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2024-2025 SGA Voter Guide

Gabriela Perez- SGA Logo

Photo: Gabriela Perez/The Olaf Messenger


The 2024-2025 Student Government Association (SGA) elections are set to take place April 10 through 12. Students will vote for the President and Vice President (VP) of the Student Senate, the Secretary of Academic Affairs, the Secretary of Equity and Inclusion, the Secretary of Local Impact, and the Secretary of Student Affairs. This cycle stands as one of the most competitive elections for the President and VP positions in recent St. Olaf electoral history, with three sets of candidates in contention. 


President/Vice President

President: Zaria Irving ’25

Vice President: Yolanda Pauly ’25

Zaria Irving ’25 and Yolanda Pauly ’25 have been well-connected on campus throughout their time at St. Olaf. Irving has served on the Student Government Association (SGA) for three years. She has been involved in various campus leadership roles including the President’s leadership team and the Public Safety Advisory Committee, and has worked with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Piper Center. She emphasizes the role of her connections in these spaces in her advocacy for student concerns. Pauly, who has also done her fair share of work on campus, believes her and Irving’s open and connection-seeking personalities are crucial to creating a welcoming community environment at St. Olaf. 

A key point of their campaign centers around inclusivity, which, as Irving explains, is not just for BIPOC students, but students who are queer, have various socio-economic statuses, and are out-of-state and international students. “There is so much more room for enrichment and for us to gather and celebrate each other as students and the things we want to do and to appreciate one another,” Irving said. 


President: Rachel Williams ’25

Vice President: Meakin Bang ’25

Rachel Williams ’25 and Meakin Bang ’25 hope to make SGA more open to students’ voices and opinions. According to Williams, there is currently a disconnect between students and the resources SGA provides. 

To combat this, Williams and Bang plan to ensure the student body feels heard. Some initiatives they hope to implement include specialty parking passes for athletes and those who work off campus. After hearing complaints in the community, the two want to make transportation more accessible for students, with plans to create a ride-share system where students can get paid for driving others. “We see a need, we meet the need,” Williams said. “It seems very simple.” 

Simplicity is a cornerstone of their campaign. While other campaigners might get caught up in big ideas, this team believes honing in on small, incremental changes is most effective. “We want to have those small things that actually will have an impact, and make sure that we can execute on them,” Bang said. 

President: Dick Nchang ’25

Vice President: Omar Fitian ’26

For Dick Nchang ’25 and Omar Fitian ’26, transparency and accessibility are crucial. 

If elected, they hope to implement a dashboard where senators submit updates about their initiatives so that students are continuously informed. 

Nchang says the dissociation between the student body and the student government calls for accessible plans like this. “If we’re able to ensure and… show the progress and growth of the government, a lot more students will be prone to engagement,” Nchang said. 

“The strength of the SGA relies on the students… They have to know and see every progress,” Nchang said. 

Secretary of Equity & Inclusion

Kaya Clemons ’26

Kaya Clemons ’26 has ambitious plans to reshape how St. Olaf supports its students.

Having worked extensively with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) over the course of her academic career, she has noticed gaps in the student support system. For example, according to Clemons, St. Olaf’s bias report system discourages students from sharing their experiences. She plans to work with the VP of DEI to implement a solution that addresses the school’s biases while protecting students who have experienced prejudice.

“I want our campus to know that every minor or major change they attempt to enact makes a larger impact. I want them to see that there is potential for institutional support,” said Clemons in an email to The Olaf Messenger. 

Aiyana Perry ’26

If elected, Aiyana Perry ’26 plans to focus on “the exploration of unity between all students.” 

For her, this unity encompasses the beauty of sharing other cultures through food and celebration. 

“I would want every student to feel represented through their own traditions,” said Perry in an email to The Olaf Messenger. 

To do this, she also wants to host various events that focus on different cultures while also incorporating their food, music, and performances and opening up monthly suggestion forms for student feedback. 

Secretary of Academic Affairs

Mohamed Radalla ’25

Having served on both the SGA Senate and the Curriculum Committee, Mohamed Radalla ’25 has the experience that he believes equips him well for navigating the newly-instated Secretary of Academic Affairs position. 

