October 16, 2018

GCSA Elections 2018: Meet the Candidates

Catherine Pastoor (‘21)
Contributor

If you weren’t able to make it to the Meet The Candidates event on Tuesday, here is a run-down of the candidates running to represent you and your interests. Voting opens at 7:00 pm on Thursday, February 22nd  and ends at 7:00 pm on Friday, February 23rd. Visit go.gordon.edu to vote. 

Josh Grambow, Marina Bueno, Antonio Vargas, and Alexandra Heinle. Photos by Owen Haworth

Arwen Struthers (’21): Sophomore Class Representative

“I really want to serve the sophomore class specifically,” said Struthers, “I’ve been able to see how their experiences have been impacted by GCSA, because it’s been a really big year for GCSA.”

Struthers intends for students to be granted the experience that they are paying for at Gordon, through enhancing student opportunities such as clubs and organizations. After this year, Struthers recognizes that the Gordon community is not afraid to confront difficult issues and identifies with the need to serve her fellow students by doing the same.

 

Andrew Turnbull (’20): Junior Class Representative

Turnbull’s campaign slogan is “strive for change and stand for justice.” He acknowledges that certain changes should be made, but there are also absolutes in life that should be here to stay.

With the help of his fellow students’ ideas, he want to make these changes and strengthening measures a reality. One of the most important things to Turnbull is the connection between students and faculty, made easier by the size and culture of Gordon’s campus. Many things need improvements, including chapel worship.

“Something I would desire is to be held accountable,” said Turnbull, “to represent you fairly and accurately and confront me and question me and talk to me when you feel I have not, because I do want to listen.”

 

Nicholas Blondell (’19): Senior Class Representative

Blondell’s strength is extraversion, which he intends to use to the fullest if elected to this position. This, combined with his ideas for change on campus, will be the impetus for Blondell’s work as senior rep.

A specific interest of his is drawing more attention to Gordon students’ works of art in music, visual arts, graphic design, etc. One of his other interests lie in LGBT+ issues, as he “really deeply [cares] about that,” he says, “… I want to approach it less with my own beliefs and more with how my class would like to see it.” He also points out that despite being a theater arts major, he will not allow those commitments to overshadow his work in student government.

 

Meredith Carlile (’21): Sophomore Class Representative

“I really want to put an emphasis on community as well as communication,” says Carlile. Referring to changes and transitions in the coming year, Carlile says she wants the student body to be aware of these changes, and for their concerns to truly make it to the administration level.

She plans to make this a reality by making herself available to her peers, not only via office hours and email, but also outside of that. Carlile wishes for students to love their experience at Gordon College as much as she has.

 

Samuel Paquette (’21): Representative at Large

“At the beginning of this year I actually didn’t know what GCSA stood for,” said Paquette. His introduction to student government was casual and gradual. After discussing points of contention with his involved peers, Paquette eventually decided to “cut out the middle-man” and run himself.

“I’m not an orator, I’m not a political genius, I’m not even a poli-sci major,” says Paquette, “I’m just a guy trying to fill a gap that I saw.” Paquette touts one of his strengths as a “unique approach to problem-solving,” citing tenacity as one of his strengths.

 

Gabe Packevicz (’20): Representative at Large

One of Packevicz’s goals is to increase the accessibility of GCSA. During the drafting of a resolution last year, Packevicz heard his fellow student asking questions about GCSA: “Wait, who is my rep?” and “who is the president?” Packevicz found this “a little sad.”

He aims to find ways to make GCSA more accessible to those who wouldn’t typically get involved. Packevicz also hopes to make Gordon more environmentally-friendly, to create an example to others for how to respect our planet. Packevicz cites one of his strengths as adaptability.

 

Sabrina Jandreau (’20): Representative at Large

Jandreau has a rich history of engagement at Gordon, from being a two-sport athlete (field hockey, lacrosse), singing in the gospel choir, working as a dispatcher for Gordon Police, and serving in the Student Athletic Advisory Committee. She has experience in organizing events, fundraising, and garnering sponsorships.

“As an athlete I’ve learned that it is extremely crucial to know how to communicate,” she says, “…There’s having the ability to talk… [and] also understanding what is being said to you and understanding how to apply that.” As a freshman, Jandreau was impressed by the intentionality of GCSA budgeting and other work: “It made me want to be a part of something bigger than myself.”

 

Grace Shaw (’19): Representative at Large

Shaw has a passion for dialogue and productive discussion, especially when it is relevant to student issues. Shaw claims that her experience in dialogue, due to her major in philosophy, is a strength that would serve her peers well in GCSA.

“Compromise is huge.” Shaw says. It can be hard to find solutions among so many voices, but Shaw can often tell when people are actually saying the same thing but missing the potential compromise by using different language.

 

Lane Ditore (’20): Vice President of Communications

Lane Ditore believes that student government is an undervalued part of campus life. People deserve to be aware and informed as a community.

“Having excellent communication can make people feel valued,” says Ditore, “and contribute to solving problems and unite students in service of our College and of others.” Ditore intends to work in new, innovative ways to communicate with the student body and increase awareness of GCSA activity. Her goals are to increase forum attendance, increase social media presence, and increase contest in GCSA positions.

