Candidates rally for votes in Mercyhurst Student Government presidential election

Junior Shannon Holley and sophomore Steven Martz both currently serve on Mercyhurst Student Government. One will become
president of MSG for the 2016-2017 school year.

Jade Gelsimino

Junior Shannon Holley and sophomore Steven Martz both currently serve on Mercyhurst Student Government. One will become president of MSG for the 2016-2017 school year.

Melanie Todd, Staff writer

The presidential race has begun and voting opened Tuesday, March 1. Candidates Shannon Holley and Steven Martz seek to lead the student body in different ways.

Holley is a junior Music Education major and currently is the Mercyhurst Student Government public relations coordinator.

“This was a passion of mine in high school and I carried it over to college. I think I have good qualities and think and hope I can do a good job in that role. For the school and student body it is a very important role,” Holley said.

Martz is a sophomore Hospitality major and currently serves as a MSG Senator.

“I basically want to run because the school is going through a lot of changes and I want to bring a lot of changes to MSG. I want to give students their voice back,” Martz said.

Both have specific ideas for what changes they would like to inspire in the school should they be elected. Both candidates expressed interest in getting the overall student body more involved.

“I miss the high school feel of school spirit. It brings everything together. Creating that overall better spirit on campus as soon as students come on campus is very important,” Holley said.

Holley spoke of a feeling of separation amongst athletic students and non-athletic students as well as among different class levels.

Her ideas for rectifying this situation include designating student sections at athletic events, “dorm war” activities, implementing a freshman mentoring program and including upperclassmen in welcome week activities.

“The initial motivation is during welcome week and then continue the spirit by bringing everyone together for sporting events,” Holley said.

Martz spoke of wanting MSG to be more student oriented.

His ideas include senators spending more time talking to students around campus and having more of a presence. He also wants to create a blog where he can answer particular student questions and serve as a direct liaison between the students and administrators.

“A lot of students are frustrated and feel like they don’t actually know what’s going on with all the changes. I want them [students] to feel welcome and come and voice their opinions,” Martz said.

Both candidates have many more ideas for the upcoming school year as well.

Holley looks to offer more online textbook resources, many of which offer free textbooks online, to cut down on the additional financial burden on students.

She would also like to expand the Student Advantage program that offers discounts to Mercyhurst students at local businesses.

Martz’s ideas include increasing sustainability efforts. His idea is to either add water bottle refilling stations on campus or simply adjust the existing water fountains so that a water bottle fits under them.

Additionally, he would like to further the Multicultural Activities Council by hosting a fair and consulting with students of different nationalities for the events.

“We have a Mercyhurst culture. It’s everything that makes you, you. It would be nice to incorporate a multicultural fair and invite different groups to join,” Martz said.

Lastly, he would like to host a fair in awareness of mental health and show students that they are not alone.

Junior Intelligence Studies major Sam Lioi, pictured below, is running, uncontested, for MSG vice president.

“I’m running for vice president because I feel it is a position where I can make a positive change for all students on campus, and help to make sure everyone’s voice is being heard,” said Lioi. “In this position I would like to continue to improve Laker spirit and make sure all students feel comfortable at Mercyhurst.”

Sam Lioi is the only student running for vice president.
Jade Gelsimino
Sam Lioi is the only student running for Vice President.

Staff writer Brittany Smyth also contributed to this article.