Political interest diminishing

Left to right: Casey Ansbro, Nick DiGiorgio, Eden Cohen, Shawn Brooks, Brady Willis, Shannon Davis, Santana Lardo and Samuel Miller participate in a student government meeting discussion.

Kaitlin R. Greenockle

Left to right: Casey Ansbro, Nick DiGiorgio, Eden Cohen, Shawn Brooks, Brady Willis, Shannon Davis, Santana Lardo and Samuel Miller participate in a student government meeting discussion.

Kaitlin R. Greenockle, News Editor

According to Student Government President Shelby Smith four Student Government members have resigned from the organization this semester.

Senior Tristan Lewis said she was a Student Government executive board member before she resigned this semester.

“I decided to resign just because I’m a senior, and I’m really focused on my future and my career path,” Lewis said.

She also said she had an opportunity to grow in her faith at Pitt-Johnstown. Catholic Campus Ministries, which holds a faith share event every Tuesday night during the student government meetings.

She said she decided to commit to her faith.

“I realized that my faith is forever. I found myself feeling more fulfilled after faith share than a student government meeting, so I chose what makes me happiest,” Lewis said.

She said she didn’t have a passion for student government like she used to.

Lewis said she thought it would only be fair to open up her position for someone who does have the drive for the position.

“I felt like I did my part already, and it was time to give someone else a turn,” Lewis said.

“All of these pieces fit together, so I saw it as a best fit to resign.”

She also said student government should only contain people who have a passion for changing the university and campus.

Sophomore Ryan Wiederstein said he was a part of student government for a little over a year and resigned while he was serving as the Recreation and Publicity Chairman.

He joined during his freshman year because he was part of his high school’s student leadership group and his older brother was a Pitt-Johnstown’s student government member and said he would be a good fit, according to Wiederstein.

“I resigned because my schedule was jam-packed, and I needed to free up some time.”

“I didn’t really want to because I love student government and everyone on it, but it took up some time that I needed.”

Freshman Jessica Numer was a student government member for just a few days before she resigned, according to Numer.

The former freshman representative said she joined because she wanted to get involved on campus and be a part of the solutions, not the problems.

Numer said she resigned because the meeting time interfered with her prior commitment to faith share.

“I felt that growing in my faith was more important than joining student government,” Numer said.

She said she was upset that she had to resign, but that it was the best decision for her.

Senior Alina Allison said she joined student government as a junior and resigned after about one semester.

Allison joined after attending a club and organization budgeting meeting and was interested in the issues that student government members had talked about, she said.

“Overall, I really liked the impact they made on campus,” Allison said.

She said she had to resign as a senior senator because she was hired for an internship that conflicted with the student government meeting time.

“I wouldn’t have resigned if I didn’t have this obligation,” Allison said.

Student Government Executive Board Representative Jeffery Wainwright said the resignations and empty positions show that they are struggling as an organization.

“The question is what do we do about it to better represent the student body?” Wainwright said.   

According to the student government Constitution’s, by-laws and appendices once a senator takes the oath, they are committing to that position until the final student government meeting under that administration.

However, it is stated in its by-laws that a student government member can resign at any time, the majority of the organization has to accept it.

So far this year at student government meetings, resignation letters have been read, but members have not voted on whether they accept the resignation.

This year, all upperclassman senators automatically were given a seat in student government since only 27 students applied for a seat, and there were 28 seats available.

Also, all freshman senators automatically were given a seat since seven students applied and there were nine open seats.

In order to fill the remaining seats, elections were once again opened to fill those spots.

The student body was not able to vote for that election, only student government members were.

It states in student government’s constitution that if more than 28 students run for an upperclassman position, the election is open to the student body to vote.

The same goes for freshman positions. If more than nine freshman students run, it is open to the student body to vote.

The only Student Government members who had been elected by the student body in the past year have been President Shelby Smith and Vice President Kyle Maguire.