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Kalani and Project Now sweep a largely uncontested election

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The sole party running, Project Now, won the 2018 Undergraduate Student Government elections, along with their presidential candidate Radhika Kalani. The Student Election Review Committee announced in their official results that a total of 742 ballots were cast in this year’s election, which is significantly lower than in previous years.

The referendum to change the USG constitution, as proposed by USG’s Constitutional Review Committee, had 522 votes to pass it. The referendum needed 10 percent of the student population to vote for it to pass, so will require President Mitchel Wallerstein to sign off on it for it to go into effect.

Kalani will be joined at the table by all of Project Now’s candidates from the e-board, including all of Project Now’s candidates for vice presidential positions and all 15 of the party's candidates for representative senator positions.

The winners include Emma Jorgensen for executive vice president, Raul Cruz for treasurer and Andrea Soto for executive secretary. Vice presidential winners were Aaron D’Souza, Kendra Lojano, Carlton Maddix and Mark Vilk. Winning Project Now representative senators were Liz Barzman, Justin Broomfield, Joshua Castillo, Blossom Chen, Ray Colon, Dakshatha Daggala, Lewis Diep, Julie Guzman, Nicole Pung, Kayla Rivera, Aziz Sanogo, Mohammad Shahid, Erick Ventura, Jerick Venturina and Ryan Zhang.

“I was kind of scared a few of our senators wouldn’t get a position because that was the only competition we did have, but they all campaigned hard and the whole team got in,” said Kalani in an interview.

Independent candidate Hao Fang also won a seat on the Student Center Board, which had three spots and three candidates running.

Following tradition, the candidates waited outside of the Office of Student Life until 9:12 p.m., cheering until Kalani was called into the office to read the election results. However, spirits were subdued as this current year’s e-board was not present to offer the newly elected candidates their congratulations and guidance, and only 14 of Project Now’s team members were there.

After Kalani announced the team’s victory, the team went to the USG Conference Room, where she made a statement about going forward with their elected positions and their goals for the following year.

“We all have some great goals, great initiatives, great plans, great ideas, and this whole team is going to be fantastic. Each one of you was hand-picked for a reason,” Kalani said. “We’re gonna make USG great again.”

Arvis Chen, current chair of Clubs and Organizations, then imparted his knowledge to the new team.

“You’ve seen us, you’ve seen what we do," Chen said. "We made a lot of mistakes, we learned from it. But I think the biggest advice I can give you is that the people who are most willing to communicate and work together, that’s what makes the difference."

Representative Sen. Andrew Windsor also offered the new team advice, emphasizing what Chen said about communicating with each other and keeping their differences in check and at the table.

“You saw a lot of resignations this year, some for personal reasons, some for difference of opinion,” Windsor said. “If you want to resign for classes and whatnot, of course that’s allowable — you have to be a student first — but at the same time if you have personal differences with people, always try to communicate and leave your beef at the table. Keep it professional.”

Windsor also advised the team to do their homework. “Read the minutes, read the budgets and make sure you are voting correctly for your students and constituents,” he said.

“Make sure you understand the constitution, you guys cannot make your own rules for something and you are governed by something else that is higher than you on a piece of paper.”

Following Windsor’s point, Chen added, “You guys will be voicing a lot of your opinions, if you guys wanna know the best way to argue and best way to get your opinion out there, do your homework like Andrew said and do your research. No one else on the table will be able to refute what you said is wrong because you can’t argue with the facts.”

After the current USG members offered their knowledge to the new team, they briefly discussed their plans to continue meeting with their team and start their USG training during the summer, including working on their first project, the "Baruch Undergrad Student Survival Guide," given to incoming students on convocation.

Windsor and Liam Giordano, the co-chairs of the Constitutional Review Committee, wrote in a joint statement to The Ticker that they are in communication with Wallerstein about incorporating their amendment into the constitution. The amendment would open representative senators and USG e-board members to potential impeachment after missing four USG senate meetings.

“We planned for voter turnout to be low, considering both the recent history of election turnout and the lack of opposition in this year’s election,” they wrote.

“We are disappointed that our committee never saw what the ballot would look like beforehand, despite the amendment questions being templates.

"Had there been a more explicit title or explanation, it could have changed the outcome slightly,” they also wrote, referring to how the ballot did not explicitly explain what the amendment was for or the context.

Windsor and Giordano, both former writers for The Ticker, thanked all of those who helped put the referendum on the ballot by filling a petition with roughly 12 percent of the undergraduate student population’s signatures.

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