SGA announces spring election candidates: Ballot amendments propose changes to Senate positions

As the spring semester unfolds, the annual Student Government Association SGA elections begin to take shape. On Sunday, March 2, the official list of candidates for various SGA positions was made public. Prospective candidates collected 50 of their peers’ signatures on a petition to put their names on the ballot. On Sunday, March 9, candidates will have the opportunity to share their platforms with students at 7:30 p.m. in Buntrock Crossroads. The primary and general elections will take place on Tuesday, March 11 and Thursday, March 13, respectively.

Besides electing new SGA leaders, students will have the opportunity to vote on two new amendments to the SGA constitution.

The first amendment will remove two positions from SGA’s senate: the faculty governance and faculty life senators. Those currently filling these positions serve as student representatives to faculty committees. In the past, those who have held these positions have felt that they are not an ideal use of SGA’s resources, according to SGA President John Schwirtz ’14.

“The problem is, these senators can’t really share what’s going on in these committees with students but are being marketed as a student voice,” Schwirtz said.

The new process aims to find student representatives to faculty committees through an appointment process. The amendment would have the new position appointed by the current student life committee senator and the curriculum senator.

“We are attempting to consolidate the faculty governance and faculty life senator positions as representatives under the management of the student life and curriculum committee senator,” current Student Life Senator Kyle Oberman ’14 said. “The student life and curriculum committee senators will work in close, joint cooperation to appoint these representatives and ensure that they present to Senate every semester. I’d say this amendment presents Senate and the student body the opportunity to improve Senate’s efficiency, increase cooperation between some of its members and even increase representation. It’s a significant change, but we came to a consensus on what needed to be done quickly.”

The second constitutional amendment aims to eliminate the Student Alumni Association as an executive branch of SGA. If the amendment passes, the Student Alumni Association coordinator position will be replaced with a student appointment made by the incoming president and vice president, the previous student alumni representative and a representative from the Alumni and Parent Relations office. The appointee will be confirmed by the Senate, where they will be a non-voting member.

“The Student Alumni Association has not fit within the context of SGA for several years now,” said Bailey Williams ’16, the current student alumni association coordinator. “I’m fully supportive of this amendment to the SGA Constitution because a new senator position will allow for much more flexibility within the Alumni and Parent Relations office while still remaining engaged with the student body and the Student Government Association. I believe in the potential that this new position has, and I believe that SGA will be a better-functioning organization with the reassignment of the Student Alumni Association.”

The two amendments will be included in the general election ballot. Current SGA members expect that the changes will reflect well upon the student government.

“The passage of these amendments will illustrate that SGA is able and willing to move forward with change,” Curriculum Senator and bylaws subcommittee chair Evan Davis ’15 said. “It will open up room to find new ways to establish a Senate that is representative of the student body and issues on campus.”

SGA Candidate Profiles:

President, Vice President: Stephen Nolan ’15 and Dan Lilly ’15 vs. Jared Britson ’15 and Max Wolfram ’15 vs. Rachel Palermo ’15 and Nick Stumo-Langer ’15 vs. Dan Frankenfeld ’15 and Will Seabrook ’16

Jared Britson ’15 and Max Wolfram ’15

Major: Britson: Economics and mathematics, management and statistics concentrations

Wolfram: Political science and American studies, environmental studies concentration

Reason for running: [We] plan to promote student involvement within this school in a creative way, through emphasizing school spirit in the arts, sports and extracurricular activities. School spirit, however, is not the only facet of SGA’s functions that needs reform. The power that SGA holds in the administrative quarters of St. Olaf must be addressed as well. We will dutifully serve at the pleasure of the St. Olaf student body.

Dan Frankenfeld ’15 and Will Seabrook ’16

Major: Frankenfeld: Music and exercise science Seabrook: Political science and economics

Reason for running: We want to run because we believe that St. Olaf is a place to discover, serve and grow in community with one another. Our motto is “Focus on Feedback,” which means a critical part of our platform is listening to students. We will emphasize sustainability, transparency and opportunity, and we believe those values will empower the leaders of SGA to put our best foot forward.

Stephen Nolan ’15 and Dan Lilly ’15

Major: Nolan: Political science Lilly: Chemistry and biology

Reason for running: It’s great that some students have had the opportunity to influence student government, but we don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the majority of us feel like we don’t have an opportunity to have our voices heard. But we’re ready to change this. We have ideas to create real change on campus. And we want to hear other peoples’ ideas too. We don’t want power. We want change. And we think that’s possible if we all work together to create it.

