Oles’ votes are in, and the Student Government Association (SGA) campaigns have been completed for the 2023-2024 academic year. Voter turnout declined this year — 396 students voted, representing less than 10% of the St. Olaf student body.
This year, candidates for three major positions ran uncontested: Political Awareness Committee Coordinator, Senate President and Vice President, and Board of Regents Student Committee (BORSC) Coordinator. Jana Kraleva ‘25 has been elected as the new PAC Coordinator, Sophia Pletcher ‘24 and Chau Truong ‘24 as President and Vice Presidet, and Fenton Krupp ‘24 as BORSC Coordinator for his third consecutive year in the role. Geovani Pena ‘24 was elected as DISC Coordinator and Helen Olson ‘24 for SOC Coordinator.
Senate President and Vice President: Sophia Pletcher ‘24 and Chau Truong ‘24
The role of the St. Olaf College Senate is to improve campus community and advocate for the student body. They help fund programming and volunteering and create funds for organizations in need. Recent Senate-funded programs include the textbook initiative, which sought to provide accessible and affordable textbooks to all students, and the free menstrual products initiative.
The new president of SGA, Sophia Pletcher ‘24, has been involved in the Senate since her sophomore year. Chau Truong ‘24, the new vice president, has been involved since her first year. The two are excited to further connect with the campus community and restructure SGA. Truong and Pletcher hope to bridge the gap between the student body and administration.
The Senate currently has a small committee committed to the discussion and reexamining of its current operations. “Its mission is to ask if it best serves the student body in its structure that it is currently in, and the short answer to that is no, it does not. At one point in time, that structure did work for the student body, but now demographics have changed,” Truong said.
Truong and Pletcher hope to change the structure of SGA so Oles might be more involved with Senate meetings, elections, and even campaigning for future senate positions.
During their time in office, Truong and Pletcher hope to reexamine the President’s Leadership Team (PLT) and the campus alcohol policy.
Truong said, “I consider myself a people person and I love having new connections and making new connections. I want the student body to know that I want to be as approachable as possible.” Truong is excited to make a change as well as be a facilitator for productivity and efficiency.
Pletcher hopes that the community on campus might be able to recognize her as a person with answers. “I want to be more of a resource, pushing the change that [students] want to see rather than taking it up and having the Senate take credit for it,” she said.
The Political Awareness Committee (PAC) strives to promote community engagement and political awareness on campus by providing educational resources, facilitating dialogue, and empowering students to become advocates for meaningful change. Jana Kraleva ‘25 has been involved with PAC since freshman year and served as their academic marketing and social media officer this past year. Kraleva is most excited to get individuals in the community involved in politics and social justice. Kraleva hopes to keep PAC’s presence in the community as consistent as possible and show visible involvement within the community. She strives to hold at least two events per month and engage in more marketing opportunities to truly reach and affect students and the environment on campus. For the 2023-2024 academic year, Kraleva would like to host more tabling opportunities.
“It’s important to know what type of events [students] would be interested in. St Olaf students are often preoccupied with school work and committed to too many things, which leaves us with little time to participate in other events. Knowing what students are interested in would help us plan events better” said Kraleva to the Olaf Messenger.
Additionally, Kraleva strongly encourages students to reach out to her or other PAC members. “If you wish to propose an event or to be closely involved in one, or if you have a speaker in mind who you think the student body would like to see in person. We appreciate the communication, and we want to be as approachable as possible to the wider community,” Kraleva said.
BORSC Coordinator: Fenton Krupp ‘24
The Board of Regents Student Community (BORSC) aims to relay present issues to the college’s board and administration with the consideration of different student identities. Fenton Krupp ‘24 has been a member of BORSC for the past three years and has been elected BORSC Coordinator for three consecutive years. Krupp hopes to continue to get the student body involved in discussions with both the president and leadership team. He plans to create a Student Organization pamphlet for the upcoming president Susan Rundell Singer in order to make her transition as smooth as possible. Additionally, Krupp would like to continue to pave the way and improve Stav Force One by regularly meeting with the general manager of Bon Appetit and the College CEO to provide student feedback. He envisions an additional dining service similar to a kitchen pantry, where students could eventually use flex dollars to purchase ingredients for meals that they could make in the comfort of their dormitory.
SOC Coordinator: Helen Olson ‘24
The Student Organization Committee (SOC) funds student organizations. Student organizations can request funding for events, speakers, or equipment through SOC. Helen Olson ‘24 has been a member of SOC for two years. She joined SOC after participating in an interim program with the coordinator of the Political Awareness Committee (PAC). Olson then realized how much she would enjoy being a member of SOC and helping her fellow classmates pursue their passions. Olson is most excited to make “SOC more transparent to the general student population as well as making the resources to create new clubs or ask for funding more straightforward and easier to navigate,” Olson said.
Olson is currently updating the bylaws to be more up-to-date, removing information that is no longer relevant, and editing the bylaws to make them more clear. She is also working to edit the Policy Manual to give more details about select bylaws. Olson hopes to be able to make the funding process and regulations more straightforward.
“I hope to make the process of proposing a club and asking for funding more transparent which will include a template for club constitutions, ideas for fundraising, and common requests that we receive for funding that follow our by-laws. I want people to have enough information so that they can be successful when coming to propose a new club or ask for funding,” Olson said.
DISC Coordinator: Geovani Pena ‘24
Geovani Pena has been involved with the Diversity Initiatives Support Committee (DISC) for three years and hopes to be a resource for ensuring all students’ voices are heard. A couple of Pena’s initiatives for the upcoming year are events similar to the Food Fair, which aim to better represent minority students on campus, and begin cultural spirit weeks and a global fair.
“When this community begins to grow it will have a greater representation and understanding in the foundation of the growth of our multicultural community,” Pena said.