Three Candidates Will Vie for Senate Presidency, Two for Vice Presidency

Clockwise, from top L: Vice Presidential Candidates Rock Swartz '22 and Jack Lashendock '20; Presidential Candidates Patrick McKenna '20, Hannah Dalzell '20, and Marisa Balanda '21 (Photos provided)

Clockwise, from top L: Vice Presidential Candidates Rock Swartz ’22 and Jack Lashendock ’20; Presidential Candidates Patrick McKenna ’20, Hannah Dalzell ’20, and Marisa Balanda ’21 (Photos provided)

By Kaley Michael, Staff Writer

The elections for the Senate President and Vice President positions will begin tomorrow, Monday, Apr. 8 at 9:00 p.m., and end at midnight on Sunday, Apr. 14. 

For the second consecutive year, The Gettysburgian will host a candidate forum tomorrow at the Senate meeting. During this debate, candidates will be answer questions posed by Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Pontz ‘20.

Discussing the panel, Pontz stated,  “Our goal is to illuminate for voters how these candidates’ time as students at the college relates to their respective platforms as candidates and to give candidates an opportunity to explain and clarify parts of their platforms relevant to the election. I anticipate a lively and fruitful conversation about the issues that matter.”

Vying for the position of the Senate President are Senate Diversity Committee Chair Hannah Dalzell ‘20, Former Senate Policy Committee Chair Patrick McKenna ‘20, and current Secretary, Marisa Balanda ‘21. If elected, the new President will not only serve as the President of the Student Body but act as a liaison between the student body and the faculty and administration, among other responsibilities. Running for Vice President are College Life Advisory Committee Chair Rock Swartz ’22 and Senator Jack Lashendock ‘20. The duties that fall under this title include assuming the practices of the Acting President in his or her absence and coordinating all general elections of the Student Senate and Class Governments.

Last year’s presidential election was marred by controversy — and ultimately invalidated — after current treasurer Haley Gluhanich ’19, who was then a presidential candidate, was found responsible for violating Senate election rules and disqualified from the race. She appealed, but the Senate Board of Directors upheld then Vice President Aimee Bosman’s decision to prevent her from running in the second election. Balanda, then a candidate for Vice President, was also found responsible for violating election rules, but she was permitted to run for Secretary thereafter, which she did, winning. Ultimately, Nick Arbaugh ’20, who had been elected treasurer before the election violations came to light, won the presidency and appointed Gluhanich to the treasurer seat he vacated.

From Tuesday, Apr. 9 until Friday, Apr. 12, there will be tables staffed by current senators in the College Union Building at which students may cast their votes. Candidates will not, however, be present.

Listed below are the candidates’ unedited Statements of Purpose:

Presidential Candidates

Marisa Balanda ’21

Student Senate plays a vital role on campus, yet this year, there have been many challenges with the ways in which senate (particularly the executive board) has been perceived. As a member of the executive board this year, I fully acknowledge that Senate has much room for growth. I am running for student body president because I acknowledge that both student senate and the broader campus community have the potential for significant improvement, and I am confident in my abilities to lead this effort. I have been involved in student senate since my first semester at Gettysburg College. As a Senator, I advocated heavily for the former residents of Hanson basement and the residents of Hanson Hall to ensure that their concerns about the mold and the facilities issues were directed to the appropriate channels. Through this process, many general facilities concerns were brought to the attention of Student Senate. This spurred the creation of the Residential Facilities Task Force, in which I was a member, and which ultimately led to the implementation of a new laundry service on campus. As secretary, I facilitated both training and onboarding of new senators which provided them with an overview of Parliamentary procedure, their duties as senators, and the basics of the budget approval process. In my role as secretary, I have overseen both senator and club attendance, the entire senate committee structure, and all formal senate communications. This position has given me a comprehensive exposure to the inner-workings of senate, in addition to providing me with an opportunity to work as a team with the rest of the executive board. If I were to be elected president, I would concentrate my efforts into both campus-based and relationship-oriented goals. I have been communicating with the College Life Advisory Committee about the idea of a fourteen meal plan and the implementation of free and accessible menstrual care products in campus restrooms. More broadly, I would like to work to improve cross-cultural interactions on campus in addition to developing relationships between Greek and non-Greek students. For the past two years, I have made student senate my top priority on campus. I will be graduating a semester early (Dec. 2020) and would be honored to use my last full year on campus to serve you as president. Thank you for your consideration.

Hannah Dalzell ’20

I can make a difference and I want to make a difference. I love this school and I cannot imagine being anywhere else, so it upsets me that some students aren’t able to love this school as much as I do. Everyone deserves to reflect on their college days with fondness. Currently, many students do not seek help from Senate and instead keep their conflicts to themselves. Senate needs to be more approachable to students if it wants to address their concerns, and I am the person to make that happen. I am willing to talk to anyone, no matter how “small” they think their problem is. Our issues can only be solved by talking to one another. Senate could foster a greater sense of community throughout our college by hosting more large-scale events such as an athletic competition between the different graduating classes, professors, and staff, encouraging different clubs to collaborate, and by reaching out more to the rest of the student body. Over the past year, I have had productive conversations with administrators where we attempted to make the campus environment more inclusive. I want to continue to make strides for the students’ benefit. Our campus is divided by many factors, a few of them being race, gender identity, and sexual orientation, but I believe that I can unify us. If we all work together, we can change the campus so that life is better for students in the years to come.

