SGA elections: Pianovich, Kowadlo strive for sustainability


Courtesy of Pianovich/Cowaldo campaign.

Nick Pianovich, left, and Rachel Cowaldo, right.

Fairley Lloyd, Assistant News Editor

The UNC-Wilmington Student Government Association elections opened Monday morning. One of the presidential tickets includes Nick Pianovich with Rachel Kowadlo running for vice president.

Nick Pianovich

Nick Pianovich is running for SGA president. His leadership experience on campus includes serving as a Resident Assistant and president of fraternity Alpha Sigma Phi. Pianovich believes that SGA needs leadership both from someone who has worked previously in SGA (Kowlado) and someone who has not (Pianovich) in order to bring new ideas to the table.

Pianovich’s platform primarily focuses on community service and growth. Pianovich wants SGA to branch out from the UNCW community to the larger Wilmington community. Initiatives would include activities such as an SGA Day of Service, in which the student body would get to work alongside their representatives to bridge the gap between SGA representatives and students to make the campus more unified. Another planned event is a UNCW cleanup day to keep the campus sustainable and environmentally friendly, which would take place once a semester.

Pianovich is especially passionate about initiating a Seahawk Preview Day for teenagers coming from underrepresented backgrounds. The event would allow teenagers to explore UNCW’s campus for a day, which would include a tour, sitting in at an SGA meeting, and attending an involvement fair.

“This event would give our students a chance to give back,” Pianovich said. “It also helps the kids we’re serving see that higher education is a possibility, that it can be right at their fingertips.”

For growth, Pianovich spoke about making mental health a more discussed topic on campus to enhance the student experience. This would include bringing a mental health alliance on campus, which would include students, faculty, and staff to discuss and tackle the mental health needs for students, whether test anxiety or any other stressors students face.

Diversity and inclusion were also top of the list. Pianovich wants to address the lack of diversity on campus by hosting diversity programs and strengthening the relationship with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion centers on campus, namely the Upperman African-American Cultural Center, Centro Hispano, and the LGBTQIA Resource Office. SGA would help the centers market their events, as well as work with the administration to have the centers participate on campus tours.

Finally, professional development was an area Pianovich focused on, such as bringing guest speakers to campus to focus on networking, interviewing skills, and helping students become successful after graduation.

“We want to ensure we are advocates for all of our students,” Pianovich said.

Rachel Kowadlo

Rachel Kowadlo is the SGA Chief of Staff and is running for vice president. In addition to the service and growth aspects of Kowadlo and Pianovich’s platform, Kowadlo is passionate about the unity they want to strengthen on campus. She believes that UNCW lacks a sense of “Seahawk Pride” and wants to improve the sense of community on campus. Kowadlo wants to bring the student organizations together for networking and a chance to bond.

Kowadlo wants to create a UNCW “bucket list” for students, an idea inspired by her previous work as a Seahawk Link, a group of upperclassmen who mentor freshmen.

“When I was a mentor, I saw a lot of the students struggled to figure out what it means to be a Seahawk,” Kowadlo said. “If we can work with other student organizations to create this “bucket list”, students can check off every single thing they can be a part of at UNCW.”

Kowadlo also spoke of the importance of sustainability in her platform, wanting UNCW to take pride in its coastal location and be known as a sustainable campus. She wants to ensure that construction workers on campus are LEED certified, having the most up-to-date information on sustainable structures and ensuring all buildings on campus meet such requirements. Other sustainability initiates would include more composting, recycling bins, and sustainable education on campus.

“A lot of students don’t realize we’re taking sustainable steps,” Kowadlo said. “We recently got rid of plastic straws at Dubs Café and Wagoner Hall composts 100 percent of the food.”

Kowadlo wants to ensure stronger communication on campus amongst students, faculty, staff, and the entire UNCW community.

“We want to make sure we’re all on the same page,” Kowadlo said. “When we come together, we become a stronger web.”

The SGA elections are open until Thursday afternoon.