SGA elections approach with packed ballots

The 2023-24 Student Government Association (SGA) elections are less than a week away, and it is time to get to know the candidates. There are 22 student candidates running for various positions, and there are two teams campaigning for president and vice president.


Shannon DeCicco & Victor Oluwagbemi


Junior Shannon DeCicco and sophomore Victor Oluwagbemi are running mates for president and vice president, respectively. Each joined SGA this past fall semester, and they have already worked closely together.

The duo met at the start of the fall semester by joining SGA. Photo by Emily Melvin

“We work very well together and we balance each other out very well,” DeCicco said. “Victor always has really great advice… that’s one of his best qualities. I know I can go to him and I won’t be judged, but he will always try to look at things from an outside view.”

DeCicco, who has a major in social science with a concentration in educational studies and a minor in civic and community leadership, currently is the secretary of delegate affairs, where they also are the coordinator of the Delegate Program and chair of the Delegate Affairs Committee. Some of their top achievements from the past year include working alongside their fellow delegates and helping them grow as leaders.

Oluwagbemi, who has a major in law and society and a minor in sports management, is currently the chief justice, but he began as an executive panelist on the judicial panel. He said he spent time reconstructing the judicial panel this year, including creating two new positions, delegating responsibilities across all the positions and becoming more impactful for SGA and the whole community.

“Victor and I both like the way that SGA has been run this year and how we’ve had a lot of initiatives. But we realized that a lot of those initiatives haven’t started internally from in SGA and not a lot haven’t started from outside, so we want to try to get more opinions and more people to give us their opinion so that we can make more changes with more voices from the student body,” DeCicco said.

One of the duo’s biggest goals is to bring transparency and awareness to the student body on all issues or topics they are interested in. They said they want students to know that they are flexible, understanding and open to change.

“Vote for someone who is there for you and not there for the position,” Oluwagbemi said.


Andrew Taranta & Prashant Shah


The other presidential running mates are junior Andrew Taranta and freshman Prashant Shah. Like Decicco and Oluwagbemi, Taranta and Shah joined SGA this past fall.

Shah and Taranta share the fun fact of being born outside of the U.S. Photo by Emily Melvin

Presidential candidate Taranta, a political science major with a minor in philosophy, is the current senator for the School of Humanities and Global Studies (HGS). He said that one of his proudest accomplishments in his role was getting the fall semester HGS Dean’s List projected on the TVs upstairs in B-wing.

“It really does capture celebrating academics and celebrating those who achieved great things, inspiring the whole student body to do the same and rewarding those who do put in that type of effort,” Taranta said.

He said that celebrating the student body on their achievements is one of the biggest things he stands for as a person and SGA representative, in addition to sustainability and Ramapo pride. By sustaining a beautiful campus and coming together to create a sense of pride and support in all areas of campus life, Taranta believes people will be able to see how much they are accomplishing and continue to work harder towards common goals.

His running mate Shah, an international student from Nepal and a computer science major with a minor in economics, is currently an SGA senator-at-large, where he is the liaison for ITS. Part of his role includes being a voice for international students and bringing global awareness to the communities they belong to.

One of Shah’s proudest accomplishments was organizing the recent Iran discussion panel after a “friend reached out to [him] about the distress they were going through because they were from Iran… and they really felt disconnected from the college because no one was talking about [the Iranian ‘Women, Life, Freedom’ protests].” In addition to the panel, Shah was also able to pass a bill pledging the SGA to support women in Iran.

Taranta and Shah worked closely together for the panel, as Shah said Taranta expressed strong support for the bill and global issues, and he supported Shah throughout the planning process.

Each candidate admires the other’s sense of broader perspective and intelligence. Taranta said, “having somebody you’re running with who you can talk honestly with, to me, is the most important thing.”


Remaining SGA Positions 


In addition to both presidential duos, there is another team running. The Your Voice, Our Mission Party is made up of four students with a collective goal. The team — all current SGA members — includes Desiree Bounds running for the School of Contemporary Arts senator, Stephen Raymond for HGS senator, Janelle Boamah for senator-at-large and Shanel Lopez for senator-at-large.

Bounds said, “We are optimistic and willing to see what we can bring to Ramapo next year… We believe our success as an organization derives from constantly speaking to students, hence our campaign name. Our goal is to accurately represent all students in the SGA through transparent communication.”

The most competitive senator category is for the School of Social Sciences and Human Services, with three students running. The candidates are freshman Katelynn Haury, sophomore Patricia Kalaidjian and junior Madison Weeks. Other positions include the remaining school senators, treasurer, graduate senator and additional senators-at-large.

Voting is open from Tuesday, April 4 through Thursday, April 6, and the results will be announced on April 7. Ballots will be sent to every student’s Ramapo email.

Featured photo by Rebecca Gathercole