By Amanda Weber and Felicia Smolen
Assistant News Editor and Griffin Reporter
The elections for the new leaders in the Undergraduate Student Association are rapidly approaching. As some of the seniors that currently hold positions of power will be graduating in May, such as President Elias Ayoub ‘17, new individuals will be inducted into these positions for the 2017-18 school year. Although six individuals were originally running for positions in Senate, two Senators dropped out of the race earlier this week. Senator Clayton Shanahan ‘18 dropped out of the candidacy for President of Senate, while Executive Vice President Tim Utz ‘18 dropped out of the running for his current position. Due to this and all the current candidates running unopposed, the debate that was scheduled for March 22, 2017 was cancelled. However, the Griffin was able to interview some of the remaining candidates and discuss why they are the best fit for their respective positions. (Note: Amanda Boccolucci, who is running for Vice President of Programming, did not respond to The Griffin in time for print)
Amelia Greenan ‘18, current Junior Senator, is now running unopposed for President of USA Senate. In addition to this leadership role, she has been a Senator since she was a freshman at Canisius. She is also currently the President of Students for Life club and the Student Interests Committee Chair. She believes that these past three years and these leadership roles have led her to the decision to run for President of Senate. Due to her experience, she believes that she is qualified for the position.
“My leadership, passion, and dedication make me most fitting for this position,” said Greenan. “I think that a true leader works to serve and act as a voice for all people.”
Greenan is extremely passionate and dedicated to the position she is running for, as she is concerned about the student body and wants to serve as a connecting point between Senate and students. She believes that, in this position, she will be able to make a greater impact on Canisius in the present and for future students as well.
“I feel it would be an honor to serve and represent the students whom I have had the privilege of getting to know over the past three years, as well as the new class coming in next year,” said Greenan.
The President of Senate, Greenan explains, is a position with many tasks and responsibilities associated with it. Ultimately, the President is a student leader who is the “voice of the student body.” It is up to the President to work with different clubs, organizations, and administrators in order to achieve what is best for the student body as a whole. In a sense, the President is the “face of Canisius” and is responsible for making sure that each student is given the best opportunity to grow and succeed. Greenan explains some of the additional tasks the President of USA faces.
“USA develops annual initiatives that focus on areas like justice, diversity, campus sustainability, public health, student interests, and dining services,” said Greenan. “The President as the Chief Executive Officer works to promote the projects and initiatives of the Senate aimed at improving the student experience at Canisius.”
Although Greenan wants to promote a safe and positive learning community for all students, she does have some topics that she is particularly passionate about. She wants to focus on student-led changes to dining choices and housing options. However, a specific issue that she wants to focus on are providing support services to those women who become pregnant while in college or are already parents. She wants to promote the importance of these women continuing their education at Canisius, instead of being forced to drop out due to lack of support. Therefore, she wants to provide housing availability for these women and their children. Also, she wants to provide daycare for the children. She believes that these additional services will help assist these women and make their education a possibility.
“I want to work to improve the student experience for everyone, and that includes the people who might not necessarily have the loudest voice,” said Greenan.
Greenan does recognize the fact that she will face challenges as the USA President. As her new role will offer many opportunities, she will also face roadblocks and dilemmas. Although she knows that this fact is inevitable, she hopes to prevent as much conflict as possible by promoting good, positive communication between the student body and Senate. Although she realizes that one specific challenge she will face is the inability to please everyone, she hopes to make the best decisions possible and work extremely hard to make this possible.
“I am aware that I do not have all the most perfect answers and we will make mistakes, but I will reach out to many people for their view so I can make well-researched, thoughtful decisions,” said Greenan.
Greenan has used her opportunity as a Senator for the past three years to meet members of the student body and has learned to work well with others. She is grateful for the opportunity to interact with the student body and fellow members of Senate, as some of them have inspired her personally. Ultimately, she describes holding the position of USA Senate President as an honor and she hopes to seize this opportunity.
“The greatest accomplishment you can have as a President is to steward an organization that works well so that the group of leaders within your organization can work for the students they represent and bring about the most impactful change under your execution and leadership,” said Greenan.