He plans to leverage St. Olaf’s wealth of data — whether that be course evaluations or study abroad trends. 

As outlined on his campaign website, if elected, he would work to implement course evaluations for students to see on the student information system (SIS), along with graphs of “study abroad hotspots” that would allow students to see what study abroad opportunities have been explored by others within their major. 

With this focus on increased data transparency on campus, he wants to ensure students have the information they need to make the best decisions.

 “I want to level the playing field by making it possible for students, particularly disadvantaged ones, to make good decisions without necessarily needing to ‘know the right people,’” said Radalla in an email to The Olaf Messenger. 


Grace Barton ’25

With two years of SGA experience and time spent as a student, tutor, and researcher, Grace Barton ’25 is dedicated to helping lower the barriers of academics and SGA at Olaf. 

As an aspiring educator, according to Barton, she spends a lot of time thinking about academic life. While academics are just one aspect of life on The Hill, she acknowledges they are a big one. She hopes to listen to and uplift students’ academic needs. 

Some key goals she hopes to execute if elected include expanding course materials, redesigning registration — including giving students access to syllabi before registering for a class — and implementing mental health days and more flexible final assessment styles. 

“I want all students to know that I am truly there to talk through any ideas that may come up,” said Barton in an email to The Olaf Messenger. “No idea is ever too small or insignificant for my utmost attention and respect.”


Secretary of Student Affairs

Donovan Roddy ’25

Donovan Roddy ’25 plans to give students tools for advocacy and empowerment. 

I think one of the greatest failures of SGA has been that we have not been a very approachable space,” Roddy said. 

He believes the role of senators is to serve as liaisons between administrators and students and to give students information on how to interact with them. 

This approachability is important for what he hopes to achieve, which is why he also wants to organize a community discussion involving the board, faculty, staff, and students.

“I think just having those conversations is necessary in order to change policy or even just start conversations about how to make education more accessible,” Roddy said. 

Roddy is running uncontested. 


Secretary of Local Impact

Elijah Sonntag ’25

In the past, Elijah Sonntag ’25 served as the Volunteer Network Coordinator, which is the parent role to the newly-created Secretary of Local Impact position. 

As Secretary of Local Impact, Sonntag plans to increase connections with the local Northfield community and government. As he explains, due to the campus’ lack of a “community relations liaison,” there has been a disconnect between the campus community and Northfield locals. “We have not been spending time creating those relationships with those people,” Sonntag said. 

Sonntag is running uncontested. 

Secretary of Global Impact

Luanga Kasanga ’25 

As an international scholar from Congo who went to a United World College (UWC), Luanga Kasanga ’25 believes he brings a unique perspective to the position. 

 As Secretary of Global Impact, Kasanga will be leading a new-look branch of the student government, meaning he plans to prioritize open conversations with students and previous position-holders to develop a wholesome view of what is needed from the branch. 

He also plans to continue Global Affairs sessions, expanding them to faculty and staff, and building a stronger connection between SGA and the student body to ensure international students are supported during possible crises. 

Kasanga is running uncontested. 


Secretary of Involvement

Maggie Walsh ’26

Maggie Walsh ’26 sees the role of Secretary of Involvement as “an outlet to create spaces for people to express themselves and make a difference.” 

She hopes that providing a stable place for students to create and support their organizations, paired with consistent communication, will ease the transition into the new SGA structure. 

One method she hopes to incorporate is forming a review board of organizations to strengthen and allocate funds. 

“It is important to me to keep our funds in check,” Walsh said. “Being completely transparent with the rest of the student government and my counsel will reinforce this goal.”

Walsh is running uncontested. 



Voting runs from April 10-12. Students can vote online or at SGA tabling.

The SGA Presidential/Vice Presidential Debate was hosted by The Olaf Messenger on April 8 and is archived on The Olaf Messenger’s Instagram (@theolafmessenger).

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Aiyana Perry is in the class of 2027. Perry is in the class of 2026.

Maya Betti
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