An incomplete guide to the 2022-2023 USG elections



Amanda Salazar, Editor-in-Chief

Welcome to election season! Voting for the Baruch College Undergraduate Student Government elections takes place from April 11 to 13. Winning candidates will hold the elected positions for the 2022-2023 school year.

Students will vote online through a Qualtrics survey that can be found online at the Student Government Elections webpage of the Baruch Student Affairs website, starting at 9 a.m. on April 11 and ending at 4 p.m. on April 13.

The unofficial results come out on April 14 and the official results will be announced on April 15 through the Student Life Weekly Newsletter.

This year, there is only one party running — S.O.A.R. Baruch, which stands for Students Organizing and Re-imagining a Better Baruch.

There are four students running independently from this party: Kayla Aaron who is running to be a representative senator, Avrohom Malachowski who is running to be a University Student Senate delegate, Ronen “Roni” Tarnow-Fine who is running to be a representative senator and Yosef “Joseph” Rainbow who is running to be a University Student Senate delegate.

The Ticker has spoken with a handful of the candidates running with S.O.A.R. Baruch about their goals, plans and qualifications for running. This is by no means a complete guide to the S.O.A.R. Baruch campaign but it is meant to serve as a general guide on some of the candidates.

Osvaldo “Ozzy” Garcia — Executive Vice President

Osvaldo “Ozzy” Garcia is a junior public affairs major and journalism and communications double minor. He is currently the vice president of academic affairs.

“USG has given me so much,” Garcia said. “It’s given me a community, it’s given me a family and I want to make sure that I’m able to provide that same family feel and community that it provided me my freshman year.”

Garcia explained to The Ticker in a phone call interview that he has several initiatives and plans for his position. These include overseeing the full implementation of the new Black and Latino studies major and making sure USG gives the department any support it needs during the process.

He also plans to increase climate curriculum at Baruch while ensuring that the school operates more sustainably.

He also said that he wants to create more mentorship opportunities on campus, similar to the Big Sibs program from last year, to emphasize community and helping one another.

Another big goal for Garcia is to bring back in-person events at Baruch. However, most of the guidelines on club events, he said, come directly from the Office of Student Life, meaning they’re not directly under USG control.

“We’re really here to try and make a difference and a change in USG,” he said. “All of our members are a part of club life or are a part of student life in some way or capacity, and they’re just really excited to make a lot of positive change at Baruch and there’s just a lot of excitement in the campus as well, so we’re really excited to hopefully win this election and to take on USG next year.”

Julie Margolin — Treasurer

Julie Margolin is a junior majoring in statistics and quantitative modelings and double minoring in New York City studies and business law. She is also the current USG Chair of Appeals.

“Being surrounded by students who love Baruch and genuinely want to be the voice for students and make the school a better place is so motivating and inspiring for me,” Margolin told The Ticker through an email interview. “I share the sentiments that many Baruch students express: attending a commuter school can take away from the social aspects that define our college experiences. Through USG, I was not only able to fill that void for myself but to also work to improve students’ college experiences by supporting club life and student initiatives.”

Margolin said she is qualified to be elected as treasurer because she has three years of experience in working with club budgets within a non-treasurer role. She would like to work with the budgets more directly to support other clubs.

“My goal is to get USG and other club budgets back on track in what will hopefully be the first full ‘normal’ year since the pandemic,” she said. “This will be essential to integrating student life into the Baruch experience for all students.”

She said her personal goal for next year as treasurer is to continue learning and growing as a student and a leader. She said she would like to see next year’s USG be transparent, honest and working for the students it represents.

“My goal for USG is to really implement the values upon which S.O.A.R. was created: compassion, integrity, and community,” she said. “I want USG to feel like a safe space for any student to share their concerns. I want USG to be open and honest with students and I want USG to stand up for any and every student affected by injustice.”

Abdullah Mahdi — Executive Secretary

Abdullah Mahdi is a sophomore operations management student, a T.E.A.M. Baruch peer mentor and a current representative senator. His current position has allowed him to answer students’ questions and help plan and organize campus events.

