On Feb. 24, the five new elected board was announced via email at noon. Since then, the five newly elected board members have been elated to start their journey in their post.
In the Saint Leo community, many people do not seem to realize how much power these five board members have in the school community; therefore, it is shocking that with such a powerful position and chance to make a difference only fifteen people applied for the position.
Edson O’Neale, director for Student Activities, who is also the advisor for Student Government Union (SGU), said, “Persons who might have wanted to apply had a lack of confidence or simply because they knew they weren’t as active in school as they ought to be.”
The determination and highly involved candidates, however, were determined to apply either because it fit well with their majors and careers.
“I would like to become a key stakeholder in the justice system of my country, Jamaica, the United States, as well as the world at large,” said Melissa Bryan, the vice president of Operations.
Or they were, “Called to be the next SGU president,” Joshua Bartholomew, the newly elected president, explained.
Contrastingly, in the case of Joseph Thompson III, the current and newly elected vice president of Activities, it was different for him to be on the 2016-2017 board.
“I am the current Vice President of Activities and I just felt like I wasn’t done offering the campus more creative events. I felt like there was so much more I could offer in this role that I didn’t get to accomplish in my term this year. Yes, my team and I brought this campus many new events and successful traditional events, but I feel we could always do more.”
Running and staying motivated to run is something completely left up to determination and how much that person really wants the position. Convincingly, these five persons were ready to step to the plate no matter what it takes.
“The great Mohandas Gandhi once said, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ I believed that this opportunity would lay the foundation for me to enable me to be that change I want to see,” Bryan said.
Knowledge of each position and its duties is a good recipe in order to effectively fill each position. Brooke Bonsted, the vice president of Communication Management elect, she did just that, educate then work to her goal.
“After educating myself on the Vice President of Communications Management position, I realized how much I truly wanted the position. I believe educating myself and planning new ways to make the position even more successful motivated me more and more each day of the election. All I wanted was to see my new plans of success become a reality,” said Bonsted.
Campaign strategies were essential in order to vie for the hearts of the SLU student body to vote for them. During the duration of the elections, there were a lot of candidates meeting and greeting schoolmates to vote for them. Some candidates gave out fliers, took their platform to social media and even wrote on the corridor floors in chalk to “Vote for me”. The atmosphere intensified when it got closer and closer to the elections.
“My team used strategies from the mock presidential election on campus in the Fall,” Bartholomew explained.
Marlene Camacho, the vice president of Finance elect, said, “I also asked a fellow political science major for some pointers on my campaign and she was definitely a great help. Finally, I teamed up with another SGU candidate and tabled outside of the SAB. We talked about the elections and also provided handmade ‘election reminders,’ which were Coke cans made out of card stock with the slogan ‘share a vote’ and our names on it and position of interest.”
After the dust had settled, the waiting began as the hearts of each competitor were unsettled or unnerved but in Bryan’s case, “I believed that it was my destiny to win because I was nervous at one point. However, throughout the journey, I kept on telling myself, ‘What God has in store for you. No man can take that away from you.’”
In Thompson’s perspective, he was unsure about the chances of becoming re-elected as, “Not many people in SGU have won elections in a consecutive year.”
Positivity was one thing but knowing that there were many good candidates, the votes could have swayed in either direction.
The rest of the candidates thought this way also; however, Camacho was determined to stay positive the entire time and, “Never gave up on my campaign and hard work.”
On the very day that election winners were to be announced, there had been anticipation in the air as the students and candidates alike all wondered what the results would be like. The results were posted via email in the afternoon, and then the school was in a huge outburst.
“Before seeing the email that I won the election, I was getting a million of texts that said congratulations,” Bonsted said.
Camacho explained that she was very anxious but one the results came, “I was the happiest student at Saint Leo. I laughed of joy and almost cried tears of happiness. I was very proud of myself and I called my mom. Ultimately, I made sure to thank every individual that was there for me through it all with their help and support.”
Bartholomew, on the other hand, was, “Humble and glad to serve the students.”
Now that the board members elect know that they have won, they plan to serve Saint Leo to the best of their ability. In order for that to happen the students must “Help me, Help SL(U)!” which was Bryan’s catch phrase in the election. They will be officially installed on Apr. 15 this year, and will have a weekly meeting to do that, serving the students of Saint Leo.
Bartholomew indicated that, “Community is our Mission. We want to bring the community together, using our resources to fulfill the dreams and hope of our student body a reality.”
The current and elected Vice President of Activities felt that he had always made an impact on the school by, “Pushing the limit and exceeding expectations.”
He feels that although they bring traditional events that the campus is used to and loves he wants to further push the limits and, “Bring things that this campus has never seen before.”
Bryan has many visions for this upcoming school year, which include reforming the constitution.
Bryan said, “There are many gray areas in the SGU Constitution, and I intend on improving it and making it more up to date to keep up with the ever-growing needs and changes of the current and future student body. I want to give the student body the opportunity to provide input and feedback in regards to what they would like to see in the constitution.”
Bryan indeed desires to uphold her campaign slogan, “Help me, Help SL(U)!”
Camacho also applies to this phase as she said that, “I believe that I can improve the social and academic experience of students of Saint Leo, not only through allocations but also through hard work, dedication, and being a true advocate for everyone.”
Although Camacho’s job is to make a budget of the student government she plans on improving each section of the SGU as stated; “I plan to continue the outstanding work and progress that the current VPF has made and strive for improvement and success. Lastly, I believe that I can inspire other students to become leaders and to be a better them!”
Like everyone on the elected board, Bonsted wants to improve her sector the best way she can, “There are many impacts I want to make during this time I am serving; however, working on the student government union social media websites will be one of the many.”
Bonsted also hinted that she has many organizations’ social chair positions but wants to see, “SGU sites to have more of a following, reactions, comments, and contest.”