In the first Student Governing Association meeting of the new term, Jansen Penny, junior in industrial engineering, and Ali Karamali, junior in chemical engineering, were sworn in as student body president and vice president, respectively.
In addition, Sadie Polson, senior in marketing, was approved as chief of staff. New senators from every college were sworn in as well.
Speaker of the senate
Afterward, students nominated Lily Colburn, freshman in political science, Vedant Kulkarni, sophomore in business administration, and Hannah Heatherman, junior in finance, for speaker of student senate. Each nominee gave a speech followed by questions from senators.
Kulkarni spoke about being an international student and how difficult it can be for international students to get involved in organizations such as SGA. This past term, Kulkarni chaired the Student Engagement Committee.
“I wish to chair as a vital listener,” Kulkarni said. “I possess knowledge about debates and have the ability to remain neutral. SGA has made me an individual that is neutral but is also able to stand up for what is right. I will never enforce my opinions on anyone and will lead in a non-partisan way.”
Kulkarni added that he would assist all senators in achieving their goals, as well as the student senate as a whole. When asked how he will move the new Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Committee forward, Kulkarni said he will focus on representing diverse voices.
“As I come from a minority community on campus — the international students — I know how important representing diverse voices is,” Kulkarni said.
Heatherman provided three platforms for her campaign: committee selection and oversight, activating student senate and revitalization of governing documents.
“I want to focus on building relationships,” Heatherman said. “I want to have one-on-one conversations with every senator by September.”
Heatherman added that time spent on committees within SGA can make or break someone’s whole experience with the organization. As such, she said she plans to make the committees more diverse by changing the application process. Heatherman emphasized using different strengths and perspectives to help students.
“I think that many of us don’t know how to start,” Heatherman said. “Holding a mindset that everyone is apathetic is holding us back.”
Heatherman also said she would develop a student senate attendance policy.
Finally, Colburn focused on making SGA documents more accessible to senators and emphasizing the need to reach out to diverse groups of students. One way Colburn plans to do this is by creating a Canvas page so senators can access important information in the same space where they keep track of their classes. She noted her own avid Canvas use as inspiration for this goal.
Diversity is also an important topic for Colburn. She said she plans to organize small groups to build a sense of community within SGA if elected.
“This is a community of focused and driven individuals,” Colburn said.
In addition, Colburn said she wants to organize facilitator training for members of executive committees, add caucus leaders to senate executive meetings and create a joint committee on elections.
In other business
In addition to appointments and campaigns, head football coach Chris Klieman spoke to the student senate about challenging themselves and being accountable.
“Take ownership,” Klieman said. “Invest the time and take ownership. This is your program, your organization. Hold people accountable to the standard that is expected in the classroom, on the field. Whatever your purpose is in life, for that day, that season — you’re going to have a lot of pain in that purpose. But if you work hard and keep at that purpose, it will take that pain away.”
Klieman said he tells the football team to focus on one day at a time, and SGA should take some of the same advice.
“Win the dang day — focus on today,” Klieman said. “If you worry about today, it will be a great day. If you worry about future and past, you lose sight of what you have today.”