Student Government Prepares for New Leadership

Photo Credit / Charlese Freeman
As Amoroso and Cruz finish their terms, Bouchekouk and Hunt campaign uncontended.

Charlese Freeman

Student Life Editor 

As the current president and vice president wrap up their last semesters as student government leaders and students, the incoming leaders emerge. Leila Bouchekouk, the current secretary, is running for the SGA presidency and Eric Hunt, current student affairs chair, is running for the SGA vice presidency.  

The campus community had a chance to meet Student Government president and VP candidates and ask questions. The candidates were given time to engage in a panel discussion, then given time to answer questions from the audience, even fellow senators asked the candidates asked questions. 

Bouchekouk and Hunt the only two candidates running for their positions, but there is still time for other candidates to join the race.

The candidates tackled serious topics discussed on campus such as diversity and sexual assault.  

As a first-generation college student and first-generation American, Bouchekouk’s hometown is East Stroudsburg, but she was born in New York. She also serves as the voter act president and a mentor to high school students in her community. Bouchekouk has been secretary of SGA for two years and has plans to continue improving the campus one step at a time. 

Bouchekouk said her network as well as her resources, drive and work ethic makes her qualified for the role as president. 

“While I love ESU, it is not without fault. While I love SGA, it is not without its faults. So, being able to accumulate complaints and watching things go wrong within SGA and on our campus, I believe I have the resources to go after the issues at ESU,” said Bouchekouk. 

Majoring in business management and minoring in public relations, Hunt serves as the student affairs chair of SGA. He is an orientation leader and plans to be a Residential Assistant next semester. Hunt said meeting different people in SGA has allowed him to grow into a better leader. 

“I love SGA because it has really made me the leader I am today. That’s why I would like to continue my time in SGA and pursue the vice president position,” said Hunt. 

Hunt said connections with faculty, previous leadership positions and successful event planning makes him a good fit for the vice president position. 

The two candidates spoke highly of their future predecessors Judaha Amoroso (president) and Darian Cruz (vice president) and allowed all the current senators to come introduce themselves and their goals in government. 

Hunt hopes he can leave his mark as a great leader and student advocate like the previous leaders.

“I want to be remembered as a great leader like the others. When people think of JuJu and Darian they will remember all the good they did. That’s all I want, for people to say I did the very best I could,” said Hunt. 

Both candidates talked about areas within their leadership that needs improvement, Hunt’s being his talkative personality and Leila’s being her strong desire to want empathize with many people. 

After answering preselected questions, the candidates answered heavy questions from students. Bouchekouk admitted she does not think the university is doing a decent job maintaining its retention, which highlights one of her goals as SGA president. 

One of Bouchekouk’s goals during her presidency is to work on the relationships among students, senators and administrators because she said it lacks in certain areas. 

Students were not timid with their questions, especially questions about diversity. Hunt explained to students although diversity training is not mandatory for staff, he wants to push for these trainings to be required. Bouchekouk encouraged the university to keep real data to better track diversity on campus. She also talked about setting achievable goals and reviewing diversity polices to promote real change. 

“ESU is one of the most diverse schools in PASSHE, but the staff and faculty doesn’t reflect it,” said Hunt. “ESU has spirit, but is not a tight knit community,” said Hunt, referring to a question about faculty representation. 

SGA’s mission is to represent and advocate for the student body and provide enriching services. It also strives to grow and develop college leaders. SGA meets Thursdays from at 2pm in the Senate Chambers. 

Both candidates said they are ready and willing to act as outlets for students. They also acknowledged the prominent issues on campus such as safe spaces for sexual assault victims and supportive spaces for minority LGBTQ members. Inspired by past leaders, both candidates are ready to dive into their positions with fresh ideas and goals

“You don’t have to have that big of a microphone to make some noise,” said Bouchekouk.

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