Making it official

The ExCEL ticket won all but one position in the election for the 2003-2004 SGI Executive Board on March 26 and 27.

ExCEL’s only loss came at the position of vice president in the elections for the seven positions on the Executive Board, which was also the only race in which the ticket was challenged.

That challenge came in the form of independent candidate Louis Saavedra who ran against ExCEL candidate Johanna Ellerup. Saavedra, currently the sophomore senator, felt that he had the experience and know-how to challenge for the job.

“I felt that I had all the right stuff,” Saavedra said. “I was the right man for the position.”

Junior Fabrice Armand, co-architect of ExCEL, was the sole candidate for president. Armand has been involved with SGI all three of his years at St. John’s, and this will be his second year of involvement on the executive board.

Armand previously served as a member of the Public Relations Committee and as the sophomore senator and is currently chair of the Student Affairs and Student Services Committee. Earlier this year he began to form the ExCEL ticket out of “dedicated individuals who have proven their worth,” each with experience in several organizations around the campus.

“These are people who have clearly demonstrated leadership abilities,” Armand said. “We’ve represented a wide variety of groups.”

One such individual is sophomore Jenny Tam who was elected as secretary on the ticket. Tam is currently a sophomore representative for the College of Pharmacy & Allied Professions and has also been involved in several other campus organizations, which led Armand to approach her for the ticket.

“The ExCEL ticket is a strong team,” Tam said. “Everyone on the ticket is a true leader with similar goals and dreams.”

Junior Andrew Jarrett, treasurer-elect, expressed similar reasons for joining the ExCEL ticket.

“I felt that the platform ExCEL set forth was good,” Jarrett said. “It was very academics driven and focused on working to be more open to organizations and the student body.”

This will be Jarrett’s third year of involvement with SGI, having served as the representative of Tobin College of Business the last two years, while also working this year as SGI’s Budget Committee Chair.

“Andrew has demonstrated much experience and ability in financial matters,” Armand said.

Sophomore Christopher Coes won the Junior Senator position. This will be his third year of SGI experience as well. He previously held the positions of Chair of the Research and Development Committee as well as residence representative and served his freshman year as a general member. The other two class senate winners were freshman Giuseppe Siena who will serve as sophomore senator and junior Brian Chambers who will be senior senator.

The job of class senator is more specific than that of the other four positions on the Executive Board, as it requires them to directly serve the interests of each class. Coes, for instance plans to introduce the idea of junior forums to allow members of the class to express things they feel require attention.

“It’s all about getting out there among your peers,” Coes said. “You need to get your name out there and let them know we’re here to hear what they have to say.”

ExCEL, which stands for Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership, ran their campaign around five primary platforms. The three main goals of the ticket were centered on the ideas of improving relationships with students and campus organizations by increasing their involvement with SGI, as well as increased awareness of academics on campus, which some on the ticket feel has “been pushed to the side.”

“We want to work on increasing awareness of academics,” Armand said, on which he feels there has been “not so much focus” recently. Among the plans ExCEL had for bringing academics back to the forefront, is sponsoring an academic lecture series of high-profile speakers, with one lecture coming each semester. “I think we could get some big turnouts.”

Another goal was to “emphasize the Vincentian spirit” by encouraging student organizations to become more involved in community service. As a result, they plan to introduce a proposal that would recognize a “student organization of the month.” The award would be given to the organization that performed the most community service in a month. The award includes an additional $100 budget allocation.

While Saavedra shares the common goal of giving students a greater voice on campus, his other platforms differ greatly from that of ExCEL. Saavedra’s first platfrom centered more on ways to improve campus safety and quality of life, such as providing First-Aid kits on all floors in each of the campus buildings. He also hopes to station a nurse in the Residence Village as well as have a doctor on campus every day.