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  • Sydney Umstead, Asst. News Editor

USA Senators Discuss Their Prospects for Campus Change

By Sydney Umstead, Asst. News Editor

On April 16, senatorial candidates for USA (the Undergraduate Student Association) presented their speeches.

Jill Galanti, current executive vice president (EVP), opened the event stating, “These speeches are intended to allow our senators and VPBF candidates to convey what they would like to accomplish, their initiatives that they would like to achieve for students … [and] their qualifications for these positions.”

Each senatorial candidate received four minutes to present their speeches, and VPBF candidates received five minutes.

The candidates were given questions prior to writing their statements and came from Galanti, other USA members and a Google Form that was sent out campuswide for people to submit their questions to candidates.

The first group to speak were the VPBF (Vice President of Business and Finance) candidates, starting with Gabby Kaderli. Kaderli formerly served as freshman senator, dining hall liaison, sophomore senator, public health committee chair and member of the Finance Board for three semesters.

She highlighted her campaign by focusing on ensuring that the campus is “investing in local businesses and that we are supporting Black-owned and female-owned businesses.”

The second VPBF candidate was not in attendance, and with that the senatorial candidates speeches began.

The sophomore senatorial candidates began with Aaron Hall. Hall focused on questions of “why.” He felt inspired by EVP candidate Marja’e Johnson and her plan to “bring diversity into every area on campus.” After seeing Johnson’s efforts, he “felt a conviction … to assist in achieving this goal.”

Hall cited two productions held by the Afro-American Society where attendance “matched the demographic of the club” and said “the demographic seen on this campus should reflect the support given on this campus.”

Hall concluded by expressing his desire to work with club leaders, and he left the audience with a question: “If actions speak louder than words, do we really support all clubs, and do we really care for the entire student body?”

Following him was Analee DeGlopper. DeGlopper acknowledged potential concerns about being able to represent interests with her busy schedule and ensured, “I will give 110% of my dedication to our class if elected.”

DeGlopper continued to say that she served as a freshman senator and explained, “I believe my involvement has aided me in building connections with students from all over campus.”

One word that DeGlopper focused on during the final parts of her speech was “connectedness,” as she wants to encourage every student to get involved in clubs on campus.

Next was Destiny Goree. Goree started with advocating for students' mental health, and she highlighted her hopes to “implement mental health workshops and events that cater to the different aspects of self care and students’ overall wellbeing.”

Goree discussed making commuter spaces more comfortable and stated, “I’m committed and willing to put forth my best effort towards, not only the goals that I see but also towards those of my fellow classmates.”

Kaden Elliot then spoke. Elliot vowed to attempt to create more communication between “those making decisions and those the decisions impact.”

Aspects of his plan include using TVs around campus to broadcast information and utilizing The Griffin to produce “updates and reports from clubs and organizations, and also from administrators detailing exactly what’s going on campus.”

Elliot finished by responding to a question shared with him via an anonymous student. The student asked what part of campus Elliot was passionate about, and what he would like to make a contribution towards. He answered that he is “most passionate about the student experience.”

With that, Delaney Hayden was up. Hayden could not be in attendance due to illness, so her speech was presented by Jillian Galanti.

Hayden expressed that she hopes to accomplish “taking all of your amazing thoughts, ideas and voices and turning them into actions.”

She wrote, “It is through togetherness, unity, openness and acceptance of others, and listening to what they have to say, that we can make changes for the betterment of humanity.”

Following this, Gabby Kaderli began her speech for junior senator and stated, “I attribute most of the successes I have had in college in my academics, my leadership and friendships to USA.”

Kaderli ended with the statement, “I know that if I’m elected to the junior senator position that I will be great, and I will continue to advocate for my peers and for the Canisius community as a whole.”

Sharon Smith spoke next on her experience as a freshman senator where she experienced a sense of belonging. She also shared that, if elected, she would like to “start an initiative where we can get college students to donate their old textbooks.” This, Smith elaborated, would help students who are unable to purchase their textbooks still have a way to “study and do their homework.” Smith placed emphasis on aiding with mental health as she closed out her speech.

The last junior candidate was Vivian Etim, who focused on inclusivity. Etim stated, “We should strive to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all students, regardless of their country of origin.”

Some of her prospective plans include “organizing cultural events, offering language support services and providing mentorship programs.” Etim stated, “I am committed to working collaboratively with my fellow senators the concerns and needs of our student body.”

The voting begins at 9 a.m. on April 24 and ends on April 28 at 4 p.m. All voting will take place on GriffNet, and undergraduate students can cast one vote for each position.

The results will be announced no later than April 28 at 5:30 p.m.

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