Students had the opportunity to elect a new Fairfield University Student Association (FUSA) president and vice president on Tuesday, Feb. 27, who will serve as representatives of the undergraduate student body during the 2018-2019 school year.
The winners of the Tuesday election were juniors Danielle Rice and Matthew Marshall, FUSA director of the programming board and Chief Justice of the FUSA court, respectively. Rice will become the new student body president and Marshall became the new vice president.
The ballots were all cast online and then tallied via Orgsync, but there was a constitutional issue behind the scenes involving the Chief Justice of the FUSA court.
Senior Anthony Szymonik, the newly appointed election commissioner, commented that, “Matthew Marshall was appointed Chief Justice, so he would typically take this role as election commissioner and pretty much do the duties that I am doing myself right now”.
As part of FUSA executive order 70-02, which was issued by current president Cara Gibbons ‘18, Marshall recused himself of his duties as Chair of the Election Committee due to interest for office executive on Wednesday, Jan. 24.
The order formally appointed Associate Justice Szymonik as the Chair of the Election Committee in the absence of the Chief Justice.
During the candidates’ debate on Thursday, Feb. 22, many issues were brought up, such as the shortage of parking on campus and the availability, or lack thereof, of contraceptives on campus. Another matter which was discussed concerned the environmental implications of campus services, which all the candidates agreed to be wasteful and had room for improvement.
Junior Nicholas Lanni, who ran as vice president with Katherine Santo ‘19 as president, noted that it is crucial for there to be some form of dialogue regarding the potential distribution of contraceptives on campus, since it is a reality of life at college that people are engaging in sexual activity, as he put it. Lanni responded to the idea of parents being opposed to condoms being sold in the bookstore with, “get a grip.”
Vice president-elect Marshall felt that one of the more pressing environmental issues on campus was that of the Stag Bus always running, so he suggested that the bus should be turned off for at least 20 minutes or so every hour.
Santo argued that the sprinkler system on campus is very wasteful and that the university should take steps in the long run to save water and money, as well as the environment.
Junior Brandon Arnold, the finance coordinator at the council of student organizations (COSO) who ran as vice president with Julian Falcioni ‘19 as president, emphasized that each building on campus should have a water bottle filling station and that the university should host more zero-waste events on campus.
Furthermore, the topic of hard alcohol being available on campus was mentioned, with Lanni saying that the problem is not necessarily hard alcohol, but the issue lies within the culture that has been created here on campus. Regardless of whether they were to ban hard alcohol, he argued that students would still find a way to get drunk in some form or another.
Rice felt that, “Matt and I collectively cover a lot of disciplines, clubs and organizations on campus in addition to FUSA that are very different, so together I feel like we will be able to reach a majority of the student population”
Marshall further highlighted that, “Danielle and I represent two different schools in the university. We both have a plethora of experience, Danielle with programming and senior week, me both on the court and as a student athlete.”
Falcioni argued in his campaign that for academics, “we want seniors who are interested in taking Dolan School of Business classes to be able to as long as they are introductory and open, but normally they have to go and take the entire core.”
One student, Bonnie Vieten ‘20, said that, “I think our next president and vp [vice president] should make events on campus more fun and interesting for the students. They could be improved for sure.”
First-Year Ronald Rodriguez highlighted that, “as a commuter, I feel like the president should advocate for commuters more often.” Rodriguez went on to say that there should be better food offered at the Daniel and Grace Tully Dining Commons.
In terms of voter turnout, Szymonik said that, “Every year FUSA is doing something new. I know for this year, it is very heavy on social media and on digital services in order to get that voter turnout.”
Szymonik, in relation to the turnout, commented that it was very refreshing to see such a high turnout for this year’s election. According to Szymonik, the voter turnout came in at a total of 1276 responses, including 346 first-year students, 407 sophomores, 356 juniors, and 167 seniors. Rice and Marshall won by 38.32 percent of the vote.
FUSA President-Elect Rice outlined the hopes for her presidency by saying, “Matt and I are really looking forward to continuing some of the initiatives that have been started so far this year and in past years. In our platform, we discussed extending a shuttle across campus, working to build a more substantial budget for our fall concert and trying to figure out a safe rides program from the beach on the weekends to ensure the safety of all of our students.”