 

Erin Mckeon (’21): Vice President of Finance

McKeon has served all year on the Financial Affairs Committee as a Student Representative. Her interest in this position is maintained by its vitality and her interest in working with finances. McKeon describes her strengths as being resourceful and task-oriented. She asserts that her experience on the Financial Affairs Committee contributes to her competence for this position.

 

Shineika Fareus (’21): Vice President of Student Life

Fareus finds herself driven by a sense of purpose. She intends to become a voice for everyone on campus, regardless of differences across the board.

Everyone has different struggles, says Fareus, and because of that, we should all remember that we are all together under Christ. With experience as Freshman class representative and high school social justice work, she is acutely aware of how GCSA issues affect students on campus, and intends to assist initiatives that better involve and cater to the needs of Gordon College’s student community.

 

Devon Leslie (’21): Vice President of Academic Affairs

With a double major in International Affairs and Political Science and minors in Spanish and Economics, Leslie has connections and experience with multiple academic departments. Because of this understanding, she also realizes how these departments interact with their students.

She also emphasizes the need to bridge gaps between faculty and students. Leslie also attended a high school that was immersed in public policy. She served as student head, representing the academic needs of the student body to the administration. This would enrich Leslie’s work as Vice President of Academic Affairs.

 

Clare Mulvihill (’20): Vice President of Academic Affairs

Mulvihill has significant experience in working with GCSA, serving as Student Representative at Large with “passion, dedication, and success.” She believes that these experiences will inform her actions as Vice President of Academic Affairs well.

Mulvihill asserts that concerns such as development of core requirements, faculty positions, and student achievement will be on the forefront, with the intention of bringing them to the attention of the administration. She also hopes to continue efforts in coordinating lecture series’, and providing more study space for students. “I know that I will do an extraordinary job in this position, and do the best I can to make academic change happen,” she says.

 

Presidential Candidates:

Josh Grambow (’20): President

and Marina Bueno (’19): Vice President

Bueno says her experiences as an international student have shaped her platform and approach to serving and communicating with the student body through GCSA. This communication is a significant concern to Bueno, who recognizes a need for initiatives such as a weekly GCSA newsletter.  

“We really appreciate Gordon as a campus, we see that there are a lot of opportunities to be involved in a variety of things,” says Bueno, “and we really want to make use of that.” Bueno states that the three main characteristics of her and Grambow’s presidency are “experience, perspective, and dedication.” Bueno’s experiences at Gordon include her work with Gordon Police and Model United Nations.

Ever since high school, Grambow has been intensely committed to student service. “Since then,” says Grambow, “my choice of college major and personal faith have all changed and grown, but that desire to serve my fellow students has stayed with me.” Grambow has had two years at Gordon, but has dedicated much of that time to the benefit of his fellow students through GCSA.

As freshman class rep, he focused on projects that made GCSA more accessible by holding the first public forum by a class rep in years to get more in touch with the issues students were concerned with. He is also currently working on removing the PE requirement for student athletes and providing space in Jenks for students to relax and work.

“Since I got here I’ve been focused on you and how I can serve you better. And gaining the experience necessary to serve you as your student body president has been a hope and dream of mine… I want all students to be represented, even those who don’t know members of GCSA…”

“If I get elected, I pledge that I will only be devoted to serving you as president. All my other extra-curricular activities will be gone… I look forward to the chance [to serve you] with Marina.”

 

Antonio Vargas (’19): President

and Alexandra Heinle (’19): Vice President

Alexandra Heinle served as Vice President of Student Life last year and found a love for student government and a motivation to serve the students of Gordon College to the best of her ability. As VP of Student Life, Heinle managed to organize Spaces for Self Care and opened dialogue between students and faculty about relevant issues on campus and in student life.

She also returned from a semester in Oregon, where she gained a “unique perspective on community and what it means for us to live, learn, serve, and grow together as one unit,” she says. Her goal is to foster a community that promotes “student health and personal growth” and to engage in difficult conversations that ultimately enrich the lives of students.

Throughout her college career, Heinle has made many connections through her major, her service as a La Vida Sherpa, a driver for the Highland Express, and as a TA. Heinle believes that through these connections and Antonio’s connections, they have the means to effectively begin their work as President and Vice President, “ready to immediately start representing you well and engaging in the conversations that you want to have with the student body, faculty, and even the administration.”

Antonio Vargas came to Gordon with two goals in mind: one, to graduate, and two, to leave Gordon a better place than how he found it. He carefully considered how to effectively do this through GCSA. In order to represent the whole student body accurately, he strived to learn about the people and their needs in the context he would represent.

Rather than jump straight into representing the student body, Vargas first extended himself to find other leadership opportunities, differing opinions, places that need change, and the barriers that kept the status quo. He cites the worst barrier of all as “the profound disconnect,” referring to the relationship between the student body and the administration one of tolerance rather than engagement. He intends to make the administration listen. With Heinle and their combined connections, skills, and experiences, Vargas intends to “connect the profoundly disconnected.”

“It’s time to choose people that are committed, candid, passionate, and capable.”

 

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