Stony Brook University students will vote for next year’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG) Executive Council from April 4 to April 8 at 12 p.m. on SBEngaged.
USG is an elected body that represents the undergraduate population at the University and controls the student activity fee to fund student clubs and organizations. They also hosts its own on- and off-campus events. USG is composed of two branches of representatives, elected to either the Senate or the Executive Council.
Thirty-one students will run for 23 senator-at-large positions.
The Diversity Revitalizing Efficiency Accessibility Mindfulness (DREAM) Party is the only party running in this year’s election. Its initiatives include collaborating and empowering student clubs, expanding sustainability practices on campus, increasing USG transparency, expanding mental health services and beautifying West campus. The party has five students running for the executive council and 18 students running for senate.
Students will also vote on making the student activity fee (SAF) optional or mandatory. The State University of New York (SUNY) requires all state schools to hold a referendum on the SAF every two years. Currently, students pay $99.50 a year under the SAF.
Sowad Ocean Karim is a junior biology and political science major. He currently serves as the USG vice president of Communications. He is running under the DREAM party.
Karim wants to make USG more inviting to students through expanding on the ideas of diversity, equity and accessibility with events. He also wants to improve campus sustainability through a compost garden, student thrift store and improving the dining halls’ reusable container program. Other points of his campaign include improving the Title IX support system, mental health services for LGBTQ+ and students of color, extending dining hall hours and creating more food options for students with dietary restrictions.
Bryan Villatoro is a junior environmental design, policy and planning major. Villatoro wants to make running for USG positions easier by getting rid of the 100 signature petition to qualify for the ballot. He said he was originally left off the ballot despite having reached over 100 signatures because some students wrote down their SBU ID instead of their NetID, disqualifying the signature. He also said he wants to bring back the judicial committee, which was abolished in a November 2019 student body vote, and increase communication between USG and the student body.
Villatoro also claimed he was denied access to the USG budget. “I’m funding it, so I request to see it,” he said. If elected, he wants to reexamine how the budget is managed and distributed amongst clubs.
Executive Vice President Candidate
Devin Lobosco is a sophomore biochemistry and women’s studies double major, DREAM party member, current senator-at-large and president pro tempore, meaning Lobosco fills in for current Executive VP Victoria Sarita when she is absent at Senate meetings. If elected, Lobosco wants to encourage and prepare senators to make initiatives by working one-on-one with them. He also intends on expanding the menstrual hygiene program through pad dispensaries in popular bathrooms across campus and expanding mental health services by equipping teacher assistants with mental health education and resources.
Lobosco is running unopposed.
Sanurag Barobhuiya is a sophomore business management major, DREAM party member and current USG Student Activities Board treasurer. He wants to create a humanitarian grant, which will allow clubs to access funds for international service related projects. Barobuhiya plans to work with administration to reallocate parking spots closer to the academic quad for commuter and residential students. He also wants to make more accessible walkways and ramps for students with disabilities so they can enter buildings through any door.
Barobhuiya is running unopposed.
Vice President of Academic Affairs Candidates
Bella Hassildine is a junior psychology major and a current senator-at-large. Her main goal as vice president of Academic Affairs would be creating better advising services for transfer students. She also wants to make Student Accessibility Support Center accommodations more accessible and widely known. Her final goals are to continue the study kit initiative, a program that gives students study kit goodie bags for free during finals week, into the next school year as well as start a professional clothing thrift store at the Career Center.
Harry Feig is a junior psychology and business double major running under the DREAM party and is a current senator-at-large. Feig wants to change the course retake policy to either erase the first try grade or average the two grades together. Stony Brook’s current retake policy includes both grades on a student’s transcript and GPA. He also wants more open houses between USG and individual majors to gain more feedback from students by major and he intends to create outdoor study spaces as well. Internally, Feig wants to redefine tasks for the academic affairs committee and fill empty seats in the committee.
Vice President of Communications Candidate
Nistha Boghra is a freshman journalism major, DREAM party member and current USG senator-at-large. Boghra aims to bridge the gap between the student body and the University higher administration through town halls. She plans to use the USG social media to showcase what projects the executive council is currently working on. Boghra also wants to continue projects she has started this year, including a campus “green space” for recreation and studying, as well as a campus thrift store.
Boghra is running unopposed.
Vice President of Student Life Candidates
Wideline Jean is a junior health sciences major and is a coordinator for Student Life. Jean’s initiatives are to focus on overall student satisfaction with events and making event production more transparent by holding open forums. She said she wants to expand the USG Street Team so that more students can volunteer with USG during events. Jean wants to produce smaller events throughout the year so more students can meet each other, as well as have a higher emphasis on events that focus on mental health.
Anthoni Haynes is a sophomore civil engineering major and current senator-at-large. If elected, Haynes said he will work to make sure that Student Life positively reflects USG. He also wants Student Life to help students that feel “lost” at Stony Brook socially.
Vice President of Clubs and Organizations Candidate
Arsh Naseer is a junior political science major and has been a USG freshman representative and Commuter Student Association senator, and is currently the probationary budget committee treasurer. Her planned initiatives include a semesterly workshop aimed towards new club leaders to teach them how to use Stony Brook club resources such as A/V services and 25Live, an event booking space. She will distribute a monthly newsletter to all clubs about USG resources and other club events. Naseer also wants to collaborate with clubs in large scale USG events such as Wolfieland.
Naseer is running unopposed.