Online update: Student Senate election results

Students have voted, and the fate of next year’s Student Senate has been decided. The elections revealed a close race for the representatives from each college, yet clear winners in the race for student body president (SBP), student body vice president (SBVP), and student body vice president of finance (SBVP).

In the race for SBP and SBVP, Jared Itkowitz, a junior business administration and Chinese studies double major, and Pooja Godbole, a sophomore business administration major, took the vote.

Itkowitz and Godbole will be joined in the Senate executive branch by junior business administration major Evan Osheroff, the winner of the race for SBVPF.

“Campaigning was such a draining process,” Itkowitz said. “We’re just excited to get to do things now.”

“We’re just glad we don’t have to do it again,” Godbole said, referring to the elections process.

Itkowitz and Godbole noted that unlike their predecessors Sean Weinstock and Adi Jain, they will have the five months between now and September to plan.

Weinstock and Jain were elected last fall due to technical difficulties the previous spring.

Itkowitz and Godbole will be working through the summer to begin several of their seven CMUnity issues in September.

The pair had much to say on this issue of transparency.

“As soon as elections are over, student government goes into their offices and begins grindwork,” Ittkowitz said, adding that he and Godbole would like to continue the one-on-one interaction from their campaign, even by standing in front of Doherty Hall every few weeks.

Itkowitz and Godbole remained confident in their ability to approach all seven CMUnity issues.

“If we don’t complete them, we will get them in the works, and they will be on their way to completion,” Godbole said. “We just need to get students to be as passionate about them as we are.”

Itkowitz and Godbole recognized that they will face challenges in accomplishing their initiatives next year.

Itkowitz mentioned the issue of funding, one whose solution, according to both executives, lies in the university administration. The pair said that once the concern becomes one that students are passionate about, the issue becomes more than just a financial burden and the administration must then address it.

Yet, despite any issues they may face, Itkowitz and Godbole remained optimistic and excited about their plans while in office.

“I’m most excited to just get out there and meet new people,” Godbole said.

“Now we have an excuse to talk to all these people,” Itkowitz added.

Like Ikowitz and Godbole, Osheroff plans to work through the summer to plan for the upcoming school year.

“I was relieved, and was jumping up and down,” Osheroff said of his reaction to the news.

One of Osheroff's first steps will be to organize the Joint Funding Commission (JFC), ideally by the end of September, and no later than mid-October. He also aims to begin work on his proposed audit system of all student organizations that receive funding.

Osheroff had much to say about this year’s most recent JFC budget determination, released last week.

“JFC experienced this year what the elections experienced last year,” Osheroff said, citing such problems as a pushed-back deadline and technical difficulties on the Budget Tracker website.

Osheroff hopes to improve all of these conditions, as well as to more efficiently use the money allocated to the JFC.

Osheroff has already begun a careful study of the student activities fee in its use at Carnegie Mellon and at peer institutions.

Like Itkowitz and Godbole, Osheroff said that administration is often concerned with large financial issues such as the endowment and the Gates Center project. He hopes to bring them smaller student concerns, such as the activities fee, and encourage them to take action.

Osheroff hopes to also collaborate with other groups outside the administration.

“I want to work closely with the finance chair on Senate,” Osheroff said. “I also want to work with Sagar [Mehta, competitor for SBVPF] if he is willing and wants to, because I think he has a lot to contribute.”

Osheroff is already beginning to take action in meeting with the Graduate Senate Assembly and the Office of Student Activities, among others.

The Graduate Student Assembly and Undergraduate Student Senate voted Tuesday to ratify the election results. The chosen individuals will officially begin in their offices on June 1 and serve through next academic year.