Last spring, in a highly competitive election, Wheaton chose Caleb Guerrero and Brielle Lisa as its new Student Body President and Vice President. Following the resignation of Guerrero as president, however, the 2017-18 Student Government board will now be led by a new duo that never appeared on the ballots: Binny Sou and Brielle Lisa.
Lisa learned of Guerrero’s decision to resign on June 30 and disseminated this news in an email to the student body on July 18. The email also announced her decision to invite Sou into the role of President.
“Caleb’s resignation surprised me and I did not see it coming,” Lisa told the Record. “I asked Caleb to run with me initially, we became friends during the campaign, and I very much looked forward to serving on Student Government with him this year.”
Equally surprised was Binny Sou when he received a call from Lisa in early July inviting him to become Student Body President. Sou, along with his running mate Leonard Blair Jr., was the runner-up in March’s Student Government elections.
“I was very surprised when Brielle asked me to fill the role as it was completely unexpected,” Sou said. “If I were to say yes, I would be following the footsteps of many former presidents that have gone before me. And those are both big and many shoes to fill. The way I steward this role would have an impact, not only on me and my team, but my successors and upcoming SG boards.”
Sou’s appointment was approved by a vote of the SG Board in early August. Though this path to filling the president’s role is not specifically outlined in the SG Constitution, Lisa notes that it follows “the essence” of the document, which states that, in case of a vacancy, the President shall appoint a new Vice President and have the remainder of the board vote to approve that appointee. This same process was enacted to install Sou as President, simply with roles reversed.
Lisa’s decision not to fill the role herself — the traditional route outlined by Article X, Section 1 of the Student Government Constitution — came out of a desire to most effectively fulfill campaign promises of “advocacy, belief and connectedness.”
“Considering the competitiveness of the election and the major support Binny and Leonard Blair Jr. rallied, I hope Binny joining SG will unite campus more,” Lisa said. “While our tickets used different wording, Binny and I see our two election platforms as strikingly similar.”
Lisa articulated the differences between the presidential and vice presidential roles as another reason why she chose to remain in her original position.
“The Vice President plays a management role for the Student Government Board,” Lisa said. “Generally, the Vice President’s role is more detail and task-oriented by setting the Board up for success to enact the SG vision. With this in mind, I believe my skillset fits these responsibilities well. I also think the VP’s role is helped by continuity and a robust understanding of SG, both of which I bring to the table.”
Both Lisa and Sou have confidence in their newly-created partnership that these unique circumstances have brought about.
“The skillsets that and I bring to the table are profoundly different and surprisingly complementing,” Sou said. “Her strengths compensate for my weaknesses.”
Together, Sou and Lisa seek to listen humbly and attentively to the student body this year. Both are excited about working with Student Engagement this year to further an environment of open discussion and action as a unified student body.
“SG finds itself in the midst of a Student Engagement atmosphere that is proactively moving towards unity,” Sou said. “In order to do this, SG proactively seek out the voices of the student body rather than waiting for them.”
“We desire Student Government to assume a posture of humility by listening first and seek to represent the whole student body accurately and gracefully,” Lisa said. “We want the people who make up the SG Board to love one another and the student body well. Tangibly, we are excited about this year’s Student Engagement’s theme of hospitality and seek to connect and collaborate with other student groups throughout the year.”