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DiBlasi and Gelok gear up for a successful administration

By Jenna Grande
On April 11, 2012

On March 30, after the SGA Transition Dinner, an era officially came to an end. The Paulsen-Bourlier administration formally came to a close as the dynamic duo Paul DiBlasi and Brian Gelok took reign in their new roles as Student Body President and Executive Vice President.

Since their tight win by 81 votes back in March, the DiBlasi and Gelok team have made it a priority to fulfill and live up to promises made during their campaign. With the semester winding down, they have dived head first into organizing  all of their plans for the 2012-2013 school year.

Achieving these plans, however, requires a sound and strong executive board. Those interested in serving on the executive board must go through an application and selection process. The final decisions come down to DiBlasi and Gelok, who must decide if the candidates fit their criteria. So what is their criteria exactly?

"First and foremost, it has to be  their dedication and work ethic," DiBlasi said. "The candidate needs to have a track record of being passionate for this school and their beliefs.  Another trait that I strongly considered when looking at candidates is their cooperation and teamwork skills. We are trying to establish and foster a teamwork mentality."

Gelok agreed with DiBlasi. He considers it necessary that the executive board has members who share the same vision as the DiBlasi-Gelok team.

"I want people on our e-board who enjoy helping others while they are helping themselves achieve all that they aspire to," Gelok said.

This task proved daunting to them, however. There is always the fear of not having the right people for the right job or having issues trying to fill specific spots. Dubbed "a good problem to have" by Gelok, the two admitted that the real challenge was choosing between too many qualified candidates for each position.

"The problem was not filling the positions," DiBlasi said. "It was choosing between all of the qualified and passionate and enthusiastic candidates."

Junior Steve Sabato filled one of these qualified positions as the new Director of Communications. Sabato, who had not previously been a member of SGA, decided to become involved in the democratic process after being personally sought after by DiBlasi and Gelok. No stranger to working with different media outlets, Sabato has previous experience in the field and as a leader as the president of WMAR. He hopes to bring a new and different perspective to the DiBlasi-Gelok team.

"I decided to get involved in SGA in order to bring in different perspectives and ideas to the table," Sabato said. "Instead of SGA only hearing from the same people actively involved, I wanted to give a voice to other perspectives that may not have been considered or thought of."

One noteworthy and familiar face will be returning to the e-board under the DiBlasi-Gelok regime: Michael Johnson. After losing the tight presidential race to DiBlasi, Johnson effectively ended his leadership role as the chair of the Safety and Security Committee. However, under a new program Gelok has created, Johnson will begin next year as the Director of Community Relations.

"Essentially, Michael will be the co-chair of each civility campaign event SGA sponsors," Gelok said.

The SGA Civility Campaign is a program started by the 2010-2011 Student Body President Matt Lubrano in response to the dramatic increase in bullying cases nationwide.    This is not Johnson's only role however; he will also be involved in coordinating and leading all community service projects outside of the school.

"Michael has good people skills and is the man for this job," Gelok said. "The DiBlasi-Gelok administration is pushing for students to become more involved in the community and to give back as much as they possibly can. This is a great way to start that."

With the DiBlasi-Gelok administration only just beginning, the leaders sought advice from the Paulsen-Bourlier administration throughout the transition period in regards to how to best prepare themselves and their e-board. DiBlasi

Gelok said that Andrew Paulsen and April Bourlier were extremely helpful  and made their transitions "seamless."

Sabato explained that he hoped to continue on the great work of the former Director of Communications Nicolette Spallanzani.

"Nicolette was enthusiastic about the [SGA] newsletter and communication," Sabato said. "She explained to me she wants me to continue the newsletter and expand it. With my experience in MCTV, the WMAR and The Circle, working with media outlets and expanding this should not be too bad."

DiBlasi and Gelok do not see their plans-or themselves-slowing down. The duo has already begun organizing their campaign promises and courses of action into different tasks for them to work on over the summer. Fearing a "stagnant" beginning,

and Gelok want to make sure they are putting their best effort forward.   

"We are not going to back down from the promises we made while campaigning," DiBlasi said. "We are staffed with an executive board that believes in us and supports us. We are going to tackle the issues like parking, dining concerns and overcrowding at the gym."

Gelok added that he wanted "things to be ready to go" for when students returned back on campus in August.

DiBlasi, Gelok, Sabato and the rest of the e-board encourages students who have any questions, comments, concerns or would like to become more involved in SGA to stop by the office located in the Student Center, room 346.

"We are trying to make an effort to be as inclusive and welcoming as possible," DiBlasi said. "Anyone should feel free to join and help make a difference on our campus."

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