SGA election uncontested: Natoli set for presidency

By Caroline Haviland

Junior Christina Natoli will likely be the next Student Government Association president after an unprecedented drop in student participation, leading to an uncontested election and multiple vacancies on the executive board. 

Natoli, a political science major, is making history running uncontested for SGA president, which hasn’t happened since 2016.

In addition to a forum open to the public on April 4, the Rider News conducted an interview with Natoli to discuss her initiatives and goals for the presidency as well as her thoughts on this year’s candidates running unopposed with two vacancies on the executive board. 

‘The pinnacle of my journey’

Eager to learn the campus culture, Natoli involved herself with SGA her freshman year, jumping right into a position in the senate. She continued to serve in all levels, ranging from a committee chair to class vice chair, with her most recent position as the vice president of university affairs for the 2023-24 academic year, leading to a spot on the organization’s executive board. 

“This has been the pinnacle of my journey. I’ve always loved that SGA is an outlet where you can learn about campus,” said Natoli. “I have been listening and learning, and now I’m entering positions where I can use that knowledge and put it into things on campus. This has always been my ultimate goal, and it’s just really exciting that I can be here.”

Natoli’s vision for her upcoming presidency revolves around campus engagement, as she plans to work with prominent student leaders and organizations to make students appreciate Rider outside of the classroom. 

Current SGA president, senior political science major Naa’san Carr, centered his campaign last year around diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. With Carr passing the baton within the next week, Natoli is prepared to continue Carr’s plans. 

“The SafeZone trainings have been really successful, so I’m planning on having them during class times or during the week at night,” said Natoli. “I’ve also had conversations with faculty about implementing more DEI based training within things like Navigating Rider. Continuing to advocate for those things never hurts.”

Natoli also expressed her desire for a closer relationship between the administration and SGA, as the two only meet monthly.

“[The administration] is definitely very open to all of the feedback we present,” said Natoli. “I wish we could have more opportunities to meet… We get a lot of updates and we provide a lot of feedback, but we aren’t able to see it come to fruition until the next month…. I also want to see more of them speaking at Senate so that we have people that aren’t just on the executive board hearing from them and asking questions.”

Vacant positions in SGA 

Despite the election season being in full swing, two of the executive board positions, vice president of communications and vice president of student affairs, have been left vacant, a possible result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“They just aren’t as involved as the rest of the classes,” said Carr on the 2025 class. “They spent their junior year and senior year [of high school] in COVID, on laptops and Zoom.”

In order to fill these vital positions that lead to meetings between students and faculty, SGA plans on finding candidates to interview early within the summer. 

Natoli after college plans 

Outside of SGA, Natoli is a tour guide for the admissions office, vice president of membership development and risk reduction for the Rider University Greek Council and vice president for her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha. She also plans on taking the LSAT on the same day that election results come out.

Natoli shared a sentiment she believed most graduating seniors can relate to: “It’s really scary but very exciting to be doing things that I’ve been thinking of since my freshman year, having these four year plans and seeing them come to fruition.”

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