By Harsh Godhani
The MCC student life advisors announced the winners of each position for the fall 2018 – spring 2019 Student Government Association on April 20.
Following a 2-day election period, students of MCC elected Saja Meqdad as student body president with Naomie Popo as her vice president. Jonathan Montano was elected as treasurer and Bonnie Frazilus for secretary as both ran unopposed.
The election for president was staunchly contested between two dominant candidates between Saja Meqdad and Roi Abraham Saint-Vil. Both Individuals ran a positive and friendly campaign until the very last moment of the elections. The two joyfully embraced the results of the elections as Saint-Vil congratulated his adversary after the results.
The RISE party, which consists of Meqdad and Popo, reached new accolades for women of MCC as Meqdad became the first female president in 8 years, dating back to the 2009-2010 SGA administration. Furthermore, a historical achievement for the party as for the first time the president and vice president positions of SGA will be held by a duo of women. Meqdad and Popo were proud of their achievements and acknowledged that this was only the beginning for them. The two candidates don’t want to be remembered as just female victors, but also as fierce and active leaders of student body.
Meqdad said, “From a long time ago, women are seen in society a certain way, where their abilities are neglected on how much they can do. They’re seen equally in democracy but when it comes to work or actually having them get some things done, people don’t. People don’t see their true potential. I feel like there’s a glass between what people think women can do and what we can actually do and by winning these elections. I feel like I’m breaking the glass and I want to be a role model for not just everyone on campus but [more so] for women.”
Meqdad said she wanted to help empower women by helping them but also elevating them to help themselves as well. “I want to help fix [any] concerns and I also want them to be strong enough to be able to fix it themselves.”
Meqdad wants other women to see her victory as an example for others in future to run for a leadership position.
Megdad said, “…I feel like sometimes women are probably [hesitant] because of how people perceive them. They’re afraid to even try sometimes…but if you’re a woman and you’re interested, you should run absolutely go 100% because it’s just a great experience.”
Meqdad and Popo gave credit to their engaging campaign as the result of their fruitful victory.
Meqdad said, “My experience [campaigning] was good. I met a lot of people for the first time, I learned that so many people on campus are very kind, very nice. People want to interact, people want to learn, people want to [work] with student government if they just, you know, had somebody to teach them more about it, introduce them. I found that a lot of people, even if they don’t know you, if you give them a good reason to vote or be interested in you and what you’re doing, they actually will take some time off to vote for you.”
One thing Meqdad was displeased with through the elections was the debate process.
Meqdad said, “I think the debate was good but nobody really came I felt like the debate should have been for the students.”
Underlining a major problem for many events on campus receiving low turnout due to events running during class time.
However, Popo faced different challenges, “it was bit overwhelming, I had to take off time from work in order to campaign… in the beginning, it was also a little bit rough because our fliers were taken down [frequently], every time I enter a building I put new ones back up.”
Popo said, “The election process was smooth with only one hiccup, students didn’t know they need their physical Student ID and it needed to be validated, so if they didn’t have it validated then their vote would not count. But I also understand that this was a measure to prevent fraud.”
For Meqdad and Popo, their next step is to bring about the change they voiced about.
Popo said, “We’re discussing multiple ideas on how to best use our time to accomplish as many things as we can.”
Popo said, “We want to reach out to everyone on campus, but creating fliers isn’t enough, so we need a different outlet, something innovative to reach out to students, perhaps we can have a page on the website.”
Megdad welcomes students to approach any members of SGA with any complaints they have, and SGA would try to address the problem in the most efficient manner. Once settled in the Student Government office, which is located at Room 315 in the College Center, Meqdad welcomes students to meet them in their office to discuss any problems they have on campus.