Student Senate 3/25: Forum for President, Vice President and Inclusion Officer

Student Senate 3/25: Forum for President, Vice President and Inclusion Officer

By William Oehler, Staff Writer & Director of Photography

Guest Speaker 

Executive Director of the Eisenhower Institute (EI) Tracie Potts addressed the Senate floor regarding the programming it will be offering for the 2024-2025 academic year. She stated that all class years and majors can participate in EI programs while noting that some have specific requirements. 

Potts presenting about EI Programs at the 3/25 Student Senate meeting. (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

The programs mentioned include Inside Washington, an entry-level program offered every semester that gives students a window into how politics and media work in Washington; Building America, a new program centered around the partnership between innovation in STEM and the economy; and two fellowship opportunities offered every year, Fielding Fellows and the Undergraduate Fellowship. 

Potts also hinted at the Dialogue Project, an initiative EI will be helping with starting this semester. The Project aims to improve difficult dialogue between communities that often have differing opinions on subjects. Potts announced more concrete information would be coming out in April. 

Senator Dominic DiLuzio ’26 asked how students’ study abroad plans would interfere with EI programs. Potts answered that those who are planning to go abroad are welcome to sign up for semester-long programs, but the year-long options would not be available to them.

All applications for EI programs are due on April 7 by 11:59 p.m. Applications can be accessed by a link sent out in a campus-wide email. 

Forum

Potts and Managing Editor of The Gettysburgian Ella Prieto ’26  moderated the forum. Prieto opened it by giving candidates an introduction on how the evening would proceed: candidates would be allotted forty seconds for opening statements, and they would then be asked a question to which they each received forty additional seconds for an answer. The first group of candidates were seeking election as President of the student body. Candidates included current Vice President Geoffrey Meadville ’25, current Parliamentarian Michael Woods ’25 and current Religious Affinity Group Leader Gabe Taub ’25. 

Meadville gave his opening remarks, stating that he has three years of experience within the Student Senate, one year as a voting member and two years as Vice President. He mentioned that he has seen great growth and direction within his three years, and he laid out preliminary thoughts on where improvement could be seen: continuing a non-partisan representative body, increased representation and working through the effects of the demographic cliff. 

Candidates for President of the Student Body during the Student Body Forum. (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

Woods laid out his experience with the Senate body, which included one year as a senator, one year as Chair of the Opinions Committee and his work in his current role as Parliamentarian. He stated his goal that if elected, he would make the Senate more beneficial for the entire campus, citing specific growth areas in funding and education. Woods included that he wants to see an increased headcount of non-voting members at each week’s senate meeting to better communicate with the student body, as well as work in tandem with the faculty and administration.

Taub began his opening statement stating, “I am a very honest person.” He stated his deep passion for being a supportive voice for everyone he interacts with. Taub asserted his desire to give back to the community he serves and to make the Student Senate as open and honest as possible. He also stated he would like to increase communication with communities not often heard from within the Senate. 

When asked what specific goals each candidate had for their role as President, there was a consensus among all candidates: a need for increased communication and interaction between faculty, students and administration. Taub added that he would like to see more policies be implemented. 

Prieto then asked the trio what sets each of them apart from their fellow candidates.

Woods mentioned his experience in the Senate, stating that he has seen the failures of the body and where he believes improvement is needed. He advised that less internal work is needed, and more external commitment would benefit the body as a whole. 

Meadville also cited his two years as Vice President. During his two years, he has gained a better idea of what changes are needed to see positive growth, citing the changes to the Constitution.

Taub contrasted the two candidates by stating that he only has one year of Senate experience yet brings his unique perspective of external accomplishments. Taub claimed he has many years of Gettysburg experience and good relationships with administrators and faculty alike. 

The forum continued into the Vice President candidates: past Parliamentarian and Senator for the Class of 2025 Joseph Labrie ’25, current Inclusion Officer Abby Rugierio ’26 and current Senator-at-Large Carl DeMarco ’25. Each gave their opening statements. 

Labrie opened by stating the Senate is “a reactive body” that waits for the administration to deliver information and makes decisions based on this. He urged the body to break this cycle. With his election, Labrie would “affect real change” and look forward to greater cooperation between the administration and the Senate. 

