Out-going SGA President, VP remembered

Matt Trapani

The time for Student Government Association (SGA) elections is quickly approaching. Already, there are campaign posters decorating campus, as well as an influx of supporters for the various candidates coming out of the woodwork. The reign of seniors Nestor Fernandez and Tim McGovern, Villanova’s current student body president and vice president, will soon come to a close. Yet, whoever wins this new election will have quite a large pair of shoes to fill. Many believe Fernandez and McGovern to be two of the best student body heads.

“[Fernandez and McGovern] did better than I ever expected,” University President Rev. Edmund J. Dobbin, O.S.A. explains. “It’s not that I didn’t believe in them, but it was because they didn’t have any prior student government experience.”

Although they did not have much experience in student government going into the election, many Villanovans thought that Fernandez and McGovern were up for the job. This was mainly due to the many points in their campaign platform, among them fixing campus “eyesores” and improving Radnor relations. Fr. Dobbin also believes Fernandez and McGovern won partially because of the way they carry themselves. “They dress well and can handle themselves in society,” Fr. Dobbin says. “The Board of Trustees was very impressed with them. They inspire a lot of confidence in the University.”

School administrators aren’t the only ones who feel that the president and vice president did a first-rate job. Many students feel the same way. Senior Michael Townsend was impressed with the way they followed through on their platforms. “I feel that the Nestor and Tim administration did a solid job of embarking on their own original initiatives,” Townsend says. “They encouraged students to express their needs and desires, and helped bring those issues to light within the Villanova community.”

Fernandez and McGovern’s platforms included reorganizing the budget system, enhancing Greek life, fixing campus eyesores, improving relations with Radnor Township and lobbying for a Main campus fitness center.

“I’m glad that they worked with SEPTA to fix the [West SEPTA] tunnel. That was actually a pretty good thing that they did,” says senior Stephanie Selesky says. “Now the wires in the tunnels will be permanently propped up; the station will be completely revamped soon.”

Fernandez and McGovern both feel they were very successful during their term. “Many students have told us that we’ve done a good job,” Fernandez says. “If even one student says that, then we’ve done our job.”

Many students feel this way, mainly because they felt that the president and vice president understood many of their concerns about campus, and truly wanted to fix them.

“We wanted to campaign on things that we knew were feasible,” McGovern says. “We did our leg work before campaigning. We knew what was feasible, and what the students wanted done.”

McGovern also pointed out that his and Fernandez’s success was mainly a joint-effort among all aspects of SGA. “We couldn’t have gotten anything done without our committee leaders. They were the ones who did a lot of the work,” McGovern says. “We empowered each committee, and attended their meetings. We also empowered the committee leaders.”

However, just like any other presidential administration, Fernandez and McGovern’s term came with its fair share of problems. For example, many of the platforms they proposed are still in their development stages. Things such as an intramurals facility, or the renovation of the SEPTA R5 station are far from being completed.

Yet some students aren’t completely happy with the way things were run this year. “Nestor and Tim are perfect examples of the ‘shotgun approach’ to student government,” senior Christopher Hall said. “They make a dozen or so campaign promises that will get them elected into office, then only end up accomplishing a tiny handful. We all remember the V-shirt fiasco, for example. Instead of unifying the student body, they ended up dividing it.”

Still, there is no denying that the President and Vice President of SGA did get the ball rolling on many of the platforms they proposed more than a year ago. Students also shouldn’t worry about these initiatives dying out, now that Fernandez and McGovern are graduating. The two have implemented a “Continuation Committee” to carry on where they left off. A file cabinet full of binders detailing all of Fernandez and McGovern’s projects will be their legacy to Villanova’s next president and vice president.

“Continuation was something we were missing when we took our term,” Fernandez says. McGovern adds, “They’ll be able to pick up where we stopped. They’ll know who we talked to, and how to get things back on track.”

And what type of advice would Fernandez and McGovern give their successors? McGovern says that they should “come in with an open mind. Learn from [our] mistakes and listen to the advisors who have been here longer.”

Fernandez adds that you need to stay involved with the students. “Love ‘Nova as a community,” he says. “You need to eat at the spit occasionally and talk to random students. It seems like [the students] love it.”