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DePaul SGA candidates make case for election

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DePaul Student Government Association (SGA) elections began Monday and will go through Friday as students decide who will represent them in the upcoming academic year.

Despite SGA not releasing a list of candidates prior to Election Day, several candidates got their names out early through social media and in-person campaigning in and around campus.

In addition, candidates running for cabinet debated in front of the DePaulia editorial board last week. The sessions lasted about 30 minutes each, with questions dealing with issues for the specific position as well as more holistic SGA questions and questions submitted by students.

Among those who debated were presidential candidates Vanessa Cadavillo and Luke Kula, who are facing off for an office that in recent years has not been contested. Kula, running on the Vincentians United ticket, is running as a reform candidate seeking to make SGA more transparent and attentive to student needs.

“If you’re a voter out there, and you like the direction SGA is going in … then by all means vote for my opponent,” Kula said. “But, if you ask yourself the question of what must be done, and you’re your answer is more, then please vote for myself and vote for Vincentians United.”

The candidates running with Kula on the VU slate based much of their campaign on increasing transparency along with striving to cater to the non-traditional student, which they say is increasingly becoming the norm.

“We still treat students like they’re able to be 100 percent students, which that’s simply not the case,” said Tyler Solorio, VU’s candidate for EVP of Academic Affairs, said. “We have students who are working full time, we have students who are working multiple jobs, we have students who have children, we have students who come from dynamic backgrounds … we need to find new ways of having the faculty and the administration treat those students in regards to specific policies.”

Cadavillo, on the other hand, stated that her three main initiatives were education affordability, inclusivity and collaboration, and making SGA and advocate in Chicago and Illinois. Cadavillo herself is a non-traditional student being a first- generation college student and commuter from the suburbs.

“I love DePaul. I love the community, I love the students, I love the experiences that I’ve had,” Cadavillo said. “And I can’t say that every student has had those experiences and I recognize it. And I also recognize there are improvements to be made. I am willing to go outside my comfort zone, I am willing to challenge people from within SGA to get out of their comfort zones, to engage with students they normally wouldn’t have to and to  make sure that each student has a fulfilling experience here.”

Last year, Cadavillo ran on a ticket with current SGA president Matthew von Nida that was backed by outgoing president Casey Clemmons. Many of her initiatives also mirror that of her predecessors. Her vice presidential pick is current EVP for Academic Affairs Ric Popp.

Kula is running on a ticket with incumbent Senator for Community and Government Relations Michelle An.

Other debates took place between Solorio and Kristina Pouliot, who discussed several issues facing students in the realm of academic affairs. Cara Anderson and Patrick Pfohl discussed how to increase student safety and wellness as well as bridging the gap between SGA and student organizations in the realm of student affairs.

Current Senator for First Year Students Adriana Kemper and Lindsey Salter discussed sustainability and campus life regarding operations.

Turnout is a wild card as there is no referenda on the ballot this year after Feminist Front’s contraceptive initiative got kicked off for a lack of signatures. Last year, the divest vote drove pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli to the polls.

After the decision, Feminist Front released a statement stating they “will be discontinuing its relationship with SGA.”

“We have realized over the past year that it is not an effective method to air grievances to the campus, nor is it possible with the current policies of SGA for student needs to be truly addressed,” the statement said.

The results will be announced Friday evening and winning candidates will take office the following Thursday.

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DePaul SGA candidates make case for election