SGA Elections Finish with Record Voter Turnout; Campus Leadership Set

People vote in SGA elections at the Sanford/Lake Mary Public Safety Building on Thursday. Photo by Trevor J. Ward

By Grace Lamberty

The results are in for record-breaking SGA voting Friday afternoon. Glory Okeke will be the new president at Seminole/Lake Mary while Samantha Ciresi retained her position as president of the Altamonte Springs SGA.

Glory Okeke

Okeke and Ciresi won the only contested races in the SGA elections, which broke a record with 1,080 students casting ballots. Here are all the winners:

• Oviedo: Rachel Balleste, President; Martin Mazzeo, Vice President; and Victoria Melendez, Secretary/Treasurer.

Samantha Ciresi, Altamonte Campus SGA President

• Altamonte Springs: President, Ciresi; Vice President, Darrell Vinson; and Maxwell Desir, Secretary/Treasurer.

• Sanford/Lake Mary: Okeke, President; Mary Galeano, Vice President; and Aleesha Robinson, Secretary-Treasurer.

Before the polls closed March 21, the Sanford and Altamonte campuses waited patiently to see which Student Government Association presidential candidates would take the chair.

Running for Sanford/Lake Mary SGA president were Kathleen McBride and Glory Okeke. Altamonte candidates were Samantha Ciresi and Marjorie Occenat. Each candidate brought her own ideas to the table, but all goals had one theme: tailoring to the students’ needs.

Looking at the main campus, Kathleen “Kate” McBride is wrapping up her degree in legal studies and finance. McBride said she wants to create a safe environment on campus.

“First I think I would like to establish an open-door policy with students so that they can feel free to come to me,” McBride said. She said it would help her understand problems that others have.

McBride said she plans to take in the feedback she gets from Seminole State students and act on their needs. She said she wants to establish a more personal connection between students and faculty.

She said teachers have probably heard that before, but that she feels there are valid reasons to do this.

“I want to make it more fun to be at school,” McBride said. She added that she hopes to make college a place students are excited to attend, instead of just a place to take classes and leave.

Running against her is Okeke, a second-year college student studying pre-nursing. Okeke plans to take a different approach for students. She is more resource driven, she said. Her main focus is students and clubs.

For the students, she plans to promote Handshake. Handshake is a college resource to help students find jobs and internships tailored to their major. She also plans to help clubs get funding.

“A lot of clubs are not able to host events or they’re not sure what to put in their budget, how much to ask for …,” she said. “Especially as a new club, it can be a little bit intimidating.”

She also wants to have each club meet at least once with college President Georgia Lorenz.

Currently, Okeke is our Student Services chair. With the presidential title, she said she hopes to help student activities and resources become more accessible.

At the Altamone campus, Samantha Ciresi is a sophomore majoring in legal studies. She is currently Altamonte’s president and will be running for her second term.

Ciresi said she plans to implement a new project relating to our Lynx bus system. As of now, this system is free for students, but Samantha hopes to take it a step further.

She said she has worked with Vice President of Student Development Jan Lloyd-Lesley and Altamonte Sprints campus Dean Lynn Garrett to establish a Lynx bus route between the campuses with no stops.

Student events are also a priority for Ciresi. She said she hopes to increase the budgeting for college events, being sure to take in feedback of what the students want. This can range from giveaways to food choices.

Running against Ciresi was Marjorie Occenat. Occenat studies journalism and reports for The Seminole Scribe. She said she wants to assure students that they will have an easy transition between semesters, requiring students to participate on the “Rate My Professor” website.

Another major issue Occenat focused on is the food service at the school.

“Since we can’t change the food vendor, we can probably change the food service,” she said. “So that way more students [can] come, which will provide more funding for the cafeteria.”

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