Meet the 2023-2024 Student Government executive board candidates
Voting opens April 5 at noon
Editor’s note: Jacob Fishman, a graphic designer for The Eagle and candidate for SG secretary, was not involved in the writing, editing or reporting of this story.
Voting for American University Student Government’s spring elections will take place starting April 5 at 12 p.m. and will close on April 7 at 12 p.m. The executive positions of president, vice president, secretary and comptroller for SG and school councils are on the ballot. Voting will take place through CampusLabs, and students will be emailed a link to vote. All candidates were given the same questions to respond to by The Eagle.
Here’s what this semester’s ballot looks like:
Candidates for Student Body President:
Noah Gocial, a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs, is passionate about uplifting student voices. At first, the decision to run for president was not easy for Gocial. He said there was a lot of back and forth on whether he really wanted to run.
However, after careful consideration, he decided that he would run because he said he wants to contribute to the student body in a positive way.
“If I know that I'm going to do a good job for the student body, if I know that I'm going to advocate, if I know that I'm going to pursue my goals, and the entire student body has goals, why shouldn't I do it?” Gocial said.
Gocial said there were many issues he was passionate about but narrowed his platform down to four succinct pillars: advocating for the expansion of financial aid, improving dining options on campus, tackling AU’s housing issues and strengthening communication between students and SG.
“When we have specific goals that you know you can accomplish, that's when you know it's your position to run,” Gocial said. “We need the right people in charge.”
Edwin Santos, a junior in SPA, wants to strengthen the AU community on campus.
Santos says one of his goals in running for president is to cultivate a more welcoming community for students to lean on. He was inspired by the community that is fostered in Latinos En Acción and wants to transfer that sense of community and belonging to all students.
“The reason I am running for president is because I know we can do more,” Santos said.
His platform is broken down into three sections: community, security and representation. Although broad, Santos says this is purposeful because so much can fall under each of those categories.
Santos has never held a position in SG prior to running for president but said this is a good thing for his campaign, saying he brings a fresh new perspective to the table.
“Actions speak louder than words, and if you know me, you know I am for the students,” Santos said.
Chandler Eby, a junior in SPA, offers a diametrically opposed platform to the traditional presidential candidate. Eby said the one and only goal of his platform is to abolish SG.
Although he plans to get rid of the system eventually, he said it will not be a task completed in just one day after taking office. Therefore, he has temporary plans put in place that do not involve immediate abolishment.
“If I can make SG even a little less worse, that’s still better as a whole until we do get to abolish it,” Eby said.
In the meantime, his goals are to create two advisory boards, one for Title IX and another for sustainability initiatives.
“Obviously, I hopefully abolish my own position, but while I'm there, I would like to act in the most informed way I can and make good decisions,” Eby said.
Candidates for Student Body Vice President
Arusa Islam, a sophomore in SPA, is running for vice president. She said her role as senator was just not a large enough platform.
“I think as vice president, I'll be able to do a lot more with social programming and outreach opportunities, and just get the student body involved with each other,” Islam said.
Islam said her goals were to build community and connections with the students.
“I really want to try and bring together all different people from all different communities,” Islam said. “It’s important to see each other as equals and open up the conversation to make sure we always have a seat.”
Salvatore Cottone, a sophomore in SPA, is running for vice president in hopes of creating a more representative SG, one he says is representative of the student body.
“I'm running for this position, specifically, because VP is considered the chief programming officer of AUSG,” Cottone said, “Instead of programming, I want to focus solely on advocacy programming, such as launching initiatives.”
He plans to educate students on the Green New Deal and the recently passed survivors’ bill of rights, all while focusing on other issues.
“Issues ranging from sexual violence, food insecurity, sustainability concerns on campus and a U.S. commitment to reaching like sustainability goals, and a general lack of community engagement with the student body” are parts of his platform, Cottone said.
Candidates for Secretary
Jacob Fishman, a junior in the School of Communication running for secretary, sent a statement by email.
“I joined SG because I believe that we have the ability to make a real difference in our community,” Fishman wrote. “I have been frustrated by AUSG’s inability to make meaningful changes in a timely manner. As secretary, I will implement my A.C.E. plan. A.C.E. stands for Advocating For You, Communicating With You, and Elevating Your AU Experience.”
Fishman plans to establish a new precedent for communication in SG and increased transparency between students and SG.
Julia Comino, a sophomore in SOC and SPA, is running for secretary.
“Secretary is the position I can do the most work that I want to see get done,” Comino said. “I got into SG because I wanted to do survivor advocacy, but I kept running into barriers of communication, but the secretary position is the arm of communication in SG.”
Comino expressed that a pillar of her campaign for secretary is to increase communication between students and SG.
“The secretary position will give me more ability to bring students and survivors' voices to the table, more on platform,” Comino said. “I know that I actually will do the work for survivors and for students.”
Candidate for Comptroller
Abigail Wolfe, a sophomore in SPA, is running unopposed for comptroller.
Wolfe has been an active member of SG for the last year and has occupied the role of deputy clerk, clerk and historian. Her decision to run for comptroller came from the fact that she had already been doing a lot of administrative duties within student government.
“I also love finance, so I decided to give it a try and run,” Wolfe said.
This article was edited by Mackenzie Konjoyan, Jordan Young and Nina Heller. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis, Leta Lattin, Luna Jinks and Stella Guzik.