The Student Government of Loyola Chicago (SGLC) announced the winners of its spring elections, who will take office this week as the organization’s new term begins and will serve until the end of the next school year.
Hannah Kwak and Mereya Riopedre, who are sophomores currently but will serve most of their term as juniors next school year, were elected as the new president and vice president of the organization. Their main goals include sustainability goals and the allocation of funds towards events which promote diversity.
Ella Doyle, who served as the SGLC’s president for much of the previous term was elected Chief Justice, and will oversee the judicial portion of the student government. Doyle assumed the role of president following the resignation of the previous president and vice president in October, The Phoenix reported.
Kwak and Riopedre ran unopposed for the top offices, but said they still wanted to campaign as if they had an opponent.
“It was really important to us that we follow through on that outreach,” Kwak said. “Not only to up student engagement in elections and advertise the other senators, but because we have a really wonderful opportunity to create partnerships now to follow us through the next term.”
The pair, who are roommates, said they are prepared to take on the high-pressure job and look forward to working together.
“This is going to sound really cheesy, but Mereya was the first person to feel like home here,” Kwak said. “Of course it’s a lot of work to balance being friends and the work and all of that, but it’s really wonderful and it’s really exciting and I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else.”
Riopedre said that they are keeping in mind the large responsibilities which come from representing students on all of Loyola’s campuses, including the Rome and Vietnam centers.
Kwak and Riopedre told The Phoenix they centered their campaign around safety, sustainability and equity.
Kwak explained she wants to continue the safety efforts SGLC has worked on by continuing to work with Campus Safety to educate students of safety on campus by increasing access to resources. She mentioned her efforts to create a map of the blue lights on campus.
Riopedre — who’s the president of Food Recovery Network, a student organization centered around sustainability — said that one of her main goals is to completely end the use of plastic bottles on campus.
“This goal is outside of the UnCap Loyola initiative, which ended plastic water bottle use on campus, this is to completely eliminate plastic bottles,” Riopedre said. “It’s not like just getting rid of all soda bottles and no one gets soda anymore, this is looking for alternatives, so glass and aluminum things that are sustainable.”
On equity, Kwak explained they want to push the establishment of more affinity spaces on campus in conjunction with the Department of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs (SDMA). Affinity spaces are physical spaces on campus for students with a shared identity to get together and form communities.
Riopedre said that she would also like to see the creation of a diversity, equity and inclusion fund through the allocations process of SGLC.
“We’re going to target entertainment based events because SDMA currently has a fund which targets education based events, but it’s to create another fund to really prioritize those events on campus,” she said.
Sophomore Joseph Kosman was elected as a third-year senator, meaning he will specifically represent the junior class next school year. This role differs from an at-large senator who would represent the entire student body, he explained.
Kosman, who lived internationally in the United Kingdom and China for over eight years, said that he specifically wants to represent the needs of international students on campus. He said that over the last 10 years, the number of international students attending Loyola has increased by 7%.
“Why I ran is predominately helping our international students navigate Loyola as well as providing resources to students who may be abroad for the first time, just to know there is a connection and organization that can serve you,” he said.
Kosman told The Phoenix one of the main goals of his campaign was increasing student involvement with the SGLC.
“Whenever I launch a campaign I always tell myself that you need to earn it, even if there’s not enough candidates running and you know you’re going to get the position I always take it as a challenge,” he said. “I want to reach out to more students because I really want to engage the student body more and I want more turn-out so I try to engage with students who wouldn’t otherwise know about student government.”
Colette Benoit, Swetha Chandrasekar, Durshun Shah and Daniel Williams were all elected as at-large senators. Kendall Moore, Stefanie Flores, Natalia Yarbrough and Farheen Saiyed won races to be second-year senators. Kathryn Cantrell and Alexandra Brist will join Kosman as third-year senators. Andi Beaudouin and Hannah Yun were elected as fourth-year senators.