On Tuesday evening, April 12, student leaders and Student Government Association Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates crowded around a table at Applebee’s and waited for election results to be released at 9 p.m.
That evening, Newman University Dean of Students Levi Esses released the results to the Newman community via email announcing that a total of 343 students voted. Juniors Hibah Ullah and Luke Smith won the election by five votes with a total of 152 votes. Sophomore Luke Sponsel and freshman Angela de Souza received 147 votes and juniors Ruben Lerma and Alec Hampton, who Ullah and Smith indicated will be part of their cabinet next year during a debate last week, received 44 votes.
Ullah said her and Smith’s platform ideas are divided into three sections: diversity, transparency and community. She said most of their long term plans will fall under those categories. Beginning with diversity, Ullah said she hopes to partner with diversity clubs on campus as well as urge students to start other diversity clubs on campus.
“For diversity, we plan on improving multiculturalism on campus by partnering SGA with Multicultural Leadership Organization,” she said. “This club has done some amazing things in the past. Sadly, because no one was willing to be part of this club this year, it has kind of disbanded. We hope through these efforts, we can educate the student body on the importance of diversity and empower multiculturalism on campus.”
Ullah and Smith’s second campaign platform was is transparency between SGA, the administration and the student body.
“Our goal is to keep the student body completely informed about all the decisions happening behind closed doors and within the administration,” she said. “We plan on doing this by posting bi-monthly updates from the SGA meeting in the Vantage. Hopefully, this will turn into a permanent thing for SGA, so that communication between the student population and SGA will remain long after Luke and I have graduated.”
Finally, Ullah and Smith included community as part of their three platforms. Ullah said they want to promote more “cross-club” events, activities during the day, family events and diverse activities to promote unity.
“One of our major ideas for building community on campus is the pushing for the revitalization of the basement of Sacred Heart,” she said. “With Newman’s ever growing student population, we will need more space for our students to socialize and feel welcome.”
Ullah said she and Smith have other ideas for their term such as looking at improving mental health awareness and resources and commuter student resources and community.
Freshman Joel Sponsel was elected Senate Leader and 14 other senators were elected to be part of SGA. Five slots remain for Arts & Letters (2), Humanities (2) and Social Science (1). Full election results are listed below.
Esses said SGA has not made a decision on how they will handle the open positions, but interested students may contact him for more information.
Hibachi Ullah & Luke Smith 152 44.31%
Luke Sponsel & Angela de Souza 147 42.86%
Ruben Lerma & Alec Hampton 44 12.83%
Total Votes 343
Business: Joel Sponsel (179 votes), Kyle Mazza (124)
Arts & Letters: OPEN – 2 slots
Humanities: OPEN – 2 slots
Nursing & Allied Health: Angela de Souza (120) & Bonnie Marsh (73)
Science & Math: Kenton Weber (130) & Jacob Hobbie (121)
Social Science: Daniella Buedden (76) & 1 OPEN SLOT
School of Education: Morgan January (100) & Alexis Reed (76)
At Large: Christine Ng (105), Chris Luschen (104), Kelsey Kilburn (93), Madison McCollum (79), Dylan Van Dorien (27)
Adult & Nontraditional: Colby Shinkle (49)