Presidential and senatorial candidates of Franciscan University Student Government introduced themselves and defended their campaigns at an open forum discussion Tuesday evening in preparation for the April 5 election.
Senior President Alex McKenna moderated the discussion in the Gentile Gallery, introducing candidates and presenting questions to representative of both presidential parties.
Senatorial candidates for each class spoke first, briefly introducing themselves and highlighting key goals they hope to work toward with student government if elected.
Running for grad student representative is Naomi Tatro; senior candidates are Erin Whoriskey, James Duarte, Emilia DeGroat and Francesco Pinque; junior candidates are Francis Langley and Danielle Markle, and sophomore candidates are Travis Mistry, Peter Sammons, Amelia Abdalla, and Magdalena Kyne. Not all were present at the forum.
Presidential candidates were then given a chance to present their respective campaigns. Juniors Jared Johnson and Caleb Rider, running for president and vice-president respectively, said their campaign, Life in Abundance, is focused on intentionally celebrating more Catholic feast days as a campus, encouraging campus-wide novenas and providing for real student needs.
Juniors Amelia Brennan and Noelle Van Horn, running for president and vice-president respectively, said they plan to partner with the office for personal vocation, provide ice machines and filtered water fountains for all dorms and prepare students for life after Franciscan.
The two campaigns shared some similar concerns and goals, such as partnering with Exc!te. Exc!te is the student-run organization that plans the majority of campus-wide events. Both campaigns said they want to build a close relationship with Exc!te and hope to help them run events.
The Brennan-Van Horn campaign said it plans to make it clear whether Exc!te or clubs are sponsoring events, and the Life In Abundance campaign said it wants to help with the budget.
Both also expressed strong opinions on supporting students’ mental health on campus. The Life In Abundance campaign wishes to host weekly seminars with the mental health advocacy club, while the Brennan-Van Horn campaign plans to work more closely with the psychology department.
When asked how the two campaigns differed, Johnson and Rider said they chose their campaign name based on John 10:10, “I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly.” They wish to help campus live more abundantly.
Brennan and Van Horn emphasized their cabinet and the skill set of everyone in their campaign. They especially emphasized current junior Sen. Preston Pelishek’s role as treasurer on their cabinet.
At the close of the forum, Johnson said, “Let’s not get bogged down with regulation; it gets in the way. We just need to get what students want: they want campus to be better, stronger and holier, which is what we stand for.”
Brennan said, “We just really want to emphasize the role of Preston as treasurer and his ability to handle funds. We are running for student government out of our desire to serve and all of it out of love for the campus and God.”
Sophomore Kate Wright said, “This forum was very informative and allowed me to get a better grasp of what the two campaigns stood for. It was cool listening to their different ideas on improving campus next year.”
Franciscan students can vote in the J.C. Williams Center on Tuesday, April 5, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Seniors and graduate students are also able to vote.