they all have potential,” she said.

LaBoy is grateful for all of the students who voted for him. He is also grateful for those who did not, but for a different reason.

“Even to those who did not vote for me, the fact that you all exercised your right to vote as students really means a lot,” he said.

According to Seplaki, 34 percent of the WCC population, or 170 students, voted in this year’s SGA elections. Turnout was slightly less than last year, when 46 percent of the population, or about 200 students, voted.

The number of students voting has increased since the Princeton campus started to offer online voting two years ago, according to Seplaki. However, she did not know how many students voted with the previous system because she joined the University during the transition.

Online voting works well for the Princeton campus, according to Seplaki. She noted that it is beneficial to the election process.

“Students can vote from anywhere, the elections are automatically tallied, and we can use the system to e-mail all voters with their individual log-in information,” she said.

The Lawrenceville campus SGA does not offer online voting, which is something that surprises LaBoy.

“There are so many more students on the other campus,” he said. “It just seems to make the most sense.”

LaBoy has voted online in previous SGA elections on the Princeton campus, and he has found that it is very convenient.

“We have plenty of other stuff to worry about day-to-day here,” he said. “Anything to make our lives easier is a plus in my book.”

Another plus in LaBoy’s book is that he knows the majority of the new executive board. This past year, he has worked with Godfrey and Parsons on the sophomore class board.

“We were all so nervous that one of us would get elected and the rest of us wouldn’t,” he said. “It’s such a relief to know that you already work well with your board.”

LaBoy admitted that he does not know Mendezona as well as the other newly elected SGA members, but he is looking forward to working with her.
“I’m eager to see what each of us brings to the table come this fall,” he said.

However, in the midst of LaBoy’s excitement, there are some feelings of anxiety.

“After getting the results [Tuesday morning], two thoughts ran through my head: ‘Oh my gosh. This is unbelievable’ and ‘Oh my gosh. I hope I don’t choke,’” he said.

Godfrey shared LaBoy’s mixed emotions.

“I’m a little nervous, but it is not going to stop me from beginning with full force,” she said.

The first issues LaBoy would like to address as president are improving the communication between students and the executive board, as well as integrating the two campuses.
“Our schools have been merged now for over a decade, and I believe it is high time we start acting like sister campuses,” LaBoy said.

Communication between the two campuses is also number one on Godfrey’s agenda. As vice president, she would also like to increase student involvement and have “all of us realize our potential as a student body.”

According to Seplaki, keeping the students in mind should be a top priority for the executive board members.

“I would advise them that as they develop their goals for the coming year, they take the time to speak to the students and learn from them what is important,” she said. “They must always remember that they were elected to be the voice of the students.”

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