USG Meet the Candidates 2020-2021 Held Online

Sarah Huffman , News Editor

The United Student Government (USG) held their Meet the Candidates 2020-2021 online this year. In place of the usual, annual debate, each candidate has a page on the USG website detailing information about them, their platforms and their qualifications. Each candidate also prepared a short video covering those topics. The videos were uploaded to the USG website and YouTube. 

“We opted for the videos since everyone is transitioning to our new circumstances, we thought that videos that people can watch at any time would be more accessible to the general student body than a live event,” said Kaylee Wong, GSB ’20, executive president of USG. 

This year’s executive ticket has Olivia Quartell, FCRH ’21, running for executive president and Thomas Reuter, FCRH ’22, running for executive vice president. 

In her speech, Quartell cited two reasons why this election cycle is unique. The first being that all campaigning and speeches are being done virtually. 

“This is an unusual election happening during an increasingly uncertain time,” she said. “Thomas and I wanted to recognize this and use it as an opportunity to prove that we are committed to these positions and all the challenges that they may bring.” 

She said their campaign is also unique because they are running unopposed. 

“While this means that the student body probably won’t be on the edge of their seats awaiting election results, it does not mean that Thomas and I are not genuinely passionate and deeply dedicated to this campaign and the positions for which we are running,” she said. 

Their platform explained goals such as publishing a semesterly journal which would summarize policy proposals, statements, resolutions and initiatives approved by USG, as well as data and summaries of the work done by the committees throughout the semester. 

They proposed changes to USG’s internal structure and changes to processes that would benefit club leaders. Quartell and Reuter also recognized the importance of issues such as diversity and inclusion and sustainability at Fordham. 

Most of the candidates running for vice president cabinet positions are unopposed. But Anna Lazzaro, FCRH ’21, and Tyler Raciti, FCRH ’21, are both running for vice president of FCRH. 

Raciti’s platform proposed initiatives that keep Fordham’s retention and yield rate in mind. He said he would specifically like to increase academic resources and focus on particular demographics within Fordham College. 

Lazzaro’s platform acknowledged the current structure of FCRH Dean’s Council and explained her experience on the Council and understanding of its responsibilities. She said she would like to increase communication between FCRH students and the Dean’s Council. 

Elizabeth Bjorklund, FCRH ’21, is running for vice president of Finance and Budgets for the third time. Her platform proposed initiatives to make more changes to the budget guidelines, to create a new budget appeal process and treasury interface and to increase communication with club leaders. 

“My end goal in all of this is to really help these club leaders and make sure that they have what they need from us,” said Bjorklund. 

Nicholas Abbazio, GSB ’21, is a current senator running for reelection. His platform talked about the Fordham Food Run, an initiative he would like to improve and continue. This program allows students to donate their extra meal swipes to provide food that can be donated to Part of the Solution (POTS). 

Carsyn Fischer, FCRH ’21, is a third year senator running for reelection. She said in the coming year she would like to address issues regarding attracting a diverse student body and retention. 

Iris Maloney, FCRH ’22, is running for the position of class of 2022 senator. She presented a platform focused on mental health initiatives and resources. 

“As a senator, I want to build a more robust network of resources for students to rely on when things (as they do) get tough,” she said. “Mental health initiatives will be as big as a school-wide mental health speak out, and as direct as peer to peer mentoring sessions. The world gets kinder as we listen to each other.” 

Current senator, Luke Morgan, GSB ’22, presented a platform focused on increasing the visibility of USG and the work they do. 

Alex Chavez, GSB ’23, was a senator this year and worked on the initiative that changed the time of campus shuttles to the D train. As a commuter from Brooklyn, his reelection platform presented the goal of strengthening the relationship between commuters and students. 

Teresa Jacob, FCRH ’23, is running for a class of 2023 senator position. She said she was a member of the Diversity Action Coalition and explained multiple initiatives to improve diversity and inclusion at Fordham in her platform. 

“If elected, some of my primary initiatives would be promoting more tangible diversity and inclusion initiatives on campus,” said Jacob. 

Voting for the 2020-2021 USG senate opened on April 2 at 9 a.m. and closed on April 3 at 5 p.m.