Fayola Fraser ’15
After a period of serious campaigning, the Trinity College Student Government Association (SGA) elections began last Tues., April 8, giving students a 24-hour time frame to vote for their choice of candidate. The most hotly contested seat was the Vice Presidency, as there were two candidates, Allison Cazalet ’14 and Carlos Velazquez ’14, campaigning intensely against one another. The elections went off smoothly, without a hitch, and the newly elected members are Ambar Paulino ’15 as President, Carlos Velazquez ’14 as Vice President, Erica Bertoli ’14 as Vice President of Finance, Elizabeth Getzoff ’14 as Vice President of Entertainment, and Adolfo Abreu ’15 as Vice President of Multicultural Affairs.
The SGA campaign season lasts about two weeks, and the deadline to submit bids for candidacy was Sunday, March 31. All contestants were required to attend an open SGA meeting to field questions from students and current SGA members about their campaign platform. Candidates also had to specifically describe their goals in writing so that students could make an informed vote on Election Day. Most positions required the candidates to have served two prior semesters on SGA or two semesters on a related student group or committee.
Every one of the elected students had a lot to say about how they think they can and will influence the future climate of Trinity during their terms, and about what they hope to accomplish for the betterment of the College. Although the candidates are all busy, they had concrete visions that they wished to share with the students that elected them.
Elected President Ambar Paulino is very determined to make sure that her presidency makes an impact. She has a strong desire to serve each and every student on campus. Paulino’s main concern going into her term is that she sees a gap existing between the SGA and the student body. She wants students to get involved in the Trinity programs that SGA helps facilitate. Paulino plans to hold open forums, social gatherings, and student panels to ensure that students can communicate their needs to the SGA.
Outside of the Trinity community, Paulino wants to bridge the gap between the College and the residents of Hartford. She would like to expand Do-It-Day, a campus-wide community service day, to incorporate more of Trinity’s surroundings. She also said it would be great to establish a relationship with Hartford’s legislators and figure out how Trinity students can contribute to the city.
The new Vice President Carlos Velazquez secured his position in part because of his diligent campaigning. He explained that, “In addition to campaigning, my staff created flyers, talked to people on my behalf and created polling stations for people to vote. Also, we promoted our campaign videos on our Facebook page.”
Velazquez believes that his campaign staff was “imperative” to his win. His interim “Chief of Staff” was Josh Frank ’16, who Velazquez says was “huge in helping [him] pull this together.”
As Vice President, Velazquez hopes to not only increase the frequency of communication between the Administration and students, but also to increase collaboration and transparency. Velazquez is concerned that, “some decisions regarding students blatantly disregard student opinions.”
Another ones of Velazquez’s goals is to create more social and academic opportunities for students both on and on campus. He explained that he wants “to create more social and academic opportunities for students both on and off campus. I want to create a stronger relationship between Trinity and the City of Hartford. Our students should not fear venturing into an unfamiliar, yet indubitably beautiful City.” Along with these initiatives, he also wants to increase links between SGA and the Men of Color Alliance (MOCA), the gay/straight alliance Encouraging Respect of Sexualities (EROS), and the Individualized Degree Program Association (IDPA).
Although he was ultimately the winner, Velazquez believed that the race seemed very close. He is very proud to have won the election, and stated that, “I am humbled and honored to have gained the trust of Trinity students both on campus and around the world.” He gave homage to his opponent, Allison Cazalet ’14. Velazquez thanked her “for her passion and commitment to Trinity and its students.”
Cazalet’s platform focused on her experience on the SGA Budget Committee, where she became very familiar with student organizations on campus. She also worked on the Academic Affairs Committee, where she created surveys, hosted, events, and talked to students about improvements they envisioned for Trinity’s academic climate.
Elected Vice President of Finance Erica Bertoli believes it is important to use the past as a guide while also looking toward the future. Bertoli’s main goal is to “monitor the budget in a responsible manner that allows a diverse group of student organizations to secure access to funds that allow them to hold events, fundraisers and other activities that benefit the Trinity community and surrounding area.”
Bertoli plans to achieve this by following the policies and precedents set by her most recent predecessors, Adrian Jul ’12 and Shawna Berk ’13. She plans to build on Jul and Berk’s foundation and also contribute her own ideas to make fair, rational, and reasonable decisions.
Elected Vice President of Multicultural Affairs Adolfo Abreu aims to help the student body understand the reasons the Multicultural Affairs Council. He wants to hold programs where the Council can answer student questions. He says he will also hold meetings for the leaders of the other multicultural organizations and the Greek organizations on campus. Abreu believes these meetings will be a merging force between different students on campus and increase their collaboration on different ideas and projects.
Abreu stated that, “”It is my aim to redefine the Multicultural Affairs Council that makes it a mission to educate the Trinity College Community on the myriad of cultures that exist on campus.”
All of SGA’s newly elected officials have their own vision for the development of the Trinity community. Through these unselfish and all-encompassing visions, it is clear that all the new members want to increase student-SGA interaction and make sure that decisions and relationships on campus are fair to the student body