Two Candidates Vie For SA Presidency

Richard Jean-Louis (left) and Josh Simpson (right) are running for presidency of the Student Association in the upcoming election.

As the 2011-12 school year comes to an end, the SUNY New Paltz Student Association (SA) is holding their annual elections for all Executive Board (E-board) positions for 2012-13.

Two candidates are running for president of SA, and both feel they can make a positive impact on the New Paltz campus and its community if elected.

Third-year history education and Black Studies major Josh Simpson, currently an SA senator, said he wants to run for president to make a stronger connection between the student body and the administration on campus.  Increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of communication between SA and the Resident Hall Student Association (RHSA) was one goal Simpson said he strongly stood behind.

“I feel we can be more effective in serving the students if we get the RHSA to work closely with the SA,” he said. “I want to create more unity between those organizations and the others on campus, along with the students, faculty and higher administration. When we work, we should all be working together to reach our goal.”

Simpson said he feels he can help represent the student body in a positive way, benefitting their overall college experience at New Paltz.

“It’s not always just about what I want to get done, it’s about what the students as a whole want to get done,” he said. “That’s all that really matters at the end of the day.”

Simpson’s opponent, third-year biology and Black Studies major Richard Jean-Louis, is also currently a senator. He was a member of the E-board his first and third-year and is the president of four student-run organizations on campus, he said. Jean-Louis after shadowing his cousin who was SA president during his first year and seeing what the president succeeding her did the following year, the magnitude and influence of a SA president became apparent to him.  He said he was convinced he could make a big difference taking care of and showing initiatives for issues both big and small.

Jean-Louis said he drafted a list of 15 proposals he would implement if elected president. One of his proposals is to establish an affidavit for freshmen students concerning their meal plan with Sodexo, the campus’s current-food provider. He said he feels it’s unfair to force a meal plan upon students that many have complained about over the years.

Another proposal included the development of a bonus point system through the food service for commuting New Paltz students. The system included rewards for money spent at certain food stands.

He said it would give kids more incentive to spend time on campus in the Student Union instead of going to town.

“It’s economically friendly, and it promotes economic growth on campus,” Jean-Louis said.

SA President Terrell Coakley said he hopes the next president will continue to build on the positive initiatives he pursued during his time as president and to keep moving the campus community in the right direction. He said he plans to stay involved with the New Paltz campus community and wants to be able to see the improvements that the SA president is accomplishing during the year to come.

“He doesn’t have to be just like me,” Coakley said. “As long as they have a good work ethic and care about New Paltz as much as we all should, and as much as I do.  I hope they can keep the ball rolling.”

Voting for the SA presidency, the rest of the E-board, senate seats and more will begin on May 7 and end on May 9. Students can vote online through their accounts.