January 25 2018
The Student Government Board voted yesterday to approve senior Simona Andreas as the new Student Body Vice President. Last Wednesday they voted to approve junior James Sorenson as the new EVP of Student Life.
These appointments come in the wake of two resignations in the last two months and a total of three resignations over the course of the last year.
Senior Brielle Lisa publicly announced her resignation from her position as Student Body Vice President to the college in an email on Jan. 18. The SG Constitution Bylaws require resigning Presidents and Vice Presidents to explain their “reasons for withdrawal.” In her email Lisa wrote, “I ultimately decided to resign because I no longer believe being Student Body Vice President is good for my mental and emotional health.” Lisa underscored her gratitude for the opportunity to serve on student government.
When asked whether Student Government was surprised at Lisa’s resignation, Student Body President Binny Sou responded that, “Brielle has played an exceptional, singular, unparalleled role in bringing the Student Government board to where we are at following the elected Student Body President’s resignation … She has the ability to raise the caliber of a place in terms of performance and professionalism while also fostering a good, caring culture in that place as well, so because of that kind of role she played on Student Government board of course when she resigned it was a surprise to say the least.”
In looking for a VP replacement, Sou told the Record that, “[Appointing the vice president] was a decision mostly by me.” This is in accordance with the SG Constitution and bylaws which state: “The President, or the new President, will appoint a new Vice-President who will take office upon confirmation of a majority vote of the voting members of the Board.” When searching for someone to fill the position, Sou said he was looking for someone who would be familiar enough with Student Government to be able to facilitate and run board meetings effectively as well as provide care and support for board members.
This year is Andreas’ second year as the EVP of Global Engagement. As Vice Chair of the board, over the course of the past semester she has served as Chair Pro Tempore in the Chair’s absence on the SG board. Andreas told the Record, “I see [serving as Vice President] as an opportunity … it is my job to take whatever Brielle started, to take the vision that was set at the beginning of the year [and carry that on].”
According to Sou and Andreas, it is still unclear whether she will continue on in her role as EVP of Global Engagement as she takes on the full responsibilities of student body vice president. When asked about potentially filling both roles Andreas responded that, “technically, it’s not constitutional.… Because we are going through a lot of changes it is not something that we can do overnight at this point … we have to pick our priorities at this point.… The best thing we can do right now, the most stable thing we can do right now is to have me continue some of that off the board…. We are already working on some parts of the campus to find people as a replacement.
Sou told the Record that because they had to “move around so many pieces” it is unclear what will happen with Global Engagement committee which raises multiple questions. “Is there someone who can replace EVP of Global Engagement? If there is, great. If there isn’t, what are we going to do about it? So those are some of the questions about it. But there isn’t a clear decision around it.”
Sou and Andreas will be the first President/Vice President team of international students. Andreas explained to the Record that as a sophomore she hesitated to run for SG, “because it is not my country and I’m new here.” She asked herself, “‘Do I truly belong here?’ I was encouraged by a lot of kids around me in SG, definitely stepping on board. I was just like wait, no, like this is our school too and so I think seeing that symbolic me in front of the campus representing the whole campus basically. I think that can give a lot of hope and encouragement to other students.”
Andreas admitted that SG is in a “unique” position this year considering the amount of turnover and being led by two leaders who were appointed rather than elected. She said, “The number of people we’ve had to replace is higher than usual, but this has happened before.” Still she is optimistic about jumping in as Vice President. When asked about this unique situation, of having two appointed SG leaders, Sou commented that, “Even though I am not elected by the student body, the student government is a part of the student body, so a lot of its authority comes from the student body too. So because I am within that organization, whether I am appointed or elected, I am held accountable to the student body too … just because they didn’t choose us doesn’t mean we don’t have to choose them.”
The process for replacing EVPs on the board is outlined in the SG bylaws which state that, “The Student Government President and Vice President will be charged to nominate a new appointment to the board. It is recommended this nomination be a member of the resigned EVP’s committee. This nomination must be approved by an absolute majority of the Government.” Sou explained that departing from the recommendation that one of the nominations be from the committee is “just a judgement call in thinking that it might be better to get [someone] from outside the committee. So we gathered recommendations from the student government board members.”
One of these was Sorenson, who was recommended by the board, nominated by Sou and Lisa and approved by an absolute majority of the board. Sou explained that one of the most important criteria for choosing the new EVP of Student Life is the ability to adapt to the position quickly and that extensive student leadership experience would help whoever fills the position.
Sorenson has been involved in student life on campus in a variety of ways from working as a CVC ambassador, served on Orientation Committee, sophomore class council and the global engagement committee.
When asked about what he hopes to accomplish as the new EVP of Student Life, Sorenson mentioned he would like to see some of the projects former EVP Angele Bubna started through to completion, specifically reinvigorating and reimagining art in Lower Beamer and looking at environmental sustainability again. “On top of that, I think this semester, especially, is a really good opportunity for new connections to be built across student groups. And I would love to facilitate conversations with a number of different areas of campus to bring people together and to have people get to know each other.”
January 25 2018