PRIDE! elects new officers Thursday night

Daniel Moore

PRIDE! Kent elections for next year’s executive board were administered business-as-usual.

Of the five open seats, only the vice president position was contended. 

The first elections under a recently revised constitution were conducted differently than in years past. The process was affected from the very start: Voting was delayed about 30 minutes until a quorum of 23 members — one of the changes in the Elections Article — was established.

Following the new procedure, each candidate was allotted five minutes to address the membership and five minutes to answer questions from the membership pertaining to their presentation. The candidate then left the chamber and members had five minutes to openly discuss the candidate.

During the speeches, candidates expressed their love for the organization.

“The first thing I asked my RA was, ‘Is there a gay group?’” said Amanda Fincham, senior English major and the newly elected president. “I came to PRIDE! and oh man, I had the time of my life.”

Olivia Stephens, sophomore visual journalism major and the new programmer, said she wanted to throw a welcome party for new members at the beginning of the year.

“I remember how excited it was when I first came to PRIDE! and I’d really like for people who are first coming to feel like that, too,” Stephens said.

New secretary Grace Lopez described it as a “lovely support group.”

“It makes me want to help them succeed and create the same kind of experience I had,” Lopez said.

Some candidates expressed how they would like to bring more to their position than past holders. 

Max Harrington, junior political science major and new PRIDE! treasurer, said the group needs to do a better job of raising money.

PRIDE! Officers:

President: Amanda Fincham

Vice President: Alyssa-Isake Whitner

Secretary: Grace Lopez

Treasurer: Max Harrington

Programmer: Olivia Stephens 

Allies chair: Cristina Mazzone

“If it says in the constitution to manage funds, I need some funds to manage,” Harrington said. 

He proposed the group work with the athletic department to clean up after sporting events for extra funds. 

All new board members stressed the importance of the upcoming year: the 40th anniversary of the organization.

“We’re going to need some mad cash for the 40th anniversary,” Harrington said. “It’s a big deal. The 40th anniversary shouldn’t be looked at as a celebration but an achievement.”

Fincham said she wants to invite some of its founding fathers and past faculty advisers back on campus for a birthday party in December. Stephens said a current, big-name speaker would add to the celebration as well.

Alyssa-Isake Whitner, sophomore exploratory major, won the only contested seat for vice president, defeating Brian Wakely, junior visual communication design major, while Cristina Mazzone, junior public relations major, retained her position as allies chair. 

“I joined PRIDE! and my life went so uphill from there,” Whitner said. “I think PRIDE! is a wonderful program, and I think it will be better when I’m vice president.”

Secretary Doug Fink, senior English major, was responsible for rewriting the Elections Article and said he was pleased with the elections process.

“I think it went very smoothly as compared to last year,” Fink said. “The best part was we had an actual document to look at. The people had a better understanding of how it worked, too. It was nice.”

As the new president, Fincham said her goals relate to the unity of the group.

“I really would like everyone in PRIDE! to be open, welcoming and familiar with the person sitting across the room,” she said. “(My goal) is to bring back that familiarity to the group.”

Contact Daniel Moore at [email protected].