The Co-op Board of Directors announced its four new members Friday. Students were allowed to cast a vote for up to four candidates. Out of the student undergraduate population, 893 of approximately 12,000 students voted.
The new members are Serena Haeuser (junior, child development), Jalen Jones (sophomore, geography and regional planning), Rachel Dawsey (junior, communications media) and Carson Nicholas (sophomore, political science).
Once elected, the students will be appointed to one of three committees: finance, aberrations or bookstore, according to Louis Garzarelli, Co-op executive director and CEO.
Garzarelli said while all students elected are eligible to be appointed to certain committees, anyone appointed to the finance committee would not be allowed to vote on the budgets for any other organization from which he or she benefits.
For instance, Nicholas, who serves as the vice president of the Student Government Association, would not be permitted to vote for the allocation of funds regarding the SGA if he were put on the finance committee.
Nicholas said his main goal is to see that the student activity fee is spread “only [to] those endeavors that would truly benefit the student body.”
The students offered a variety of reasons for running in this election.
“I wanted to be a voice for the minority community,” Jones said, “specifically students who identify as black or African American.”
Dawsey decided to run to get more involved with her school. She said she thought that this opportunity would allow her to get involved in multiple areas.
She was also excited to get to “experience other views on different topics, from all walks of life, coming together to make IUP the best it can be.”
Nicholas decided to run because he said he has a “good sense for what the student body would like to see from the Co-op.”
Dawsey added that she would like to gain an understanding for how the school runs, and hopes to be able to generate a positive voice for all students.
Jones said he hopes to “be able to bridge the gap between the majority and minority communities by finding ways to incorporate necessities of both the parties to essentially enhance the ‘student life’ experience while in college.” He said his goal is to satisfy everyone, not just some students.
Both Jones and Dawsey said they wanted more information from students about where they prefer to allocate their student activity fees before making any decisions.
“I feel like what’s more important is having a true understanding for what the campus needs and wants from the student activity fee,” Jones said. “It gives us a better direction this way.”
Nicholas said he is more concerned with how to spread the funds rather than where. He said he aims to be very frugal with how the funds are dispersed.
The elected members also have a responsibility to represent the student body with their decisions.
“I plan to best represent the student body while on term by one simple thing: integrity,” Dawsey said. “I believe that having integrity and being an authentic representative, both in the board meetings and out on campus, is truly the best way to represent the student body at IUP.”
Similarly, Jones said he plans to represent the student body “by being an honest and open board member.”
“This will get done by effective communication with the student body as a whole and those of us on the board,” he said.
Nicholas said he plans to be a conduit between SGA and the Co-op if he is re-elected.