Executive leadership sworn in over Zoom, new SGA term begins

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“Say ‘I do’ following this statement: I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of student body president and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the Kansas State University Student Governing Association,” Jansen Penny, senior in industrial engineering, said over Zoom to Tel Wittmer, junior in secondary education and new student body president.

“I do,” Wittmer said.

With that, a new Student Governing Association term began, albeit digitally. Following Wittmer’s swearing in, Lane Lundeen, junior in fisheries, wildlife and conservation biology, was sworn in as vice president. Carson Tjelmeland, senior in chemical engineering, was appointed chief of staff.

Student senators in all colleges were also sworn in.

In lieu of everyone sharing their name, major and favorite smell with the entire senate body as is tradition with swearings in, senators went to different Zoom breakout rooms to share with their individual college caucus.

In addition, Penny was appointed chairman pro tem for the next few weeks as the process for electing the new speaker of student senate begins.

The appointment was made so Hannah Heatherman, speaker of student senate, can participate in the voting process for the new speaker of the student senate as she was elected to be a student senator for the College of Business Administration for the new term.

Nathan Bothwell, junior in political science and communication studies; Jaeda Johnson, sophomore in anthropology; and Natalia Rodriguez, sophomore in business administration, accepted nominations for speaker.

Bothwell previously served as speaker pro tempore in the 2019-2020 term.

“SGA is my true campus passion and I often spend more time on SGA than my own classes,” Bothwell said in his presentation.

His platforms are professional development, organizational development and relationship building. These all revolve around his goal of personal growth.

Bothwell proposed an interview process as opposed to an application process for committee selections to encourage professional development in the new term.

“It will give committee chairs more ownership of their committee,” Bothwell said. “Interview practice never hurts.”

Bothwell also proposed one-on-one meetings that must be completed before new senators can be sworn in if they join later in the semester. In addition, he hopes to build relationships among senators by having monthly events.

“To sum up what I want to do as student speaker is put the ‘student’ in ‘student government,'” Bothwell said.

After Bothwell presented, Johnson said she wants to go the extra mile to make sure student’s voices are heard. By being able to relate and advocate for students, she said she will be able to fill the position competently. She did not have specific platforms.

“The reason I know the things on campus, the resources available to me, was because of my aunt,” Johnson said. “By being a non-traditional student, by being a first-generation student, I had to find resources.”

Johnson was previously part of the Student Parent organization which helps students with children find resources on campus.

Rodriguez has three goals for SGA: an SGA newsletter, bi-monthly trainings and increased outreach.

The SGA newsletter Rodriguez proposed would go out once a month filled with information about bills, committee reports and more. Trainings would involve diversity and inclusion.

“Some people don’t know how to address things such as race or ethnicity and want to be informed,” Rodriguez said.

For outreach, Rodriguez would encourage more guests to attend student senate each week.

In addition, she would conduct one-on-one meetings with senators.

“My passion is serving students in an intentional way,” Rodriguez said. “I love seeing the change I can do for the university.”

Student senate will reconvene at 7 p.m. April 16 via Zoom.

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My name is Bailey Britton and I am the managing editor for the Collegian. I grew up in Colby, Kansas. I am a sophomore studying journalism with minors in leadership studies and English. I value quality news coverage and believe that communication is a vital part of solving problems. When I have free time, I like to spend time with friends and family or be outdoors with a good book.