Executive Branch Candidates

President/Executive Vice President Tickets

Class Years: Meghna Chandrasekaran-Junior; Eli Gendleman-Sophomore

Email Addresses: meghnac1@umbc.edu; elijahg1@umbc.edu

What relevant experience would you each bring to the positions you are seeking?

Meghna Chandrasekaran served the UMBC SGA for 3 years, currently as Executive Vice President and previously as a Senator, Public Relations Manager, and a First Year Ambassador. She also is the Government Affairs Director for the University System of Maryland Student Councils for 2 years, marking 9 years of SGA experience. Meghna has also participated in many leadership, team-building and conflict-resolution training sessions including STRiVE and Alternative Spring Break.

Eli Gendleman is currently a SGA Senator and the Vice President of External Affairs at his fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha. During his freshman and first semester of sophomore year, Eli was his fraternity’s diversity, equity, and inclusion chair. These leadership experiences and responsibilities have helped him cultivate valuable organizational and leadership skills.

Both Meghna and Eli are Leadership Peer Facilitators with UMBC Campus Life as well. Collectively, Meghna and Eli will bring these experiences to help them serve the student body.


How do you intend on fulfilling your roles while working alongside other members of SGA? What strategies do you use to address conflict?

Both of us have been involved in the UMBC SGA since freshman year and have a strong contextual understanding of the external and internal affairs of our SGA. Through this understanding, we know how to navigate when students face common pitfalls to help them effectively. Our experience in high stress and involvement situations taught us many ways to navigate different scenarios in order for us to fully support our members.

Our outside leadership and bias training allows us to address conflict effectively. We understand that the most essential step in conflict resolution is recognizing that we are human and make mistakes, and that we are all working towards the common goal of a thriving and more inclusive UMBC community. SGA’s most powerful tool for creating a more effective body is understanding that feedback is love and that we are all learning how to be impactful changemakers in our community.


How do your approaches to leadership complement each other? How do you navigate disagreements between the two of you?

Our diverse experiences complement each other to allow us to critically examine and analyze the structures around us. While we have these diverse perspectives when working together, we have found that these different lenses expose different pitfalls to our shared vision of UMBC. We also have different leadership philosophies that complement each other’s weaknesses. Meghna’s strength lies in ensuring that the groups have a solid plan on how to execute their tasks while Eli’s strength is connecting groups to find common ground and both strengths are needed for effective co-creation.

Our shared goals for UMBC are centered around the need for change. When we have disagreements on how we go about the change, we have critical conversations about the pros and cons of each strategy and ensure that we are both heard and understood before making a decision.


What is your vision for UMBC and the UMBC student body? How do you intend to strive toward this vision?

Our SGA experience, combined with our outside training and leadership development, has prepared us to lead a UMBC SGA that works to amplify the student body’s voice and opinions by connecting concerned members of the student population to the proper faculty and administration in order to co-create a dynamic UMBC community.

In our ideal UMBC community, students will know that their voices and ideas matter, have an impact, and are capable of change. Students will understand that they are crucial in the development of our community. As members of the UMBC community, students, faculty, and staff will feel comfortable expressing their true selves throughout campus. SGA’s role is to help students feel safe and welcomed, by facilitating the connections that make change possible. Through the understanding that they matter and belong, all community members will not question that they belong at UMBC.


Vice President For Student Organizations Candidates

Class Year: Senior

Email Address: mthomas9@umbc.edu

What relevant experience would you bring to the position you are seeking?

During the 2023-2024 academic year, I served as the Vice President for Student Organizations (VPSO). I have developed initiatives for the betterment of student organizations, such as a future student organization survey. This will allow student organization officers to express their feedback in regard to various parts of their experience, be it SGA resources, myUMBC, the success of their organization, etc. This information will inform how SGA tailors our resources to better serve your student organizations and their missions. Over the past year, I have also helped adjust Roundtable sessions to incorporate interactive activities for the participants to engage in. The purpose of this was to allow students an opportunity to network and share their experiences, in the hopes that we can form a greater community amongst our student organization officers. As VPSO, student organizations are the light that guides my work – and I hope to continue this next year.


How do you intend on fulfilling your role while working alongside other members of SGA? What strategies do you use to address conflict?

SGA officers are indispensable to the work of the VPSO. I’ve worked with the Department of Communications on CelebratingOrgs, an event commemorating the hard work of student organizations. The department helped capture the passion of officers in interviews that will be displayed during the event. Finance Board Representatives are vital in making the budget request process easier for student organizations – we have seen where confusion can arise and how that can affect the validity of a request. Thus, restructuring our budget request process is an effort I plan to take on with our Finance Board Representatives. One method I use for conflict management is parroting, where you actively repeat what a person is saying to ensure you hear them. Then, I try to work through the issues both parties have through the use of I statements. Finally, I collaborate with both parties to find a mutually beneficial solution and prevent future conflicts.


