New SGA President and Vice President Hope to Tackle: Priority Registration, Perspectives Courses and Others

Kelly Craig and Alexandra Tuyahow have been elected President and Vice President of the Student Government Association for the 2013-2014 school year and are looking to take their prior experiences and apply them to their new positions.

Craig is a 21-year-old junior political science major from Monroe Township. She is currently a residential assistant and a member of the Political Science Club on campus. Next year, in addition to being SGA President, she will be co-captain of the University Debate Team and will serve as President of the political science honor society, Pi Sigma Alpha. She also works for human resources on campus.

When Craig joined SGA in her freshman year, she was involved in the “Giving Tree” Campaign. During her sophomore year, she was chairperson of Spring Fest and named historian, which is an executive position for SGA. This year she served as Vice President with Oscar Sanchez, senior communication major.

Tuyahow is a 20-year-old sophomore business/accounting major from Farmingdale, NJ. She is currently a member of the sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon and works for Student Services on campus.

Student issues that Craig and Tuyahow want to deal are priority registration, the reasoning behind the perspective courses that seniors are forced to take and to focus on their relationship with Aramark. Both Craig and Tuyahow invite students to approach them with their thoughts on these issues so they can speak the students’ minds.

One of the major problems that Craig and Tuyahow hope to combat is student involvement.

One way that Tuyahow mentions is the “Open your MonMOUTH” campaign, which allows students to connect to SGA. Tuyahow also hopes to eliminate rumors, such as the amount spent on landscaping and wants to encourage more students to join SGA as general members, which any student can be.

Craig agrees that she would like to see more students become general members. She wants to get more students involved in the Fresh-Start program which is a program to help freshmen contribute to SGA. Craig does say SGA has increased its amounts of general members in the past year.

Lack of school spirit is one of the issue that Craig and Tuyahow said SGA has attempted to address in years past, especially athletic games. However, Craig said, “We are trying to encourage people to support the student-athletes, but we need the student-athletes to support student leaders. We need an overall support of each other and that will come from working with other clubs.”

Craig said that student school spirit must come from the freshmen to the seniors. “School spirit must be a from-the-ground, grassroots movement.” Craig said that one of the main areas they need to focus on is getting the freshmen involved earlier. However, Tuyahow said that school spirit comes from students who are more involved. “The more involved you are, the more school pride you have,” said Tuyahow.

Tuyahow said that another great reason to join SGA is the professional opportunity it offers. Tuyahow said that multiple members of SGA meet with deans, vice presidents and members of residential life. Tuyahow invites all students to come to one meeting to “see what gets done.”

Craig said that students come up to her inquiring about events or issues happening on campus, but said that “There may be a student in your class that is part of SGA who can assist you as well.”

When Tuyahow joined SGA in her freshman year, she assisted in planning the “Holiday Bizarre.” This year she was chairperson of “The Big Event” and now serves as PresidentPro-Temprore.

Craig believes she is prepared to be president because she has gone through every part of SGA and has risen through the levels. Craig said this gives her a knowledge to what every person is going through. She said that the other roles that she has had contributed to her having a well-rounded knowledge of campus.

“The other roles I have had on campus gives me a knowledge of campus. Being an RA, I get to have that residential side, but then working with human resources I get a connection with the faculty. Being in my academic area, I get to understand more of the academic side and understands what all students are going through,” said Craig.

Tuyahow has also gone through every level of SGA and wants to be the person that members of the Senate can turn to aside from Craig.

Tuyahow said that her job at Student Services has given her an advantage for next year. “Working for student services, I see everything our secretary Betty, our secretary does. I get to see everything that happens behind the scenes and that’s something I feel a lot of members don’t get to see,” said Tuyahow.

Craig said that even though it may be corny,  the University is her second home. She does admit that after freshman year if it were not for SGA, she may not have stayed. She wants the chance to give that same opportunity to someone else. “This job gives me a chance to reach out to many different groups on campus,” said Craig.

Tuyahow said that SGA is her main priority over any other campus activity and wants to inspire other students involved in SGA. She said, “I want to be the leader that inspires the leaders.”

One of their goals for next year is to reach out to multiple clubs and get a lot of them involved such as the “Wave of Hope” benefit concert, which according to Craig, had eight or nine clubs involved and raised over $1,000 for Sandy charity. Craig also wants to strengthen bonds with alumni and administration.

With a new President coming in for the 2013-2014 academic year, Craig and Tuyahow hope to have a similar relationship that they have had with President Paul Gaffney II, who will retire after this year concludes. They hope to sit down and discuss campus issues with Dr. Paul Brown, the new president, early in the 2013-2014 school year.

“He [Brown] seems like he supports the students, which is what we are here to do and hopefully it will open more doors to us because it will help to have someone with a fresh outlook and new ideas,” said Craig.

Another issue facing SGA is the state of the economy. Craig and Tuyahow said that they are given a budget every year to allocate funds to the clubs on campus. However, this year SGA was not given an increase in the budget, but clubs and organizations are asking for more money due to the rising costs of traveling and food, among other needs.

Oscar Sanchez, current SGA President, said that he expects great things from Craig and Tuyahow and offers some advice.

“I would tell the ladies to remember that as hectic and stressful as times may get, SGA is also an organization where great memories and relationships could be built. If it’s all work and no play, they’ll miss out on those opportunities,” said Sanchez.

Vaughn Clay, Director of Off-Campus and Commuter Services and co-advisor of SGA said he is very confident in Craig and Tuyahow’s ability to lead SGA.

“I am confident that they will continue the tradition of serving as the voice of the Monmouth University study body and in promoting the concepts of engaged student leadership,” said Clay.

Mary Anne Nagy is Vice President for Student and Community Services and co-advisor of SGA with Clay. Nagy has been working with SGA since 1994

Nagy said that the best advice she has for Craig and Tuyahow is to keep an open mind like they have in prior positions in SGA.

“They may be particularly passionate about an issue but they are also open to all sides and that’s very important when you move into a leadership role,” said Nagy.