IGNITE and FRESH square off in SGI E-Board debate; discuss progress and accountability


In order to garner student interest as well as votes, candidates running for Student Government, Inc. Executive Board held a debate this past Monday.

The two platforms, IGNITE and FRESH, each stated their respective ideas and goals for next year.  IGNITE is aiming for a more progressive St. John’s, while FRESH places focus on accountability and organizations.

Candidates from both tickets have previous experience with SGI as well as other leadership roles within the St. John’s community.

Junior Jennifer Rankin, running for President on the IGNITE ticket, stated the ticket’s progressive ideas in her opening remarks, mentioning the possibilities of a bike-sharing program, environmentally friendly hand driers in the bathrooms, reverse vending machines, and the use of StormCards at off-campus restaurants.  IGNITE also plans to strengthen the appropriate interdepartmental ties in order to help students with graduation and course requirements.  Rankin also stated the desire to fight to keep the Manhattan shuttle.

FRESH, led by presidential hopeful junior Robert Koehler, places their focus on accountability, helping student organizations, and increasing connections to the Career Center.  They also wish to start a Traditions Committee that would highlight past traditions of the University, and institute an open-door policy, giving students access to their E-board members whenever needed.

A hot-button issue within SGI as of late has been the guest sign-in policy.  IGNITE promises to work on making changes to the policy, especially when it comes to St. John’s students staying in other dorms.

Rankin said, “We don’t think that if you’re studying with another student that you should have to leave at 3 in the morning.  We will talk and work with different departments and listen to what students want, focus on what they want, and see what we can do to fix it.”

Koehler responded, saying that FRESH is not afraid to ask the question about the sign-in policy.

“We are here to represent students and see what we can do for them and we are not afraid to have this conversation, or maybe not go all the way with our goal, but try to find a compromise between us and administration to help the student body,” Koehler said.

Transparency in SGI is also a major issue, and both sides had different ideas on how to better increase transparency.  Sophomore Luke DaMommio, running for Secretary on the IGNITE ticket, said that students should have more knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes of SGI.

“There’s a lot of things I think students should hear about, such as meetings with higher-up administration,” DaMommio said.  “I think those are conversations that need to be displayed to the student body, because if the student body knows more about what’s going on behind the scenes, a lot of communication problems can be stopped.”

Domenick Luongo, running for Secretary on the FRESH ticket, said in response that he places importance on having and open-door policy.

“I will do everything in my power to come up with a compromise between administrators and our executive board,” Luongo said.

Members from both tickets promise an open-door policy once in office, stating that they are there to serve students in any capacity with any problem that may arise.

Both sides also have ideas when it comes to remembering the traditions of St. John’s.  IGNITE plans to continue with their social media campaign, #SJU100, which serves as a sort of bucket list for students.

Rankin said, “Tell us something you want to do before you graduate using the hashtag SJU100.  You can also search the hashtag and see what other people have done.”

Koehler provided a rebuttal to this idea, saying that FRESH will focus on uniting the student body in other ways by having events in front of Carnesecca and D’Angelo Center before sporting events, and starting a traditions committee to remember traditions from years past.  “Let’s try to unite the student body and try to get everyone to feel as one,” Koehler said.

Both tickets have different ideas of what SGI should focus on next year, but both place an emphasis on helping students with any concerns or problems they may have.