Immediately following President Timothy Trainor’s Forum on Nov. 8, the candidates for position of Student Government Association (SGA) Executive President held a debate, a week before the election being held from Nov. 14-15.
The incumbent SGA Executive President, Patrick Fitzgerald (C’19), and challenger, Sewa Michael Gunn (C’21), were each given up to 10 minutes at the beginning of the event to present platforms and goals. These opening remarks were followed by the debate where the candidates were asked a mix of questions from students present at the event and those prepared by the moderators, which included Trainor, current SGA Vice President Jonathan Gilbert and SGA Graduate Assistant Vincent Rapposelli.
Gunn offered his personal motto, “A New Vision,” as the basis for how he would lead the newly structured SGA to success if elected. He commended the current executive board for recognizing the need for a structural shift and is committed to embrace this shift to better govern the student body by tackling issues of concern to enact positive change. As the potential official representative of the student body, Gunn recognizes the need for transparency at all levels of the university, from the students, through the SGA, to the administration.
In addition to an increase in transparency, Gunn also seeks to increase SGA participation from students, improve safety measures and procedures on campus, create and facilitate stress relieving programs for students, and to bring a healthier and more diverse selection of food to the Mount Café.
Fitzgerald shared some of the same goals as Gunn, particularly in terms of increasing transparency within the SGA. Having served as a participant and leader in the SGA, in both its previous and now transitional forms, over his time at the Mount, Fitzgerald is determined to continue on to see the new SGA reach its full potential, as a “pillar of the university, a student pillar.” He seeks to achieve this by encouraging students to participate and create a larger, stronger, impactful, unified voice to bring about positive change.
To make the SGA more efficient in governing as the voice of the student body, Fitzgerald also wants to create an organized system of representatives and leaders who will be accountable for initiatives that will eventually be decided upon in the new year.
Dean of Students Kenneth McVearry applauded both candidates for their participation in the debate:
“We’ve had debates for years at SGA when it comes to running for office, and they have not been anything like tonight. Tonight, what I witnessed, was something of substance.”
“I don’t personally see a bad choice, at least, for the presidency,” he added.
Trainor agreed, praising both Gunn and Fitzgerald as “great candidates” who “can serve this institution well.”
“I look forward to working with either of you,” he said, directly addressing the candidates, “whoever the student body deems most worthy of the task.”
For more information on the SGA’s new structure, please refer to the story from the Echo’s previous issue: “The Voice of the Student”