After a closely fought Student Government Association election, Sean Piette and Katie Hansen have been elected as the incoming President and Vice President.
Before being elected, both Piette and Hansen had held positions in student government. Discovering the change they could enact is part of what motivated them to run.
Piette said, “A week after I started getting my voice in at SGA, I realized every single student at the university has a much more powerful voice than they’re led to believe and that’s been the focus for me pushing for our campaign. We all have a super powerful voice and when used, we can move mountains and we can make this university the way we want it to be.”
With voter turnout being only about 12 percent of the student body, one of the top priorities for the duo is to make all university politics user-friendly. From the school’s budget, to how the student government functions, the pair hopes to make issues more easy to engage in for students.
“When that knowledge is more accessible, students might be more interested in becoming involved or more interested in paying attention to our budget cuts and then say that we already have this much or this little and you can’t get rid of any more,” said Piette.
Hansen said, “It also tells students what services are available to them. Some students might not realize they are paying for the bus. That’s a service everyone has access to but not everyone knows.”
Other services included in students’ tuition and fees include the Tutoring and Learning Center, athletics and on-campus events. All students also have access to everything Delzell Hall offers such as medicine and the Counseling Center free of charge.
While there are no partisan politics in SGA, there will still be differences with the transition of power between the current administration and the newly elected.
Overall, both teams share similar values of inclusivity and sustainability. Additionally, John Peralta, the current president, and Piette are both in the College of Natural Resources.
Piette said, “A big focus of our administration that will be different than theirs is that we are going to put more emphasis on what students do in the entirety of their life.”
While a school’s top priority is typically academics-related, today’s standard university experience encompasses much more.
“One thing I’ve learned these last couple weeks is that at a two-year college you learn a skill, master it, and have a job. Then there’s a four year school, like here, where you learn an entire field and have a whole campus life to learn skills outside the classroom,” said Piette.
Because the issues facing the campus vary from year to year, there will be a difference in what will be decided on.
“Some things will certainly be different because of the changing atmosphere of the university, mostly regarding finances,” said Hansen. “With enrollment down, we will have less segregated fees to work with and less tuition for academic programs.”
Though busy schedules and long nights will become routine, Piette and Hansen are both looking forward to being a voice for all students.