Each year, a handful of students attempt to take on roles as members of the Student Government Association (SGA). This year was no different than any other; some positions ran unopposed and other positions ran in fierce campaigns against their peers.

Junior Kaitlin Parrish ran for President of the Student Senate unopposed, largely due to the requirements necessary of the President, which includes experience on the Student Senate.  While Parrish prefers a more competitive race, she still valued the SGA debate.

“Honestly, I wish I would have run against someone. The debate went well! Sarah [Cornett] was a wonderful moderator and I thought the questions were fair. My individual questions weren’t especially difficult, but I found some of them hard to answer without being redundant,” Parrish said.

As President-elect of the Student Senate, Parrish says she will “be proactive and meet with the Academic Deans as much as possible. I want to get the Majors and Minors Fair going in the fall, as well as the Academic Policy Q&A Event and purposeful yet fun events, such as Dine with a Mind.”

Junior and current President of the Student Activities Council Sebastian Brown,, ran for re-election unopposed. However, the lack of opposition did not stop him from having regrets about his campaign.

“In retrospect I wish I had focused on [my campaign] more, despite being unopposed. This would have allowed my platform to be conveyed more eloquently,” Brown said.

During the upcoming year, Brown wishes to “work on changing how the Student Activities Council is perceived on campus by providing events the student body wants and by making sure they are aware of these events. One of the biggest changes that will happen during the two years of my presidency is that we are currently editing the constitution and bylaws of the Student Activities Council.”

The Speaker of the House position had three competing candidates in the initial election: first-year Henry Nyugen, junior Ross Larson, and sophomore Bryce Rowland, who is currently studying abroad in London. The first round of voting finished without a majority support for any candidate, which prompted a run-off election between the two candidates with the highest percentages of votes: Larson and Rowland. With 56 percent of the vote, Bryce Rowland will be the next SGA Speaker of the House.

Rowland looked back positively on the campaign he ran. “I think that my campaign went really well. It’s hard to be upset with a campaign when the outcome works out like it did. I’m excited to do some dynamic things with the position next year,” Rowland said.

Undoubtedly, the major hurdle Rowland had to jump was communicating his ideas to the student body from England. “Not being on campus was hard for me. Without really knowing how the campaign was going, I put a lot of pressure on myself. There hit a point where I realized that there was nothing really more that I could do,” Rowland said.

However, Rowland is excited to implement his ideas. “I think the main thing that I want to have in place by the time I’m done is the three to five year plan for SGA. First, I’ll try to get a feel for what it is that the students feel needs changing on this campus [with President Hunt VanderToll]. After that, a formal draft with expectations for SGA will be created, which is uncharted territory. What I think should happen is that this resolution should be voted on by both students and SGA, and that way we are held accountable for these goals by the students.” Rowland’s long term plan is for the greater good of SGA-not just for himself. “ The whole purpose of this plan is to give a bit of long term focus to the goals of SGA and to allow continuity between administrations for larger projects. In addition, I would like to improve student attendance at SGA meetings,” Rowland said.

In sum, Rowland reemphasized his commitment to the campus community. “Being elected to this position really means the world to me, and I don’t want to let down the student body,” Rowland said

In one of the tightest Presidential elections in recent years, Gray Whitsett and Hunt VanderToll ran fiercely competitive campaigns. In the end, VanderToll won with 56 percent of the vote.

VanderToll had high praise for the other candidates and his supporters. “I think that the campaign went really well; all of the candidates really showed out and campaigned to the best of their ability. The support from fellow students really made the difference along the way when things got stressful,” VanderToll said.

The SGA Debate was important to VanderToll because it was “a great forum for the students to hear all of the candidates’ platforms and plans and be able to ask questions directly.”

As President of SGA, VanderToll plans on utilizing part of Whitsett’s main platform by “meeting with organization leaders about their needs.”

“I plan to integrate [that idea with] a plan of my own to reform the Student Affairs Committee,” VanderToll said.  Additionally, he intends to implement projects like “a Text-To-Suggest Program, creating more study spaces on campus, increasing printers in Pearl and Brockman, and other Campus Improvements are high on my list. I want all Centre students to benefit from SGA and by focusing on the campus; it is definitely the most inclusive and measurable way.”

One of the main concerns at the SGA Debate was of the lack of communication between the student body and SGA. VanderToll intends on solving this problem with a variety of methods. “A summary of [SGA] meetings sent out in the weekly announcements with a link to the full minutes, to be more transparent with the students as to what we are doing. With this, I think communication will be improved a lot,” VanderToll said.

VanderToll admits to being extremely nervous about the results of the election. “I think anyone that has their name on a ballot going out to the entire student body would be nervous. The best thing you can do it let yourself be at peace with what you have done and be confident that no matter the outcome, Centre is still going to run with or without you as president. It really puts things in perspective,” VanderToll said.

Overall, the new leaders of SGA and SAC are determined to make student government a more prevalent organization. Each new leader has a well thought out platform and are whole-heartedly determined to do great things for the Centre community.

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