Primary elections

With the Student Government Association SGA elections right around the corner, campaigns have been ramping up all over campus.

Along with the usual activities candidates undertake to get their messages out to the student body, which can range from door knocking to hanging posters in Stav Hall, they also had to make it through the candidate forum and the primary elections.

The forum, held on Sunday, March 3 in Valhalla, required all students running for a position to make a short statement about their validity as a candidate. After the candidates made their stump speeches, they were questioned about their qualifications for the position by students in the audience.

Because of the high numbers of students running for positions this year, many of the candidates had to get through the primary elections. As a result, this meeting was an important step in getting their message out to the student body.

The most popular positions this year are After Dark Committee ADC coordinator, Student Alumni Association SAA coordinator, Board of Regents Student Committee BORSC coordinator and the president and vice president team.

Candidates moving past the primary elections for each position are as follows:

  • President and Vice President: John Schwirtz ’14 and Wendy Raymond ’14/Gina Tonn ’14 and Nick Stumo-Langer ’15
  • ADC Coordinator: Erin Hynes ’15/Jillian Riley ’14
  • BORSC Coordinator: Katie Pierce ’14/William Raun ’14
  • SAA Coordinator: Ariane Olsen ’14/ Bailey Williams ’16

These students will be on the ballot for the general election, along with students running uncontested or those who faced only one opponent. A complete list can be found at

While the race is not over, for the students still running, making it through the primaries is an important step. Candidates for president and vice president Schwirtz and Raymond believe that while they campaigned successfully in the past, there is still work to be done.

“Our next step will be to reach out to the people who recognize our name, but maybe aren’t quite sure what our vision entails,” Schwirtz said. “When people hear what we want to do, it goes over very well, so we’ll try to articulate our vision to as many people as possible.”

Presidential candidate Tonn agrees that reaching out to the students is crucial to the remainder of campaigning.

“We’re going to keep building personal connections with people around campus,” Tonn said. “I think being positive and having fun with the campaign has really helped us come this far.”

Sunday’s candidate forum allowed students running to make their messages heard to their opponents and the student body alike. The candidates frequently spoke of a desire to increase collaboration between the organizations on campus, through musical performances, stress-relievers and diverse activities for students on weekdays.

Many candidates voiced a desire for increased communication between SGA and the student body. Kyle Obermann ’14, who Skyped in to declare his candidacy for student life senator, expressed a desire that SGA “let students know how Senate can help them.”

His opponent, Brandon Cash ’16, voiced a similar goal that SGA be held accountable for the student body it represents.

“I will focus on making St. Olaf home,” he said. “A place where all students can belong, a place where they can be themselves.”

The students running for positions in SGA are have spent this year’s election season working hard to get their messages out to the student body. Some candidates studying abroad made time to Skype constituents in order to make sure their voices were heard. After weeks of effort, their campaigns will come to a close with the general elections, which were scheduled to take place Thursday, March 7.