What is your vision for student organizations at UMBC?

Running a student organization is a challenging yet enriching journey. To showcase your passion to other members of the UMBC community is special and something to be cherished. Thus, my vision for student organizations is that they will have equitable opportunities to pursue their endeavors – whether that be sharing their culture, teaching people how to play a game, exploring the latest innovations in their field of study, and more. To ensure this, it is important that they have knowledge of the resources available, and that they are equipped to use them well. For example, myUMBC is the main platform for dispensing information relevant to student organizations, so ensuring that navigation of the site is clear and concise is important for student organizations’ success. As VPSO, I aim to make SGA’s resources fit the needs of student organizations, with the goal of their success and ability to thrive at UMBC.


How do you plan to reach out and be a resource to student organizations?

SGA can be a daunting body to approach, especially considering all of the rules and regulations in place, particularly for student organizations. While we are a governing body, I want our students to feel as if we are a friend as well. To do this, I plan to continue my efforts to show up and be genuinely present for student organizations – be it at Roundtable sessions, events the club holds themselves, Finance Board meetings, etc. In addition to these methods, I would love to plan training framed around issues student organization officers struggle with in particular. Overall, I want to establish a relationship with these student organizations and their officers; to understand their vision, their passion, and their mission for their club. Stories are everything – when you take time to listen and learn from your peers, you better understand how to help them!


Treasurer Candidates

What relevant experience would you bring to the position you are seeking?

My current role as Treasurer of SGA has provided me with extensive relevant experience and an understanding of the responsibilities that this position requires. Firstly, I am extremely well-versed in the budgeting process, as I have conducted Finance Board Budget Request Trainings during the onset of this semester. These trainings provided treasurers for student organizations a deeper understanding of the budgeting process, allowing them to submit strong applications for the Finance Board to review. I also had the opportunity to assist treasurers further by answering any questions via email and even meeting one-on-one. Additionally, in the 2022-23 academic year, I served as Finance Board Representative, where I worked alongside other representatives to discuss budget requests and help allocate money to the student body. This experience is particularly important for the role of treasurer, requiring active participation in weekly finance board meetings and deliberations on budgetary matters with fellow attendees.

How do you intend on fulfilling your role while working alongside other members of SGA? What strategies do you use to address conflict?

I intend to fulfill my role as Treasurer while working alongside other members of SGA in various ways. For example, I will attend Finance Board meetings and work alongside the Finance Board Representatives and the VPSO to review budgets and allocate funds in a fair and equitable manner. Oftentimes this can result in conflict because members may have differing views. Nonetheless, a strategy that I may use to address this conflict is by allowing everyone to speak and potentially having a vote so that we can efficiently move forward with other discussions. Additionally, I plan to actively engage in Steering meetings, collaborating with several other members of SGA, such as the President, Vice President, and Speaker of the Senate. This involvement allows me to stay informed about SGA’s activities across different branches and potentially integrate successful strategies into my own role.


What is your vision for maintaining good relationships with all the people who have a stake in how SGA spends and allocates the Student Activity Fee?

Currently, the Student Activity Fee provides funds to different entities on campus, including the Student Events Board (SEB), The Retriever Weekly (TRW), and clubs on campus. Thus, all student organizations that can potentially receive funds allocated by the Finance Board have a stake in how SGA spends and allocates that money. I hope to maintain good relationships with all of these student organizations by making sure to reach out to them via email or during training and giving them all an equal opportunity to speak with me about any questions or concerns they may have. Additionally, I consider it essential for the Finance Board to uphold and set equitable precedents, ensuring that all student organizations have equal opportunity to host events without any particular organizations dominating the allocation of funds.


How do you plan to be a resource to student organizations?

The Treasurer of SGA is essential in fostering diversity on campus, as we enable treasurers of student organizations to navigate the budgeting process effectively, allowing them to host events that contribute to the diversity of this campus. I plan to be a resource to student organizations by continuing to be someone who is readily accessible, ensuring they have the support they need by being easily reachable if they have any questions. This semester, I chose to hold Finance Board Budget Request Training completely online to maximize accessibility for students. I intend to continue this approach because these trainings are not only required but essential for the understanding of submitting budgets. Furthermore, during Finance Board meetings, I will collaborate closely with student organizations to allocate funds for their events, providing assistance throughout the process.




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