Meet the Candidates

Samantha Higgins

On Thursday Feb. 18, University of New Haven students had the opportunity to meet the candidates running for USGA for the 2016-2017 school year. Each candidate had the opportunity to talk about why they were running, what they would do if they were elected, and why they felt they were best for the position.

Steven Gillette opened the night as the first presidential candidate running. He is an active member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity on campus, previously serving as the treasurer and having the opportunity to attend their leadership school. He is an accounting and economics double major and has previously served as a USGA senator.

Gillette feels he would be a good choice for president because he feels he is “the best representation of all the demographics on campus,” and that he would be able to “get the best work done on campus with administration.” He is running because he “really wants to represent the UNH student body” to the best of his abilities.

Up next was Samantha Moul, a Forensic Psychology major minoring in sociology; she said she is hoping to add another minor in gender studies if the university makes it available. She spoke on her adjustment to UNH, stating “I wasn’t always a leader, when I got to UNH I found that what is important here is having a voice and being here.”

She first got involved in USGA for Honors Student Council in the beginning of her sophomore year. In addition to her involvement with Honors Student Council, she is a Diversity Peer Educator, Director of Finance for Delta Phi Epsilon sorority, a founding member of the Campus Climate Coalition, and Executive Assistant to current USGA President, James Kielar. She shared with the students that she aspires to be president because she wants “to be able to give back to the students and student body,” and shared that “getting involved here, you don’t find your home: you create it.”

The last presidential candidate to speak was Mackenzie Upshaw, a Forensic Psychology major and current president of the Black Student Union. Upshaw started her involvement in USGA her sophomore year as a representative, and has other leaderships positions on campus including conduct board, advisory board and Campus Climate Coalition. She is running for president “to serve students,” and because she “wants students to feel safe, comfortable, and feel that their voices are being heard and acted upon.”

The candidates for this year’s USGA election (Photo by Samantha Higgins)
The candidates for this year’s USGA election
(Photo by Samantha Higgins)

After the presidential nominees, the treasurer candidates took the floor, starting with Nicolette Angelli, a sophomore criminal justice major.“I went out for budget committee, realized how interested I was in the whole process and it’s something I want to learn more about,” she said. She is the president of the Class of 2018, Sergeant at Arms for Delta Phi Epsilon sorority, a member of student life advisory board, and has been involved in USGA since she first got on campus.

Nina Zannino, the final treasurer candidate, is a junior majoring in psychology. She is currently the President of Phi Sigma Sigma sorority and the Vice President of SCOPE. While a member of budget committee, she “fell in love with helping RSOs and students with the budgeting process.” She told students that “a lot of schools don’t have the money we do” and she believes that students should be fortunate for the money we do have for activities.

After the conclusion of presidential and treasurer candidates, senator candidates had the opportunity to speak about why they were interested in becoming a senator, or why they were interested in being reelected as a senator. Candidates came from every year and all majors, as well as all forms of involvement on campus.

Matthew Clark, a sophomore fire arson major said “I want to be able to advocate for all the students on campus and really be able to maximize the potential this campus has to offer.”

All senator candidates spoke of wanting to “help the community” at UNH and make sure students know what resources are available to them. Keelin Herbst, Vice President of Phi Sigma Sigma, shares that “it’s so cool that we, as students, have a voice on campus, and I see how much our voices are impacting the community and I really want to continue that.”

The next opportunity to meet the candidates is Wednesday Mar. 2 at 9 p.m. in the Alumni Lounge for the second debate before voting.