DeMarco cited his desire for increased pride within the Senate body, stating that this would in turn increase pride for the College. He included his desire to have more voices heard within the student body. 

Rugierio added to the calls for increased transparency from the administration and laid out what she saw as an issue for the Senate to tackle: communication with students. She commented on ways the Senate body could increase communication through the agenda, minutes and newsletter.  

The candidates were then asked to give specific details about past experiences that qualify them for a position like Vice President. 

Rugierio answered with her work to update the student name policy. She worked with the College this year to update the name policy to include the option for transgender and non-binary students to have their chosen name on College documents. She also mentioned her tendency to be blunt and call people out to do the work they are expected to complete. 

Labrie mentioned his experience in Washington, stating, “…I have spent the last three months lobbying for clean and renewable energy.” He also detailed his work with and against congresspeople.

DeMarco stated he has a decade of experience with positions like Vice President, spanning back to when he worked on Senate-like bodies in the eighth grade. He stated that he has worked under pressure during the Covid-19 pandemic and knows what works and what does not work.

Oliver Eckloff  ’27 is running unopposed for the position of Inclusion Officer. After the candidates for Vice President ended their time, Eckloff gave their opening statement. 

Eckloff referenced their committee positions as Chair for the College Life Advisory Committee and as an Inclusion and Belonging Peer Educator.  Eckloff voiced that everyone should be represented and safe on campus.

When asked what inclusion meant to them, Eckloff stated that inclusion meant many things and works as a two-way street. They continued stating that people should be able to express themselves without feeling discriminated against or uncomfortable.

Officer Reports 

All reports were published through the minutes sent through students’ email by Secretary Grace Nelson ’26 to allow earlier time for the Forum. 

President Drew Lemon ’24 made everyone aware of the voting process. 

Vice President Geoffrey Meadville ’25 reminded everyone to vote for their choice of candidates. 

Treasurer Alfredo Roman-Jordan ’26 updated everyone on the budget: $81,000 has been requested or paid, and $51,000 has been fully paid. 

Inclusion Officer Abby Rugierio ’26 reminded everyone that her committee meets every Friday and stated that the event on Stine Lake has started to be planned.

Student Concerns Updates

Lemon then gave updates on past student concerts. 

The Middle States Accreditation has not been submitted yet, and the evaluation team will send a draft to check for small errors. The entire campus will receive a copy to confirm the information included. 

The lights on Stine Lake have been updated, and the timer used for them has been changed.

Lemon spoke with Mike Bishop to address the concern surrounding the fruit fly issue at Jaeger Center and The Gettysburg Smoothie Company (GSC). A septic team was working on the grease trap below the GSC. The trap is a location for fruit flies to lay their eggs, and when the team was emptying the trap, the flies exited into the Jaeger center. The issue has been resolved, but the possibility for this to happen again remains as there is little solution to the issue. 

New Concerns

Senator Hanna Repole ’24 mentioned an ant issue in Apple Hall. She requested information on how facilities would respond to a complaint and if they would provide ant traps without charge. 

Senator Eliza Hoover ’26 expressed deep concern over the targeted response of the Gettysburg Police Department (GPD) against Gettysburg College students, citing that she witnessed many instances this weekend.

Olivia Taylor ’25 brought forward her complaint surrounding the “slashed” funding for the Civil War Institute. Many other senators and audience members echoed her concern.

Budget Requests

A representative from the Muslim Student Association during their budget request.(Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

The Muslim Student Association brought a budget request for transportation and food for Iftar this year. The requested budget was $1,200. After minimal debate, the budget was approved in full.

New Business

The Student Senate passed a committee charter amendment during the new business portion of the meeting. The amendment allows for easier planning and implementation of events. 

Author: Will Oehler

William is the current Director of Photography for The Gettysburgian. Previously he worked on the general photography team and as a copy editor. William is a French major with double minors in Art History and Cinema Media Studies. He currently works as an Outdoor Facilitator for the Garthwait leadership Center, and as a TIPS Supervisor at The Attic.

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