Greenan also wanted The Griffin to emphasize that, although she is running uncontested due to Senator Shanahan dropping out of the race, she was looking forward to a well-fought battle with him. She described Shanahan as a “very good candidate” and hopes to meet with him in order to discuss what plans he was passionate about implementing at Canisius. Although she is running uncontested, Greenan wants the student body to know she is more than willing to listen to their ideas and is dedicated to this role.
“I will be honored to be the next President and am thankful for the support and opportunity to work hard in this position.”
Matthew Smardz ‘19, current Sophomore Senator, is running unopposed for Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations. Smardz also held a position on Senate last school year, as a Freshman Senator. In addition to these leadership roles, Smardz was also an Orientation Leader for the 2016-17 school year. This experience has led him to his decision to run for VP of Marketing and PR.
“I feel I am qualified for the position because I have the experience of working directly with USA and students in hands-on situations,” said Smardz.
Smardz explains that he has a passion for connecting the student body at Canisius College to Senate. He wants the students to understand what Senate is doing and what plans they intend to implement. Ultimately, he wants to make sure that the communication between USA and the students is as productive as it possibly can be.
“The importance of having open dialogue between students and USA is crucial to the success of the organization as a whole,” said Smardz. “This communication directly influences how the organization is perceived by students and the effectiveness of meeting the students’ needs.”
For those students who do not know, Smardz was able to provide an explanation for what the position of VP of Marketing and PR entails. Ultimately, he explains, the individual who holds this position is a “middle man” between Senate and the students. It is important for the VP to listen to and take into consideration the responses from students about what Senate is doing. One of the duties that the VP is responsible for is taking minutes from the Senate meetings and disseminating the information discussed in these weekly meetings to the student body. Smardz explains that a challenge he feels like he may face is the perception of a lack of communication and understanding between USA and the Canisius students.
“As VP of Marketing and Public Relations, I may face challenges such as situations in which students do not feel as though USA is being transparent enough and communicating what is happening in the meetings to the student body properly,” said Smardz. “In situations like these, I would seek to hear the suggestions of the students in which ways communication could be improved.”
Smardz describes himself as a highly dedicated individual who is motivated to get the job done. He hopes to take the feedback he receives from his fellow students and accomplish any task given to him as the VP of Marketing and PR for the 2017-18 school year.
Connor Rosenecker, a junior Commuter Student Representative on the Cabinet for Senate, is running unopposed for Vice President of Business and Finance.
“The position of VPBF entails overlooking and managing the $1.5 million operating budget for the Undergraduate Student Association, including the governance of capital expenditures, financial resource distribution for undergraduate students, and the charge of appeals and allocations for student clubs and organizations,” Rosenecker explains.
Rosenecker is highly experienced in positions of leadership including President of Canisius Chorale, Co-Founder of International Microloans of Buffalo, and Chair of the Dean’s Student Advisory Council (DSAC) for the Wehle School of Business, among many other positions of leadership.
While Rosenecker wishes to make many improvements in this position, he asserts one of particular importance.
“To keep things brief, one major change I hope to make is this: while maintaining the lump sum allocation format, I hope to eliminate the tier system which presets clubs into specific allocation amounts, and rather make lump sum allocations on a case-by-case basis, determined by the recent historical spending of each club,” he said.
Rosenecker is very knowledgeable when it comes to budgeting and finances and has qualities that would make him a prime candidate for the position.
Rosenecker is very adamant on making sure that all clubs are treated equally.
“I foresee myself implementing changes to the club budget system with intentions of representing each and every club equitably and entirely,” said Rosenecker.
He is very versatile and is able to evolve in order to match the challenges he faces. He is a critical thinker and is skilled at analysis.
He asserts, “I’d like to make it known that, first and foremost, the intentions and ideas presented to me by fellow students will be reviewed with diligent candor. I will be certain to work my hardest to accurately identify the true desires of students, and be careful to balance power between student leaders and student government when making decisions.”