Student Governing Association swears in new governing body

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(From left to right) Student Body Vice President Jeff Ebeck, junior in finance; Student Body President Parker Vulgamore, junior in agricultural economics and pre-law; Senator Bently Taulber, freshman in political science; Speaker of the Senate Evan Porter, junior in political science; Senator Marta Richenburg, junior in history and political science. (Carter Schaffer | Collegian Media Group)

As Speaker of the Senate Blake Phillips pounded the final gavel, the commotion and chatter in the senate chamber simmered. The buzz and excitement in the room turned toward the new student body president and vice president, signaling a new term in the Student Governing Association’s leadership.

The new SGA term began on March 24 with the installation of Student Body President Parker Vulgamore, Student Body Vice President Jeff Ebeck and the 2022-2023 Student Senate.

The proceedings began with former Student Body President Michael Dowd swearing in Vulgamore, followed by former Student Body Vice President Cameron Koger swearing in Ebeck.

Vulgamore and Ebeck won the election in February after networking with over 120 students during the campaign season, Vulgamore said. They ran on the platform of “Purpose & Prosperity.”

“It’s been about a month-long transition period, [and] it’s been even better than I could’ve imagined,” Vulgamore said. “It’s so cool getting to meet with all these administrators and share our goals and our ideas and connect.”

Vulgamore and Ebeck felt “Purpose & Prosperity” covered their mission, and although most student body presidential campaigns run on three platforms, the two felt comfortable breaking tradition. To them, “purpose” means helping students find their purpose by connecting with the K-State family, and “prosperity” means ensuring students the tools to enjoy prosperity at and beyond K-State.

“What really inspired us was the unique opportunity this year,” Vulgamore said. “It’s almost a new generation of K-State.”

Vulgamore and Ebeck started getting to know each other in September 2021. After a couple of meetings and finding they shared the same vision, the two became friends and started planning their campaign in October.

“I’ve never had my passion ignited more [than] whenever we had [conversations],” Ebeck said. “We had the same vision, we had the same ideas, we had the same passion and that’s when I was like, ‘I’m all in, let’s do this.'”

Former Speaker Phillips swore in the new senate following the student body president and vice president. The team includes veteran senators like Arts and Sciences Sen. Evan Porter and new senators like Arts and Sciences Sen. Bently Taulbert. After serving as an at-large member of SGA, Taulbert accumulated enough votes to earn a senator position in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“I think SGA does a really good job in making things light and fun,” Taulbert said. “Everyone says their favorite scent, where they’re from … and compared to when I was sworn in as an intern, the senator swearing-in was a lot cooler of an experience [because] we also got to vote on who we wanted our speaker to be that night.”

Some of Taulbert’s goals include applying for a committee chair position and hosting town hall forums for the College of Arts and Sciences.

“At the end of the day, we are representing our college,” Taulbert said. “If we aren’t figuring out what they want, it’s not much of a democracy.”

Following their installment, the other senators elected Arts and Sciences Sen. Porter as Speaker of the Senate. As Speaker, Porter runs Senate meetings by going through the agenda and keeping things moving. He said he plans on keeping things moving this year so SGA meetings don’t run as long. Other duties include ruling questions out of order and ruling if amendments are irrelevant to the subject on the floor.

Alongside his duties as speaker, Porter wants to focus on recruitment for SGA, as well as recruitment and retention for the university. He encourages every student interested in SGA to fill out an at-large application at the beginning of the Fall 2022 semester.

“Recruitment for SGA specifically is my number one priority,” Porter said. “I want to prove to people that there are a lot more opportunities within the organization.”

One of those opportunities is membership in SGA committees.

The Strategic Oversight Committee is a new committee created by SGA for the 2022-2023 term that Porter wants to lean on to help with long-run recruitment. The committee’s goal is long-term planning for the university. Porter said assisting the committee in getting started will help recruitment for the university and SGA beyond his time in office.

“We’re all on campus, but the best way to [recruit] is to get off campus and tell people about K-State,” Porter said. “[It’s about] advocating for the university outside the university [and] making sure that high schoolers know that there’s this opportunity here at what I consider to be the best university in the country.”

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