Patrick McKenna ’20

My name is Patrick McKenna and I am a junior studying Public Policy and Political Science. I am running for Senate President because I am so proud of all the work and progress that has been done over the past three years and am excited and eager to capitalize on this momentum to continue to improve the Student Senate. As I look at Senate today, I see a completely different organization than the one that I entered three years ago. We had difficulty getting enough underclassmen senators, a committee system that was nonexistent, a dysfunctional electoral system, and even a constitution that was written with something like 6 different fonts and different font sizes. Serving on senate my first-year, and then on Exec as the Parliamentarian last year I am so proud to look around today, see a functioning committee system, a constitution that is robustly debated, a functioning electoral system that includes features such as this forum tonight, and more and more interest in Senate, especially from underclassmen. I love these changes and how far we have come, but I know that we are just getting started. Especially with a new President coming to Gettysburg this fall I believe that next year is a pivotal year for the Student Senate to assert itself to have a more activist presence on campus. I believe that my previous experience with Senate, including my relationship with members of the current administration that I have made after serving on various administrative campus committees as the student representative, have prepared me well to run the Student Senate effectively while improving access and increasing our presence around campus. Senate has an enormous potential to make change on campus, particularly with the power of the purse. I look forward to speaking further about specific initiatives that I support later in the forum.

Vice Presidential Candidates

Jack Lashendock ’20

I am passionate about the work that the Student Senate does and I know this work cannot be done by just those elected to the Senate. In the coming year, I look forward to continuing to work with my peers, across all class years, so that we can continue to contribute to the betterment of Gettysburg College. I share with you the idea that Senate only works when it works for all Gettysburgians— no exceptions. As your Vice President, I would be excited to work with my colleagues and classmates to continue making Senate a better institution which serves the needs of all students and clubs. More importantly, I promise to be a member of the Executive Board that you can approach to raise concerns or suggest ways in which we can positively impact Senate together; I will always listen. Tip O’Neill, a fellow Massachusettsian, once noted that “all politics is local” and these words have always held true to me, especially in the Gettysburg College Student Senate. The high caliber of debate, the passion each student has when presenting his or her idea, and the body’s mission to be a voice for the people of Gettysburg College has spoken to my political drive and desire to be a force of change. I am enthusiastic about continuing and evolving my political career within this body. I believe my commitment, interest, innate ability to lead, and understanding of being a team player makes me an ideal candidate in this upcoming election. It is my sincerest hope that the students of Gettysburg College will put their faith in me and elect me as the Vice President of the Student Senate. Thank you!

Rock Swartz ’22

Shortly after my arrival at Gettysburg College I began looking into ways of getting involved in our campus community. I was told one way to accomplished this would be by running for student senate. I did just that, and it was something I knew I would very quickly become passionate about. Within days it became my top priority. Upon the announcement that I was officially voted to the position Senator at Large and a voice for our student body. I was honored by this of course, but more importantly I felt an obligation. An obligation to do everything within my power to work towards making our school the most enjoyable, inclusive, and harmonious space that it can be for every single one of my fellow students. By promptly joining the Student Senate Opinions, and Outreach Committees following the election I began the first steps towards this goal. I was instrumental in the development of two official senate opinions, and I aided in the IT department’s search towards finding what we the students would like to see made mobile. It was through participating in committees, and the extra, voluntary, side projects run by them, that I witnessed our Students Senate’s true capacity to help the student body and broader community as a whole. Inspired by this, I became more active in Student Senate and the college as a whole knowing that there was always room for more to be done. Luckily I was thankful enough to be appointed the chair of the College Life Advisory Committee. From there, with the help of my fellow committee members and the wonderful Servo staff I was able to implement a “Nut-Free Ice Cream Week” enabling the students with nut allergies the ability to enjoy servo ice cram jus as any other student would. As my committee’s chair I made sure to cooperate closely with the Diversity Committee as well as the Opinions, and Outreach Committees. My efforts towards the implementation of another one of my endeavors: the introduction of free and accessible menstrual care products throughout our school (which is currently awaiting approval by the administration) is a prime example of this cooperation in action, as I worked closely with the Opinions Committee in order to get my proposal backed by the full power of an official senate opinion. If elected Vice President I will make the introduction of a 14 meal swipe plan, free and accessible menstrual care products, and the fostering of a fair and inclusive Student Senate to ALL students my number one priority. I believe that the Vice President of Student Senate is at the utmost position to bring about true change and improvement to our already fantastic College. As a result of being both a senator and the current CLAC chair I have believe I have the experience and expertise to run this position to its greatest potential. I would be both honored and humbled to be elected the next Vice President of Student Senate, and am grateful to even be considered for that role.

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Author: Kaley Michael

Kaley Michael ‘22 is a staff writer for The Gettysburgian with a potential major in English and minor in Spanish. She hails from the “Keystone State,” and though she did not choose a college too far away from home, she hopes to study abroad within the next four years. When she’s not binge-watching The Office, she enjoys thrift shopping, napping, and singing with her best friends (in key).

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