Leadership to be tested

Jacob Williamson-Rea, Contributing Writer

Shelby Smith, Pitt-Johnstown Student Government President, says the upcoming election may postpone several big-ticket items if she is not re-elected.

“This past year went well. Electing a different president may lead to delays regarding the Pitt-Johnstown bookstore privatization, for example. Catching up a new president would be a pain,” says Smith.

Smith, the incumbent presidential candidate, says she has planned on teaming up again with vice presidential candidate Kyle Maguire for quite some time.

“Kyle and I announced we were running together on Feb. 20, during the Pitt-Johnstown winter formal dance.”

Maguire, a Pitt-Johnstown sophomore, serves as president pro tempore and Student Policies chair.

Last year, Smith ran unopposed. She says she was surprised when she learned that Nicholas DiGiorgio was running for president with Madison Nick  running for vice president.

Smith says her experience will play a factor during voting, but she is not taking the competition lightly.

“Any competition should be taken seriously, but I think I have the support of the faculty, staff and students.”

DiGiorgio and Nick say they disagree with Smith; they say they carry the students’ support and do not consider themselves underdogs.

“Initially, we decided to run because of the student support we were receiving,” says Nick.

DiGiorgio says he and Nick, both Pitt-Johnstown sophomores, hold student government positions that make them ideal candidates.

DiGiorgio says he serves as a Pitt-Johnstown student senator, parliamentarian and campus development chair. He also serves as an executive board member.

Nick says her current position, student allocations chair, has prepared her for vice presidency.

“After serving in such a crucial role, not only do I know the budgeting process very well, but I know many different leaders and students.”

All seem to agree that student allocations are the most important aspect of Pitt-Johnstown student government.

“Dealing with funds is at the forefront of our duties,” says Smith.

Nick says money collected through the student activity fee is distributed to Pitt-Johnstown student organizations.

DiGiorgio says he and Nick are aware of students’ concerns regarding the $83 student activity fee each student is required to pay each year.

Maguire says this is a meager sum for those who participate on campus, compared with paying for each individual club membership or event.

In fact, Smith and Maguire aim to raise the student activity fee to $100 per year, which is a 20 percent increase.

“This increase would allow us to appropriate the funds so that clubs avoid scrutinizing one another in order to increase allocations. The increase would account for new club budgets,” Maguire says.

Smith says clubs can request funds from student government if they provide prior purchase proof. She says the student government finalized the allocations March 23.

“Clubs with more active members, higher dues and fundraisers are usually given more money,” says Maguire. “There are no exact percentages, but we take these things into account.”

DiGiorgio says he aims to make this process more efficient. He would like the clubs that benefit the most students to receive more funding.

“People will find student apathy on every campus. Madison and I want to focus our energy on non-wasteful things for students who choose to be involved and clubs who consistently have high numbers.”

DiGiorgio says this is one of his three main goals he and Nick will work toward if elected.

Another goal is to reward student leaders who make a difference on campus. Pitt-Johnstown student government has voted unanimously to create a Student Leadership Award.

The duo also say they want to allow students to directly interact with student government chairs in a forum setting.

DiGiorgio says the forum would be open to students for almost an entire day.

Nick says this would increase communication between the students and student government.

Both parties say they encourage students to vote. Voting is to take place from 10 a.m., April 1 to 10 p.m., April 2 on the Pitt-Johnstown Campus Services website.