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April 12, 2010 8:48 pm

SGA’s Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates



President: Colleen O’nEil
Vice President: HiLLary Powell

The ability to lead one’s school is not found within the Student Government Association Constitution; rather it is found in the candidate’s ability to read the student body and evoke change. Although Hillary and I have little experience on the procedures of the SGA we have a myriad of experience with leading others and effectively communicating to our peers. To be effective as President and Vice-President we should be able to gage the desires of our fellow students and act upon them. Hillary and I are involved in many diverse clubs and activities on campus; therefore, allowing us to be aware of what our student body is experiencing. Not only this but we are comfortable approaching those we do not know and ensuring that we are serving them as well. The President and Vice-President are liaisons between the student body and the administrators, and Hillary and I both are capable of communicating the needs of our students to the administration and following through. Our combined leadership experience has equipped us both with effective communication, delegation and organization skills. We want to be the voice for our fellow students and create the change that we know they desire.

Hillary and I both feel that being on the front lines of the SGA would be an excellent way to serve and give back to the community we love so much. Over the past three years, the St. Mary’s College community has allowed us to grow both personally and professionally, and we believe that serving as the President and Vice-President of the SGA would be a great way to ensure that other students continue to have the wonderful experiences we have had during our college careers. To represent the entire student body will be a challenge, but it is a challenge we are looking forward to. We both feel that the best things in life are those that are earned through hard work, dedication, and passion, and we are prepared to work to live up to the expectation set before us from the student body, as well as those we have set for ourselves.


President: Marlena Weiss

In December of 2008, I saw an all campus email requesting a new secretary for the Student Government Association. Having prior experience as a secretary in high school and wishing to get more involved with the SMCM community, I applied. A month later I was selected for the position. Without any understanding of parliamentary procedure or what exactly SGA was or how it worked, I accepted.

I spent that semester learning as fast as I could. Since then, I have gained an immense amount of respect for the role SGA plays here at St. Mary’s. I believe that I would do an excellent job of upholding this tradition as the next President of the SGA.

Ken Benjes, my running mate, holds two years of senate experience while I hold a year and a half of executive board experience. Combined, we have an extensive knowledge of how the SGA works. My primary interest as President is to let students know that the SGA is here exclusively to hear and act on their ideas. I want them to be aware of their elected officials and consult them frequently.

Some of the issues I would personally like to tackle next year include implementing a gender-neutral housing policy, opening the River Center as a year-round study space for students and creating an open space for discussing issues such as sexual assault, student violence, mental health, etc. I would also like to expand the library’s film collection, get students involved with programming events, introduce new, efficient technologies and, of course, continue the SGA’s current policies of supporting campus sustainability and spending our budget on what will benefit the student body in the best possible way.

I look forward to further supporting the St. Mary’s community through the SGA and I am confident in my ability to lead this important organization.

Vice President: Ken Benjes

Hi, My name is Ken Benjes. I’ve been a member of the SGA for two years now, working with the Buildings and Grounds committee, Publicity committee, and chairing the Food Services committee. Through these committees I have helped organize Campus safety assessments, Midnight Breakfast, and foam hand distribution during sporting events. During my time as a Senator I have sent out weekly updates to my constituents, and have live blogged the meetings to give the St. Mary’s community a sense of what goes on during SGA meetings. I feel that my goal as Vice President of the SGA would be to continue to bridge the gap between the SGA and the student body as a whole. Marlena and myself have spent a lot of time discussing our goals for SGA and have formed close relationships with the past two administrations, and would continue in their tradition of excellence. One of the key parts of being a Vice President is using a gavel to keep order and keep everyone on track, and I believe that I have a lot of experience with using hammers to hit things such as nails, stakes, and rocks. And as always, I will be running on a platform of keeping St. Mary’s free from terrorism. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

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