Spring Elections Present New Student Association Board

The Student Association of SUNY New Paltz ensures fair representation of the student body in all college-related matters and distributes mandatory activity fees.

The student association (SA) at New Paltz is the governing body that represents the student body and oversees more than 100 student organizations.

Elections are held for the Executive Board positions every spring. The most recent election took place between April 29 and May 2. Here are the results.

President – Taijah Pink

SA President is the principal representative of the SA and is the chairperson of the Executive Board. 

Pink is a third-year student with a major in sociology and a concentration in criminology, along with a minor in law and politics. Clubs will recognize Pink from council of organization meetings where she currently holds the position of chairperson, meaning that she oversees all clubs on campus. 

“I think I can bring a very go get ‘em attitude to the job,” Pink said. “I knew I could make a difference and shine more light on SA and show people what it means. The power students have is unbelievable and I want them to know that.” 

Pink hopes that her impact as president is positive and wants more people to understand SA. She also wants to make sure that she takes steps to be a guide to the president that comes after her.

Executive Vice President (EVP) – KJay Gourdine

The EVP is second in command, assuming the duties for the President if necessary. Among their many duties, the EVP reviews issues regarding student life on and off campus, chairs multiple committees and serves as the student liason for the Office of Student Affairs. 

Gourdine is a third-year student majoring in communication disorders and double minoring in black studies and deaf studies. Gourdine transferred here in 2017 and held this position through the 2018-2019 academic year, making her the only incumbent on the new Executive Board. Gourdine originally ran for the position because she wanted to push herself, didn’t want to keep limiting herself and prove to herself and others that she could achieve something big. 

“I re-ran this year because I feel comfortable in my position. I learned what works and what doesn’t work so now next year I can really get the ball rolling with the least amount of obstacles,” Gourdine said. 

Gourdines big goal for next academic year is to make menstrual products available in all bathrooms on campus. She has been doing extensive research and meeting with other campuses who have implemented it.

Vice President for Academic Affairs and Governance (VPAAG) – Haley Hershenson 

Some of the main duties of the VPAAG include being the student liaison to the Office of Academic Affairs, running the SA elections and overseeing the governing operation of the SA. 

Hershenson is a second-year student majoring in early childhood education and childhood education with a concentration in English and a minor in deaf studies. Hershenson was a student senator previously and is passionate about bridging the gap between the student body and faculty.

“I recognize that one of the many unifying factors of students is that we are all here for the pursuit of education, so it is my hope to improve the educational experience by listening to concerns and ideas students may have for this campus community,” Hershenson said. 

Hershenson’s goals for next year are to create a more inclusive classroom setting for students with disabilities and expanding education resources in the library to help relieve the financial burden of required expensive textbooks. 

Vice President for Finance – Lonniece McDonald 

The VP for finance oversees the SA budget and signs to make the financial disbursements of the SA, they also monitor all approved allocations of the SA funds. 

McDonald is a third-year student majoring in finance with a minor in Spanish. McDonald has been a part of the Budget and Finance Committee for three semesters now as well as being a part of the Business Association for Students of Color. 

“I want people to be comfortable and confident that they understand the process and are able to request funding,” McDonald said. 

Vice President for Programming – Dershanel JnoLewis 

The VP for programming oversees the entire SA budget, the production of SpringFest, and any other SA run events, among other duties. 

JnoLewis is a second-year student pursuing a major in psychology and a minor in deaf studies. JnoLewis has held many leadership positions in his time here at New Paltz including being Vice President of Lenape Hall Government and being a senator for SA, where he represented the social justice committee. 

“One thing that I am aiming to bring to this position is transparency from the time I begin my term to the end,” JnoLewis said. “In addition to that, I am here to increase communication between the campus organizations and the Student Government.”