Rachel Palermo ’15 and Nick Stumo-Langer ’15

Major: Palermo: Political science and economics Stumo-Langer: History and political science, Middle Eastern studies concentration

Reason for running: Platform: 1. Use our $500,000 budget to plan events students actually want to attend. 2. Restructure the SGA budget to best benefit student organizations. 3. Restructure SGA leadership and Senate to be most effective for students. 4. Be the voice for concerns from the students to the administration and faculty. 5. Build leadership inside and outside of SGA.

Curriculum Senator: Andrew Parr ’16 vs. Olivia Slack ’15

Andrew Parr ’16

Major: Music education

Extracurriculars: member of St. Olaf Choir, radio host manager at KSTO, Spanish language enthusiast

Reason for running: As a curriculum senator, I would hope to bring student opinions directly to the faculty committee I’d be sitting on. My ultimate career goal is to be a college professor. Because of this, sitting on this committee and discussing what goes into curriculum development would be truly enjoyable for me.

Olivia Slack ’15

Major: Political science and religion, Middle Eastern studies concentration

Extracurriculars: Political outreach coordinator for PAC, member of Oles FACE AIDS, Phi Sigma Alpha and the St. Olaf Cantorei

Reason for running: One of my main goals for running for this position is to be involved in the conversation about St. Olaf’s General Education GE requirements. I have heard students talk about several problems they have with the current GE system, so I hope to bring that student perspective and those student voices to the committee.

DCC Coordinator: Nilakshi Biswas ’15 vs. Merci Ntawukulityayo ’16

Nilakshi Biswas ’15

Major: Biology, management studies and biomedical studies concentrations

Extracurriculars: Co-chair for Celebrate South Asia CSA!, treasurer for Diversity Celebrations Committee DCC, Residence Life staff member

Reason for running: As the DCC Coordinator, I hope to achieve a little more direct involvement with all of the different multicultural celebrations. More importantly, however, I would like for there to be a way to fund club events and celebrations specifically for members. Sometimes multicultural organizations become so involved in organizing events for the campus that they forget that celebrations within the multicultural organizations themselves can strengthen the team.

Roger Ntawukulityayo ’16

Major: Economics and chemistry

Extracurriculars: member of Karibu and DCC, teacher’s assistant for chemistry lab

Reason for running: While I was gathering signatures many people were confused about the position I was running for, so I want to increase the presence of DCC on campus or at least make sure students are more aware about it and involve them more in the activities we put together.

MEC Coordinator: Rose Dennis ’15 vs. Ben Ronning ’16

Rose Dennis ’15 did not submit a profile

Ben Ronning ’16

Major: Psychology, management studies concentration

Extracurriculars: Guitarist in campus band Air is Air, MEC member, Intramural sports

Reason for running: I hope to bring the best concerts to St. Olaf’s campus while considering the tastes of the entire student body. Also, I would like to further showcase the talents of campus bands by creating a thriving community featuring all types of music.

Student Life Senator: Kyle Wilmar ’17 vs. Tyler Benning ’17

Kyle Wilmar ’17

Major: Political science

Extracurriculars: Kildahl Hall president, member of Hall Council and Inter-Hall Council, rugby player, co-host of a comedy show on KSTO radio

Reason for running: My vision is to help better the life of St. Olaf students and help make SGA run more smoothly by fixing problems I find.

Tyler Benning ’17

Major: Biology

Extracurriculars: senate and bylaws committee, Hoyme Hall Council, TRiO mentoring program, pre-health club, quiz bowl, Catholic student association, Intramural soccer and broomball

Reason for running: As Student Life Senator, I would have three main goals: 1 To elicit greater student input on the SGA Budget allocation. 2 To increase collaboration between the Student Life Senator and Hall Senators. 3 To use my appointment power to increase diversity within SGA.

ADC Coordinator: Christian Dwyer ’16 vs. Ross Nevin ’17 vs. Janna Jansen ’15

Uncontested positions:

BORSC Chair: Evan Davis ’15

Environmental Senator: Will Lutterman ’15

PAC Coordinator: Emma Youngquist ’15

SAC Coordinator: Brandon Cash ’16

Pause Co-Coordinators: Nathan Hartwig ’15, Andrew O’Neill ’15

SOC Coordinator: Jocelyn Sarvady ’15

VN Coordinator: Rory Anderson ’15

Intercampus Liason: N/A

Editor’s Note: Stephen Nolan is sports editor at the Manitou Messenger. He was not involved in the writing of this article. All candidates running in contested positions were approached for comment. Candidates on the ballot by Wednesday, Feb. 26 were asked for their profiles.