Experience matters. That’s according to current SGA President Anthony Vitale and current Vice President Lily Wallace, who are seeking re-election for next year. The two candidates sat down with the WMUA News team to talk about their campaign before the election next week.
One of the largest goals of Vitale and Wallace is to re-open the Hatch, the former eatery in the basement of the Student Union that has been unused since the renovations of Blue Wall began in 2014.
“We see such need for student space on campus. We have students coming to us everyday asking us how they can get more space, how they can be meeting and doing all these things, and we’re just like, well, we have this large space, why are we wasting it?” says Wallace.
Opening the Hatch will double the amount of space for Registered Student Organizations, Vitale explains.
But for the Hatch to open, it has to be a retail dining service first, like Peet’s Coffee at the Integrative Learning Center.
“Something that we have agreed with Dining that eventually the Hatch will have Peet’s taken out of it and it’s going to be offered up to student businesses because for us, we think student businesses are phenomenal. We love them. We’re working really hard to give People’s dining dollars as they’ve been fighting that fight for years. We’re really excited for the Hatch to be a great space to house student businesses,” says Wallace.
Anthony Vitale was elected to the Presidential position last March. Vitale’s former Vice President Nick Rampone resigned last semester due to study abroad plans. Current Vice President Lily Wallace was elected to fill in Rampone’s role last month. She and Vitale have been working together ever since.
Vitale described his working relationship with Wallace, “We’ve been great partners within SGA, really working hard to get the job done.”
Formerly, Wallace has served as the Undersecretary of University Policy for the past two years. “We’re both coming from a lot of institutional knowledge within the SGA, as well as outside activities.”
Anthony Vitale has experience in SGA via a “financial track.” He worked with the Ways and Means Committee, which is responsible for designating budgets to all Registered Student Organizations (RSOs). The SGA is given a budget of $3.1 million each year. Vitale, who later became Secretary of Finance of the SGA, along with the Ways and Means Committee, worked with RSO executive board members to fund those organizations based on perceived need and budget requests.
“We think that us having the experience leading the institution is a great benefit to the student body as a whole, as we were able to develop amazing relationships with administration.”
Vitale has over seen the enactment of early voting on campus in the 2016 Presidential election, plans to develop student spaces in the Hatch of the Student Union, and also advocating for student business success.
The Student Government Association (SGA) is holding elections beginning this Monday March 6th at 12am, through Wednesday, March 8th at 11:59pm. The SGA is generally tasked with representing the student body, and works closely with administration in governing the campus community.
Reporting and Producing: Lucy Martirosyan and Dalante Castle