Student Government Association elections have come and gone, leaving Transylvania University with a new group of SGA officers for the coming academic year.
According to senior Josh Edge, the current SGA president, 422 students voted in the election, which is a little higher than the average participation rate.
With all votes tallied, junior Charli Fant will succeed Edge as SGA president alongside vice president Kayarash Karimian, a sophomore. Sophomore April Ballard will take the role of secretary.
For the treasurer position, however, there will be a runoff election since no candidate received 50 percent of the vote in the first round. The two candidates participating in this runoff are sophomores Ashley Carter and Jordan Perkins.
The runoff election for SGA treasurer will run concurrently with the election of senators, which takes place today and Friday. Once again, students will receive an email with a link to SurveyMonkey, where they will be able to cast their votes.
Fant attributes her win to several factors including a solid platform, her choice to have in-depth conversations with other students about her campaign rather than just telling them to vote for her, and her wide variety of experiences, which may have allowed a large range of students to find her relatable.
Fant already has an idea of the major goals that she hopes to accomplish next year. One of these is a revision of the alcohol policy, particularly in regard to the rules on the quantity that students are allowed to keep in their rooms and the discretion policy about bringing alcohol into residence halls.
“I want to make (the alcohol policy) more in line with what actually happens here on campus,” said Fant. “I’d be interested in looking at open container policy, but I don’t feel really strongly one way or the other about that. So, specifically, I would like to deal with the quantity rule and the discretion issue.”
Apart from revising student policy, Fant also hopes to make some more internal changes for SGA. Her first aim is to increase SGA office hours in the early part of the year, before first-year elections.
“My plan is to have someone study in there for about two hours a night,” said Fant. “The door’s going to be open; students will be able to come in, ask questions if they need to. … I want to make sure that students are coming in to see representatives, that we’re not just talking about ourselves and our interests but that we have a lot of student interest.”
This increase in office hours would specifically be directed at allowing the new treasurer, Perkins, to be available several hours a week to discuss funding issues with students who are interested in seeking SGA funding for their organizations.
“We’re hoping to have the treasurer there several times during the first few months so that students can get really acquainted with how to write funding requests, how to ask for operating funds, and things like that,” said Fant.
Along with giving organizations more opportunities for obtaining advice concerning funding requests, Fant would like to double the operating funds awarded to organizations by SGA, offering approved organizations $200 as opposed to the current $100 amount.
“I think organizations can really do more with that money and really take hold. A lot of organizations start off and in their first couple of years they don’t last very long because they don’t have enough money to thrive,” said Fant. “After you ask for operating funds, you can still come and ask for funding requests.”
Fant also hopes to makes some constitutional changes.
“I think we need two (public relations) chairs, one for each of the two major committees,” said Fant. “It’s an internal change, but I really think it’ll make a big difference with how SGA communicates with the student body.”
Outside of the president’s seat, Ballard expressed her wish that the student body become more involved in SGA’s work.
“I really want to make SGA more accessible to all students. I think in the past SGA has been seen as a group that isn’t open for suggestions and isn’t for the entire student body, but I want others to know that we want feedback and people to come to our meetings,” said Ballard. “Our whole purpose is to represent the student body, and we can’t do that without them.”
All officers-elect will officially begin their tenures April 11.