On Friday September 20, the fall 2013 Student Government Association election results were announced, filling the Class Council for the first-year students as well as various positions for upperclassmen. After over a week of campaigning composed of colorful flyers, sidewalk slogans, and brief speeches, the results were as follows. Elected to the Senate-at-Large: Biljana Novakovic ’17, Kylie Brewer ’16, Samuel Kottler ’15, Michael Ratliff ’16, and Brian Jencunas ’14; elected as the Representative to the Board of Trustees and Alumni: Liza Acevedo ’15; elected as 2016 Class Senator: Sarah Hilton; elected as Class of 2017 President: Samuel Evans; elected as Class of 2017 Vice President: Laura McIntyre; elected as Class of 2017 Secretary: Samuel Hickson; elected as Class of 2017 Treasurer: Allie Taylor; and elected as 2017 Class Senators: Katie Elliot and Alison Guzzetti.
The Student Government Association (SGA) undoubtedly serves a significant role in the Wheaton community. With nearly $350,000 in annual funds from the college, the SGA has the unparalleled opportunity to promote campus unity and sponsor events such as Spring Weekend. Additionally, the SGA serves as an important liaison between students and administration, helping to determine the direction of campus life in the coming years.
Though it was their first election cycle (and less than one month into their time at Wheaton), the freshmen displayed a strong interest in participating in student government. Practically every concrete surface in lower campus was covered with slogans and candidate names, while flyers formed a temporary wallpaper in the underclassmen residence halls. It was clear, as newly elected Class of 2017 Vice President Laura McIntyre noted, that these students felt that their “impact at Wheaton could be in the form of representing (their) grade.”
In the days following the election, 2017 Class President Samuel Evans said the selection of a representative was his “first priority,” since the person “will serve as a liaison to the Senate from the Class Council.” With this in mind, Kelly Ludew will be the Class of 2017 Representative, completing the composition of the freshman Class Council.
Even though they are newly elected and have not had the opportunity to formally meet many times, the Class Council of 2017 has already expressed a strong desire to unite the freshmen (one of the largest classes in the college’s history). In the opinion of Class Secretary Samuel Hickson, one of the goals of the Class Council should be to make “it known that we need to work together in order to be successful.” Certainly the freshman Class Council has many expectations, but with plenty of time to gain organizational expertise, all classes are looking forward to seeing them progress as a unit.
While not reconfiguring their entire councils or executive boards, this election still was significant to the upperclassmen as several key leadership positions, such as Senators-at-Large and the RBOTA were open. For Sarah Hilton, who stepped forward to fulfill the role of 2016 Class Senator, motivation to run came from working closely with Wheaton’s past. During the 50th reunion for the class of 1963, she met members who “…were so excited and passionate about everything from the quality of the Wheaton education, to the colors of the class banners shifting to a darker pink. I was so inspired by the amount that they cared.” Looking to capture the same energy and commitment, Hilton echoed the aspirations of the newly elected first years to make the community “more engaged with what’s happening on campus.”
As the weekly Senate meetings start up on Tuesday evenings in Balfour, the SGA faces a new school year and an evolving Wheaton community. With changes in the college’s educational opportunities (namely the new Business major) and administration as the search for the next president continues, the student leaders in the SGA are in the unique position to directly shape Wheaton’s future. Knowing this, 2017 Class Senator Katie Elliot stressed the importance of communication between the general student populace and the SGA by saying, “Our job is to make our experience here the best it can be, and we can only do that with your input.”