Today, you received an email from Ramapo’s Student Government Association encouraging you to vote for the 2020-21 SGA elections. The positions on the ballot include Senator-at-Large and various school senators.
The polls opened today and will close on Wednesday, Sept. 30 at noon. Here are the candidates running this year.
Eight candidates are running for Senator-at-Large.
Three of the candidates are first-year students, one of which is Sannia Balgahoom, a nursing student in the Honors Program that is looking to create a greater bond between the SGA and Ramapo’s student body.
“I want to make sure, once it's permitted, that Ramapo will have many in-person events to make up for the ones we missed,” Balgahoom said. “I'm sure we'd all like to make this year as memorable as possible, so if [I’m elected], I'll do my best to make that happen.”
Another first-year student running is Elizabeth Black.
“I will strive to be a leader that is viewed as accessible, trustworthy, and empowering to my fellow students,” Black said.
Chris Vedra, the third first-year student running for Senator-at-Large, has a similar promise.
“With my dependability, loyalty, and work ethic I am confident that I will be a good addition to the board but before anything else, an even better voice for the student body,” Vedra said.
Vedra has had experience with student government and volunteer organizations in the past. Another student with a similar experience is Anthony Miragliotta, a senior political science major.
Miragliotta is currently a delegate for the SGA, and he is also involved with the College Republicans club.
“I will do everything in my power to have on-campus activities while maintaining social distancing, wearing a mask, and following all CDC guidelines,” Miragliotta said. “That way, everyone can have a safe and fun academic year.”
The only transfer student running is Helen Witte, a transfer student from Bergen Community College majoring in political science. Witte is a member of the Honors Program as well as the South Asian Dance Club.
“As a speaking deaf person, I understand how important communication is and I am especially open to your ideas on how the SGA can improve your Ramapo experience,” Witte said.
Another member of the Honors Program running is Cindy Lam, a sophomore biology student. Lam has had former student government experience as she was a class secretary for three years in high school.
“As a member of the Asian community and a person of color, I will uplift all diverse voices, opinions, and ideas,” Lam said. “My main focus is on increasing inclusivity by providing greater support and resources for international students and voice in social issues important to the student body.”
Lam is not the only sophomore biology student running for Senator-at-Large. Vinicio Galarza matches this description, and he plans to encourage more interaction within the campus by connecting resident students with commuters.
“With more opportunity for exposure, I believe all students on campus have a strong voice that can be heard, and all students can benefit greatly in making the school's foundation stronger and more intertwined,” Galarza said.
The final candidate for Senator-at-Large is Aime Lara. She is a law and society major, as well as a member of the EOF program. Lara is determined to have every voice heard and wants to promote equality on campus.
“Being from a diverse background shaped me to become an advocate for others,” Lara said. “My goal is to represent the students at Ramapo and provide my best to help them achieve any concerns they have.”
While there are eight senator-at-large positions available and eight people are running, there is also a write-in option if your desired student candidate is not listed.
Three schools have senator positions open for the election: Anisfield School of Business (ASB), Social Sciences and Human Services (SSHS), and Contemporary Arts (CA). Two candidates are running for ASB senators, and two candidates are running for SSHS senator.
Nataly Merino is a first-year accounting student running for ASB senator. When holding the position, Merino plans for the student body to have a leading voice.
“I want to take this opportunity as a chance to get to know fellow Ramapo students, grow and learn from this opportunity,” Merino said.
Her competitor is Patricia Byrne, a candidate that plans to work directly with ASB Dean Ed Petkus to “tackle” the challenges of virtual instruction and socialization.
“I would survey business students to see what they would like from our school and incorporate their ideas in the best way possible,” Byrne said. “I would also like to plan virtual networking events, alumni panels, and professionalism and leadership workshops.”
Ashley Gomez is a contender for the SSHS senator position. Gomez, a sophomore law and society major, is a peer facilitator as well as a resident assistant on campus.
“One of my main goals is to create a safe environment where Ramapo students and staff alike can find comfort and acceptance,” Gomez said. “If elected, I will be a voice to your thoughts and needs.”
Competing against Gomez for the role of SSHS senator is Debra Breheny, a psychology major who will soon apply for Ramapo’s social work master’s program.
“If elected, I will help everyone that I represent understand that they are an integral part of this school,” Breheny said.
There are no candidates actively running for CA senator. However, all voters can write in a student they are willing to nominate.
Each candidate, when elected, will act as an advocate for the student body. Vote by Wednesday afternoon to have your voice heard.