The Kansas State University Student Governing Association kicked off its 2017-2018 senate term with the swearing-in of Jack Ayres as student body president and Olivia Baalman as vice president.
After being sworn in by former student body president Jessica Van Ranken, Ayres, junior in chemical engineering, said he wants to start work immediately.
“Now we get to work,” Ayres said. “I think we’ve started that process of getting work and now it just becomes more real. We’ll get our cabinet members picked out and expand the work we’re doing. This whole two-person show with Olivia and I — we need some cabinet members. We hope a lot of students will apply.”
Ayres encouraged students to apply for the position chief of staff, for which applications can be submitted on SGA’s OrgSync portal.
“I’m excited because the individuals that I’ve gotten to talk to about the things we want to work on are excited,” Ayres said. “One of the things we’re working on is creating this drop-off area at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, and when I talked to students during the campaign, they were like, ‘Absolutely, I’m looking forward to that.'”
Baalman, junior in computer science, said she is humbled by the opportunity to serve as student body vice president.
“We’re really excited to get to work on the initiatives we ran on but also on the initiatives that come up or issues that come up across the university, so we can really be good advocates for students,” Baalman said.
Ayres and Baalman said one challenge they expect to encounter during their tenure is balancing student amenities with student costs.
“We are in a very tough time financially right now, and unfortunately, a lot of the things that are really good for students come at a cost,” Ayres said. “It’s being really strategic and creative in our solutions to that dilemma. Anything you do that is going to enhance the experience that students have at K-State, we need to make sure we’re not also increasing the cost, because at the end of the day, finances are the number one reason why students don’t return to K-State.”
Van Ranken, senior in political science, said she trusts Ayres will do great things for K-State’s student body.
“It feels great to hand off the presidency to such a capable leader,” Van Ranken said. “My advice for Jack is to never lose sight of his campaign platforms when he decided to run for office to represent students and to really value the time he has in this opportunity.”
Students elected into senate positions were also sworn in at the meeting.
In other action
The senate nominated Jonathan Peuchen, junior in mechanical engineering and senator from the College of Engineering, for speaker of the student senate. Peuchen was the only nominee and will be voted into office at the next meeting.
Upon nomination, Peuchen presented his platform of senate education, efficiency and membership.
“With senate efficiency, it’s about making sure we’re diligent with our time,” Peuchen said. “It’s no secret that nights in the Big 12 Room are often late nights. With senate membership, I think we can redevelop the Special Committee on Senate Membership and task them with developing their ideas that did not pass last term and crafting new ideas that will lead to increased cultural competency for all senators.”
The senate will next meet 7 p.m. Thursday in the Big 12 Room of the Student Union.