Newly elected SGA officials talk positions, goals

By: Rachel Cain – Staff Writer

On March 26, the ballots were in and voting was closed for UD’s spring 2015 Student Government Association (SGA) elections.

“We have big things planned for next year,” Jessica Kerr, the newly elected vice president of communication, said in an email.

The lineup for next year’s SGA is President Mike Brill, Vice President Hayley Clark, Vice President of Communication Jessica Kerr, Vice President of Finance Peter Krull, Director of Marianist Involvement Elizabeth Clarke, Director of Campus Unity Kwynn Townsend-Riley, Business Representative Khristian Santiago and Education and Health Sciences Representative Elizabeth Kelsch.

Mike Brill, a junior biology and political science major, served on SGA this past year as the social sciences academic representative.

“I like being a representative and serving and helping others,” Brill said.  “I saw a lot of potential change I could make, so I ran [for president of SGA].”

Brill said his two main goals in office next year are to address sexual assault on campus and to raise more awareness for mental health issues.

“Hayley and I focused on issues, like mental health and sexual assault that are big issues on college campuses and we didn’t think were being addressed sufficiently,” Brill said. “We definitely want to support the groups and the individuals on campus that are trying to prevent sexual assault and to support mental health.” Brill said other students can be involved with SGA by running for academic senate or becoming knowledgeable about issues on campus and communicating their views to fellow students and to SGA.

“The one way the average student can help SGA is letting their opinion be heard, letting us know and talking to other people about their opinions around campus,” Brill said. “I want to help people solve their issues and problems on campus. If someone contacts me, I would do everything SGA can do to help alleviate their issue.”

Hayley Clark, a first-year political science major, will be serving on SGA for the first time next year.

“Though I am younger and slightly less experienced than past vice presidents, I want to make sure it is clear that I do not take this role lightly,” Clark said in an email. “I have been seeking counsel from the current leadership in order to learn as much as I can about my position and what measures need to be taken to ensure that the 2015-2016 school year is a year of progress.”

Clark said she hopes to continue the word of Sarah Dickson and Elaine Laux, this past year’s president and vice president of SGA, by strengthening SGA’s presence on campus.

“Some definitive goals I would like to accomplish would be to increase student participation to promote inclusivity, help facilitate the creation of more SGA-sponsored sustainability initiatives and increase SGA’s budget for years to come in order to enhance the university experience for UD students,” Clark said.

Jessica Kerr is a junior entrepreneurship and marketing double major and has been on the SGA Marketing Committee this past year.

“After seeing how much SGA does for this student body, I had to be part of it,” Kerr said. “As [vice president of communication] I hope to increase student’s awareness of what SGA can do for them and be the liaison between the student’s concerns and SGA’s collaboration with administration.”

Kerr said her goal is to make students more aware of the assistance SGA provides, such as the outside basketball court by the RecPlex or the library open 24 hours during finals week.

“These are resources that students always use but have no clue that SGA did that for them,” Kerr said. “That’s what I want to change.”

Peter Krull is a sophomore finance major and served on SGA this past year as a sophomore class senator.

“My first goal is to start taking very detailed financial records,” Krull said. “I think it will be important to us to have that information, especially because we’re possibly going to ask for funding for next year. We want to show that we’ve grown, we’re giving more money to more organizations on campus, so I think we deserve a little bit more money to help the students.”

Elizabeth Clarke, the director of Marianist involvement, is a junior religious studies major with a graduate certificate in nonprofit and community leadership. Next year will be her first year in SGA.

“I decided to run for office because I have been greatly inspired by the Marianist charism on campus and I want to further the Marianist mission amongst student organizations,” Clarke said.

Clarke said she hopes to continue furthering the Agape Latte program’s development on campus.

Agape Latte is a “faith sharing program” in which “faculty, staff and administrators share their faith journey with students,” Clarke said.

Khristian Santiago, the upcoming business representative of SGA, is a junior operations management and economics major with a certificate in nonprofit and community leadership. Next year will be his first with SGA.

“My goals during the year is to represent the SGA and its student body within the academic senate and SGA,” Santiago said. “I want to collaborate on working with the current campus climate on different issues that students have experienced the past year.”

Elizabeth Kelsch, the education and health sciences representative, is a junior exercise physiology major. She will hold the same position as she did last year.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to work with my committees,” Kelsch said. “My job is to talk to my constituents [from the School of Education and Health Sciences] and let their voices be heard.”

Kelsch suggested that if students would like to become more involved in SGA, they can attend SGA’s public meetings to voice their opinions.

Kwynn Townsend-Riley did not provide comment.

To contact SGA about your opinions or organization, email sga@udayton.edu, or Mike Brill at brillm3@udayton.edu.