SGA E-Board Candidates Debate For A Win


Maria Basileo

SGA presidential candidates Vice President Dante Solano, left, and Senator Roshanay Tahir, right, vouched for their campaigns at Monday’s SGA debate.

Isabella Chan, Assistant News Editor

The night before voting opened for the Student Government Association’s e-board election, candidates pitched their platforms one last time in a bid for wins.

The debate was moderated by Dr. Robbin Smith, department chair of political science and Scott Hazan, director of Student Activities and Leadership Development.

Presidential candidates Dante Solano and Roshanay Tahir agreed on many of the debate topics discussed, specifically on the need to improve the SGA’s relationship with students and the university’s overall relationship with the surrounding community and Connecticut as a whole.

Solano said he wants to build upon the connection between the SGA and CCSU students, recommending that more students sit in on committees and reach out to the people.

“Students are the force and the force is in the numbers of the students we can represent and get to things, like open floors,” Solano stated. “A great avenue for SGA to engage students is through the External Affairs Committee and reach out because I want to engage and make it better as president of this organization.”

Tahir also said she wants to help the SGA grow so it can become more involved with student and community relations.

“In regards to Town and Gown meetings, [the External Affairs] committee makes efforts for all committee members to go as well as SGA members,” Tahir said. “I want to make it more available to the public so CCSU students can know what’s happening and New Britain can see CCSU students are making an effort.”

Andrew Pilkons, vice presidential candidate, is running unopposed after James Angelopoulos withdrew from the race. Pilkons’s primarily focus is on strengthening the bond between SGA senators and e-board members.

“I believe the vice president is mostly concerned with internal matters. My priority is being a personal and an approachable vice president,” Pilkon said. “I want to make sure senators feel comfortable coming to me for both advice and whatever they may need help with.” 

Pilkons also discussed Central’s diversity, stating it is one of the university’s greatest assets. He hopes to “train senators in all aspects of diversity” and build stronger relationships with the cultural clubs on campus.

Treasurer candidates Demitric Baez and Nicole Elsinger had similar ideas for the role, but different approaches of leadership styles.

Elsinger described herself as “very motivated” and wanting to be fair to all opinions.

“I want to ensure that everyone who wants to say something has the opportunity to say something about that issue before discussion is closed. I don’t want anyone to feel that their opinions weren’t tolerated – everyone is accepted. Fundamentally, this is a kindergarten rule, but there are no dumb ideas or bad questions,” Elsinger stated.

Baez, on the other hand, described himself as more of a “guide” and as being transparent with all students looking to the e-board for financial advice and support.

“Being a leader requires one to have all the knowledge necessary to make responsible decisions, but also considering the opinions and different factors other people bring into play,” Baez said. “Every person on the time is just as value as another.” 

Following the debate, Central students in attendance asked the candidates questions on their future plans for the position, many of which came from current SGA President Kassandra Fruin and current SGA Treasurer Kristina DeVivo.

DeVivo reflected on her experiences as treasurer to ask Baez and Elsinger how they will work to provide and ensure Central clubs get financial advice and support.

Both candidates agreed they would examine the amounts spent and enrollment rate of each year to create a baseline and strong decisions based on numbers. They also both stated budget cuts were not ideal and would work to limit changes as much as possible.

Fruin also shared her experiences of struggling with time management as the SGA president and asked Solano and Tahir how they plan to adjust their time to make sure their tasks are delegated efficiently.

“If elected as president, I would prioritize senate first and make my schedule to wrap around senate meetings, working with President Dr. Zulma Toro and faculty senate,” Tahir said.

Solano responded that he’d allow other SGA members to participate in events if he and the rest of the e-board couldn’t make it, something he believed would be beneficial.

“Not everyone can do everything sometimes, so it’s important to have e-board members and other [SGA] Senate members help you do that,” Solano said. “So if we have meetings [that the e-board cannot attend], then we can have another SGA member join in. This way senators can gain experience and benefit their future as well.”