Juniors Sarah Rende and John Lee were announced as the 2014 Colgate Student Government Association (SGA) president and vice president on Monday, defeating Phil Steinberg and Laura Lee in a close race.
Rende is a political science concentrator from Long Island, and was also an SGA Senator. She currently works as the SGA’s liaison to student groups, helping students form organizations, overseeing their activities and funding process and other activities. John Lee is also a political science concentrator and international relations minor from Deerfield, Illinois. At Colgate, he has served as an SGA Senator and as a Student Life Policy Coordinator for the Executive Board, overseeing on-campus events and coordinating services such as the Syracuse airport shuttles.
The two ran on a three-part platform, with goals for academics, student life and how SGA is run. The two hope to add a dance minor program to the Colgate course offerings, and plan to expand study spaces (thesis carrels in particular) around campus. Rende and Lee are also planning to encourage the adoption of an organizational medical amnesty policy, offering protection to organizations that call for help in the case of a medical emergency. The pair will also work to establish open forums between students, the SGA and school officials, giving students a clear-cut opportunity to ask any questions they might have about the direction of school policies and increasing transparency between Colgate and
This year’s election involved the “highest voter turnout in recent memory,” according to an e-mail sent out by the SGA’s Election Commissioners. Over 1,300 votes were cast, and intense campaigning resulted in a tight contest.
“This election was able to reach more students than any in recent history because both sides were able to utilize social media to a large extent,” Lee said. “Both campaigns developed their own websites and advertised heavily on sites like Facebook and Twitter, and it definitely affected voter enthusiasm.”
Rende and Lee attended dozens of brown bags, athletic and cultural events and visited numerous organizations to discuss their platform and answer questions. One of the most rewarding parts of the process, Lee said, was the sheer number of people they met; the pair visited first-year students door-to-door, and both plan to attend future cultural and public events.
The election results were delayed in part by a discussion of potential campaign violations, although none were found. SGA el ections are governed by specific rules that outline when and how campaigning may take place, and the executive board discussed possible violations of these rules in a meeting this past Sunday. However, it was eventually agreed that the initial results had fairly determined the winner, and the SGA released the winners on Monday.
Rende and Lee will have their campaign website, www.rendelee.com, back up and running later this week. Any information about their goals for the future can be found there, as well as contact information for the two.
“We could not have done this without the help of a lot of people, and we’re really excited to work with Phil and Laura next year,” Lee said. “If any students have ideas or questions about policies next year, we encourage them to contact us at any time. We’re really excited for the opportunity.”