Elections Officially Underway for Student Association

Courtesy of SUNY New Paltz

New Executive Board positions and Student Senate seats in the Student Association (SA) are up for grabs in this 2024-2025 election. The vote opened March 17 and closes on March 21. SUNY New Paltz students have the power to choose their next representatives and can vote for the Student Activities Fee Referendum Vote and the voting in two amendments. 

The Student Activities Fee Referendum Vote must be brought to students bi-anually. The vote concerns a $105 per semester fee brought to students, full-time and part-time. This fee funds OASIS/HAVEN, Children Center, over 130 clubs and organizations, legal counsel for students and Springfest and other campus-tied responsibilities. To vote for a mandatory Student Activities Fee would allow the Student Association to allocate the budget more effectively for student organizations and events and would allow the Student Association projected number for enrollment. Voting for a voluntary Student Activities Fee would give students the option to pay the fee when they assess their student bil. Activities and services would be funded by voluntary participation and funds as they are received. 

There are two amendments being considered in the SA Constitution, which must be voted for by the student body. The first is that SA makes permanent the Justice and Wellness Committee. This committee would develop a relationship with the Center for Student Engagement and the Department of Residence Life to work towards sustainability and develop and maintain collaborative relationships with campus partners who specialize in student health and wellness, among other duties that are available on the ballot. The second amendment is to add “on-reserve” office hours to the Student Association executive board. Each E-board member is required to hold 12 office hours per week — 10 of which must be held in the SA Office — and the President would have the power of granting on-reserve office hours to other E-board members.

The E-board positions available for election are the President, Executive Vice President, Vice President of Finance, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Governance, Vice President of Programming and Vice President of Marketing and Communication. Each e-board position has different responsibilities, which are explained extensively on the ballot.

Senator positions are available for all 14 Resident Halls, two for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, one for the School of Business, one for the School of Education, one for the School of Fine & Performing Arts, one for the school of Science & Engineering, four for each student class, two students elected at large, one graduate student, two commuter students, one international student and one transfer Student. The responsibilities of the senate include initiating legislation for the students of SUNY New Paltz, and proposing and approving amendments for the Constitution.

All of this information and more is available on the ballot on the student website ENGAGE. The Student Association is “the official student government that represents and advocates for students, and oversees all of the SA recognized student organizations.” Kerry Hernandez, the current Vice President of Academic Affairs and Governance, placed  emphasis on the importance of students using their voice and voting. “This process has taught me so much strength, patience, and resilience. I am beyond proud of what my team and I have been able to accomplish. This has been one of the best elections, because the engagement with the student body has been immaculate.” 

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