Justin Garritt is buzzing with energy. He’s sitting in the renovated Campus Center he helped plan is ticking off a list of Student Government Association accomplishments during his three years as its president. “We changed the SGA’s constitution, got more recycling bins and bike racks, started the Change for Bucks program.” and the list kept going.
Garritt has been a force in the SGA for three years. He has been instrumental in redrafting the SGA’s constitution to better accommodate Castleton’s size and purpose. He is active as a member and intense in his goal to see changes made.
“When I got here I looked around and I saw problems that I thought needed to be fixed,” he said. “I hate to complain about things that aren’t working; I want to change them.”
When Garritt sees a problem he springs into action. But in May, he will be taking his energies with him when he graduates and starts his career as a teacher.
“We’ll be in a transition period when he leaves,” said Tammy Lattuca, the SGA advisor. “We’re going to be sorry to see him go. He’s an asset, but I have high hopes that whoever comes in next can achieve whatever they want.”
Two-thirds of the current SGA members will be graduating this May leaving big positions to be filled.
Garrit, Chief Justice Michael Miller, Treasurer Ryan Baldinelli and several others will all be leaving.
There loss is both scary and exciting, said Alicia White a justice on the College Court.
“There’s new blood, new people, new ideas and a new energy coming to the table,” she said. “A lot of people who are leaving did a lot and I think people take that for granted. People don’t know what we’ve done so they don’t know what we can do. But I’m seeing a lot of freshman take interest so I’m hopeful.”
The SGA relies heavily on student participation, something Garritt has worked to increase.
“I’m not worried about when Justin leaves, I’m worried about following through with what Justin started: student involvement,” Lattuca said.
Concerns about student involvement came to the forefront since the SGA started accepting applications for this year’s election.
“Our biggest issue is that there’s not a lot of initiative. It’s people running against themselves,” said White, who is organizing the elections.
In the SGA’s history, there have been some years where all positions have not been filled. White believes that will not be the case this year, but would like to see more people running.
“There’s not always a huge turnout,” said Tammy Lattuca an SGA advisor. “I’d love to see it be a competition between people who want to have a position.”
White is encouraging students to step up and be leaders.
“It’s very rewarding to see that you’re making a difference,” she said. “We’re not just here to go to classes; we are part of a community. If you see things you want changed, you’re the best person to be involved in SGA.”
Brittany Lafirira, a justice on the College Court, is in charge of collecting applications for the upcoming SGA elections. Applications have been scarce, but Lafirira and other members of the SGA are hoping to increase interest and participation.
“We are trying to do more advertising,” she said. “People don’t get involved because they think SGA doesn’t pertain to them. But it affects everyone of us.”
Lafirira has turned to Facebook and Twitter to get people involved. She has updated people on applications and plans to use the sites to get people to vote.
“Last year not a lot of people came out to vote,” she said. “About 100 did. This year I want to double that. I want a good majority to vote.”
Applications for positions were due March 7, and a final ballot will be compiled shortly after. The elections will be held March 21-25 at tables set up in Huden, Jeffords and Fireside.
For more information about the candidates who will be on the ballot go to:
Executive Vice president (1)
Vice President of Academics (1)
Student Director of Campus Activities Board (CAB) (1)
Campus Activities Board Member (9)