“I’m running again because I want to continue my journey at USG and be there for our students,” Mahdi told The Ticker in an email interview. “As the next executive secretary, my main goal would be to support the next class of senators and auxiliary board members in their missions to represent the interests of the student body.”

Mahdi said his plans for next semester are to encourage more on-campus events and a high attendance for them, to create a new survival guide for students like the one that was recently released and to increase student attendance of USG Senate Table Meetings, which happen every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

“Within the CUNY system, Baruch College is renowned for its student life,” he said. “With events that had maxed out capacity and student leaders from all organizations. My goal for USG is to bring that kind of vibrant student life. I will make sure to do my part to re-ignite student life to make sure we are meeting our students’ social, academic, and professional needs while being cognizant of the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic.”

Jason Galak — Vice President of Academic Affairs

Jason Galak is a junior majoring in human resource management and is the current USG chair of philanthropy.

As chair of philanthropy, Galak has spearheaded an AKPsi co-sponsored fundraiser for Ukraine amid its war with Russia and created the school’s very first “Cutest Pet Contest” to raise money for a local no-kill animal shelter.

“Being part of student government made me realize how important it is that students have representation — particularly proper representation,” Galak told The Ticker in an email interview. “Whether it is creating a computer science major, instating a pass/no pass policy for classes during COVID or having fun events to promote on-campus life, Baruch’s student government looks out for its students. Making Baruch life better is something I am very passionate about and this is why I am a part of student government.”

Galak has an educational initiative that he was to work on as the vice president of academic affairs, which is a position that deals with students and their interactions with the school staff, faculty and administration. It said it is his goal to give both professors and students more of a say in what courses and majors are offered at Baruch.

Currently, the process to create a new major is long and must be approved at all levels of the CUNY system. Galak said he wants to “allow professors to develop diverse courses based on their research and academic work.”

He also aims to strengthen the relationship between students and faculty.

“There are times when students may feel discouraged in their studies whether it is because of external factors or internal factors in the education setting,” the candidate said. “I want to learn why that is by performing comprehensive research of our educational setting through surveys and talking directly to the student body to see what I can do to help.”

His overarching goal for the student government next year is for it to be transparent, efficient and collaborative.

“I want us to be thoroughly clear about what can be done and how it can be done,” Galak said. “We have an amazing group of people and I know that we will work closely with students, faculty and the office of student life in order to accomplish our goals.”

Asher Panoy Gonzalez — Representative Senator

Asher Panoy Gonzalez is a sophomore finance major and currently a member of the USG Faculty and Student Disciplinary Committee.

He said he is running because he wants to help USG build the bridge between faculty and students and listen to students’ voices. Gonzalez wants to work in a hands-on setting to improve the Baruch experience for students.

“For USG as a whole, my goal, at least, is to bring back involvement with student life, with just having students come on campus to enjoy, to interact, because I know Baruch is a commuter school, there are students who aren’t necessarily keen on interacting and socializing, and that really takes away from that experience,” Gonzalez told The Ticker in an email interview.

One of his main concerns as a representative senator would be bringing student life back to being in- person to combat Zoom fatigue. He also would like to create some introductory events to help students re- immerse themselves with being on campus.

Another initiative he would like to work on is making sure that the bathrooms, especially those in the Newman Vertical Campus, are better maintained, including making sure there’s always toilet paper and paper towels available and that the bathrooms are cleaned thoroughly.

“I hope that during my term, I will be able to work well with others — since many of these people that I am currently campaigning with are new — but I really hope to develop that relationship between us, develop my skills personally, whether it’s with critical thinking, with leadership or as a whole just to be a better person,” he said. “I just have to make sure for myself personally, I hold myself accountable and represent the students in a fair and just way.”

Spirit Smith-Matos — Representative Senator

Spirit Smith-Matos is a sophomore double majoring in political science and psychology and the current USG vice chair of academic affairs.

She said she is running to be a representative senator to be a “voice for the people.” She wants to make sure Baruch is more diverse and accessible for current and future students.

