The limited campaign season for candidates running for the Student Government Association (SGA) is underway, and the student body will vote on their representatives on Thursday, Sept. 17.
Each class at Colby is represented by two SGA class presidents and four senators. Elections are held each spring for school-wide and class offices, but the fall sees elections for the first-year class, as well as any empty positions in the other three classes.
As some students took the semester off because of the COVID-19 pandemic, more spots than usual have opened up and the field is full. Four students are running for two senator spots for the class of 2021, and seven juniors are running for the two 2022 senatorial seats. All six first-year spots will be filled as well, and the class of 2024 has six duos running to be co-presidents and five contenders to be senator.
Fall elections run on a short timeline—candidate forms were due Sept. 11, the candidates could start campaigning from the next day until Sept 16, election day will be Sept. 17, and then results will be announced two days later.
Candidates are working on getting the word out about themselves and their goals in this four-day period. Social media is a go-to: of the ten candidates who responded to a poll from The Colby Echo, 100% are using Instagram, 40% Facebook, and 40% other platforms. Seven out of ten of the candidates are using physical posters, and all but one out of the ten are relying on word of mouth as well. One duo running for the class of 2024 president are handing out lollipops and doing Zoom calls to hear from their potential constituents.
Kat Mackay `24, who is running for class president with Kimanie Brown `24, wrote to The Colby Echo that running for SGA has been “slightly stressful along with school work but what isn’t?”
So, what compels students to take on the load of running for SGA? India Joseph `24 wrote that her motivation for running for senator is grounded in her academic and career goals:
“I am interested in becoming a Gov major and I would [love] to have first-hand experience learning how to listen to the needs of the people I am elected to represent and then put ‘policy’ into action.”
Other students, like Jason Leong `22, cited specific policy goals as their reason for running, including ensuring that the College’s Alcohol Amnesty Policy is renewed. The policy, whose two year-pilot program could end this year, states that “the College encourages both bystanders and, where possible the person facing a medical emergency, to report the situation and seek assistance as quickly as possible, without fear that the College sanctions outlined in the Alcohol and Drug Use Policy will apply” (Colby Student Handbook 2019-2020).
Leong also has pandemic-related goals, including extending the pass/fail option for course grading and adding food trucks to the dining hall system to decrease crowding and support local businesses.
Charlie Jodka `22 has three main goals: to get SGA more power in the College’s budgeting decisions, expand financial aid beyond tuition needs, and to increase SGA’s transparency through revamping office hours.
Jodka is emphasizing realisticness in his campaign: “Every year I see SGA candidates promise administrative changes that are not deliverable. My goal is to be open and honest while working on projects that actually have a chance at making change.”
Likewise, Brown wrote that he and Mackay are focusing only “on possible changes that we absolutely know we [can] change moving forward.”
These include reducing laundry prices, expanding Take 4 options, and increasing Community Advisor salaries.
Leah Montello `22 said that she’s running for senator because of the role she feels she can play in representing her class.
“[P]ersonally, I don’t think that the students nor the administration hear the wide-ranging sentiments across the student body and only are presented with what is most popular,” Montello said. “Each and every opinion is important and can lead to new developments and progress. If I were to be a senator, I hope to project everyone’s voice.”
Assistan Thiero`24 and Ruby Nunez `24 are running for co-president and also wrote that they are running to represent their peers.
“[We] are advocates and want to speak for our class because we will not go down without a fight,” they said.
Brown, too, said he’s running so “that we have people that can represent ALL voices on campus. As a community, it’s imperative that we have genuine leaders that can commiserate to issues that’s common to the average college student.”
Many candidates have enjoyed speaking with their classmates as part of the campaigning process. Brown has “met new faces” from whom he “was able to hear from the community about things that they want to change.”
Both Leong and Lily Kwen `24 wish that there was more time to campaign, and Leong wrote that he would like “a chance for candidates to speak on stage in order to advertise their platforms in more detail.”
Montello urged students to vote. Jodka also said that SGA could work at “promoting the elections, to try and get voter turnout up as well as get more candidates in the running.”
~Sonia Lachter `22