By Duane Paul Murphy
Sophomore politics major Kristina Pinault and junior politics major Lauren Werling were elected as president and vice president, respectively, of the Student Government Association at the Catholic University of America for the 2016/2017 school year. The pair won by a thirty vote margin after starting a social media driven write-in campaign less than forty-eight hours before the election day.
Originally, Pinault was supposed to moderate a debate between the Student Government executive board candidates, but the debate was cancelled and candidates on another ticket, Stephen Morris and Kately Javier, were unable to qualify for the ballot. Werling and Pinault announced their campaign shortly after these events.
“My immediate reaction to winning was shock and joy,” Pinault said. “I knew we could pull it off, I just wasn’t sure if we really had before they announced. I am so proud of the people that helped us, it is because of them that we are where we are.”
“I was in complete shock when we won the race, some of that still has not worn off. I was fighting hard for our ticket to win but that doesn’t mean the other candidates were not fighting just as hard,” Werling said. “It was a very tense and close race and for that I am very proud of our win. As Kristina and I have begun to develop our goals and plans for next year I have really started to understand the valuable position I am in to help our CUA community grow, something I am looking forward to.”
As the next president and vice president of the Student Government Association, Pinault and Werling said that they would focus on the student community being more inclusive towards diverse university culture where all social, racial, ethnic, religious, political, backgrounds are respected Werling, who is also a student senator and the vice president of College Democrats, wants to further spread education for students on various programs such as the counseling offices and health services on campus.
“I decided to get into SGA because I was really interested in being a part of the senate and representing my school,” Pinault said. “I am really passionate about some things that need to be changed in the academic side of things this was the way I saw I could make a difference and help shape the new government.”
“I decided to get into SGA because I wanted to be more involved in our school community while bringing positive change to the student body. I was excited about our newly formed student government and wanted to help build the foundation that would support our student body for years to come,” Werling said.
Current Student Government Association President Anne St. Amant offered some key pieces of advice to the incoming president.
“The more efficient you are with responding to emails, making to-do lists, and scheduling meetings- the more likely you are to achieve your goals. It really is the administrative tasks that hold up an organization with over sixty people,” St. Amant said.
On a more personal note, St. Amant stressed the need to try and not be personally affected by criticism.
“There will always be someone who doesn’t agree, someone who wants to criticize, and someone who wants to make it difficult,” St. Amant said. “This job takes a lot of understanding and when it comes down to it, everyone wants to make CUA a better place.”
After graduation from the Catholic University, Pinault, who is from Rhode Island, wants to go into law school and expand her passions for politics, law, and philosophy. Werling, an Ohio native, wants to go into either the private or public sector of government and on work on issues regarding immigration as well as refugees. She wants to obtain a master’s degree in public policy in the future.