“I believe that by running as a representative senator I am in the best possible position to push for the changes I want to see and advocate for the changes that my colleagues and peers and Baruch want to see as well,” Smith-Matos told The Ticker in an email interview.

She started this work by spearheading the initiative to have American Sign Language taught as a language class at Baruch.

“As someone who has a disability, I can see firsthand how inaccessible Baruch can be and how intimidating and challenging this can be to people recently navigating their disability, incoming students, people who aren’t familiar with the environment,” Smith-Matos said. “So, my goal is to create more programs, clubs and spaces that are accessible to everyone and will better unify our community.”

Kaylub Trusedale — Representative Senator

Kaylub Trusedale is a junior biological sciences major. He said that wants to bring students with less frequent or “popular” majors into more focus to ensure that they get adequate representation.

“I want to represent our students that seemingly have been shuffled and lost in the ‘noise.’” Trusedale told The Ticker in an email interview. “An example includes our students’ pursuing careers in STEM. Baruch is well known for pumping out business and finance professionados, but in that are our amazing science department and stem students under-represented. I want to be a voice for them and, again, all students who may or may not be pursuing careers both in and out of the business world. I feel that as a Rep. Sen I’ll have that ability. I’ll be able to focus more time on what the students and faculty want to see made better while spending less time dealing with bureaucracy.”

He said his main goal for both USG and himself as a representative senator is to do everything that can be done within the time frame. He also wants to make sure students feel heard by their representatives.

“I would really like to boost student initiatives, bringing them to the forefront,” Trusedale said. “We have so many amazing and bright individuals with a plethora of unique ideas that would improve student

quality of life and I feel like all we’d have to do is open our ears, listen and act accordingly. Additionally, I want to endorse the notion of community and relay to students that we are here as liaisons for them in hopes that we create a comfortable and safe space for them.”

Andrea Zhao — Chair of Arts

Andrea Zhao is a junior majoring in marketing management. She is currently the vice chair of graphics.

“I’m also all about connecting people with others and just providing knowledge in ways that would better or help someone else,” Zhao told The Ticker in an email interview. “I’m running with the intention of becoming Chair of Arts because I believe it would be not only a great opportunity for me to step up and lead, but it would also be exciting to plan events that would bring students together during a transitionary time.”

As the chair of arts, the candidate would bring back in-person art galleries for students, like the Mishkin Gallery and the New Media Arts Space. She also wants to host in-person events like talent shows and poetry readings.

Zhao explained that her overall goals for USG are that the organization continues to grow and improve the work that it does for students.

“As a general goal for USG, I hope to conduct more outreach!” she said. “At the end of the day, we are resources for the rest of the student body.”

Daniel Flores — University Student Senate Delegate

Daniel Flores is a junior public affairs major who is currently one of Baruch’s two University Student Senate delegates. USS is the federal government of the CUNY system, so to speak, making each campus’s student government the equivalent to a state government.

“As the incumbent, I have a proud record of near-perfect attendance at the plenary meetings alongside my continued support for the causes pushed for by the University Student Senate whether it be doing a press conference in sub-freezing temperatures with State Senator Gounardes in Bay Ridge, or working with the Professional Staff Congress in my second most recent CUNY-related trip to Albany on April 4, or speaking at the demonstrations with the CUNY Rising Alliance, I take pride in knowing that my record for Baruch and CUNY, in general, is one of continued advocacy and bridge building,” Flores told The Ticker in an email interview. “I earnestly hope to continue to pursue that record in continuing another term within USS.”

The incumbent said his goal is to continue working with students, USG members, advocacy groups and elected officials to secure increased funding for CUNY.

“As the USS delegate, my work within USG is usually very limited,” he said. “I have the pleasure of maintaining very close friendships with the candidates and once they are elected, I will continue to amplify the concerns raised forth by Baruch students to CUNY alongside reporting our progress as a USS delegate to any Student Senate meeting that I may be invited to.”

Editor’s Note: Jason Galak, who was interviewed above, is a Ticker opinions writer.