This year’s SGA election brought about new executive board members as well as a new Class Council for the Class of 2021 in arguably one of the most exciting election seasons Wheaton has seen in years. Campaigning took place over one week and culminated in the voting and results night, which ushered in a new era for the Student Government Association.
The position of SGA Vice President was won by Maya Benson ’18 over her opponent Andreina Rojas ’18. Class of 2019 Treasurer was won by Kate Dransfield ’19. The Class of 2021 Council was filled out by Bethanee Riccard ’21 as president, Alyssa Armstrong ’21 as vice president, Molly Anderson ’21 as secretary, Augustina Nguyen ’21 as treasurer, Michael Metz ’21 as class representative and Candice Appiah ’21 and Elicia Figarsky ’21 as senators. The position of Education Council Chair is still open.
While Education Council Chair was initially won by Breanna Fedor ’19, Fedor dropped out of the race during voting. However, her name was not taken off the ballot and she beat her opponent Alana Franklin ’20. Although under unique circumstances, Fedor has accepted the position of education council chair.
The SGA Vice Presidential race was the most contested race during this election season, with two students vying for the position. 439 students voted in the Executive Board election. Benson’s posters were torn down in several places on campus during the race, leading her opponent, Rojas, to issue an apology. However, it is still not clear where the responsibility for the defaced posters lies, though many assume it must have been a student or students who opposed Benson’s campaign.
Benson stated that posters in Balfour-Hood Center and Everett Hall, including a large banner in Balfour, were all ripped down. The incident happened on Sunday, and official campaigning was supposed to end by Monday, according to SGA bylaws. Benson brought the issue to SGA President Mary Sasso ’18 who, in turn, raised the issue with the election committee and with Rojas. Rojas publicly supported Benson on Facebook when Benson, using her official campaign Facebook page, detailed the defacement.
With her new position, Benson hopes to institute a number of policies on campus. “The SGA Vice President has a similar role to the Vice President of the United States, where you’re the president of the Senate, essentially. The VP at Wheaton overlooks the SGA Senate, decides what goes up at Senate meetings and presides over the process of [the] Senate,” Benson said.
Benson believes that part of her success was rooted in making appeals to a number of campus organizations. For instance, she sought not only the support of her club, the Wheaton College Democrats, but also earned an endorsement from the Wheaton College Conservatives.
One of Benson’s main policy goals for this year is to make clean water more accessible on the Wheaton campus. She hopes to do this through fostering a relationship with the Norton town government, as the government is responsible for Wheaton’s water supply. In addition, she seeks to phase out the sale of plastic water bottles at campus locations and promote the use of reusable water bottles. Benson also hopes that the position will help advance her career goals.
“I’m really interested in policy, and when you’re VP that’s exactly what your job is,” said Benson. “It’s about how to make effective policy with the Senate and how to pass that policy.”
Congratulations to all who were elected. We look forward to what new and exciting changes they will bring to Wheaton.