SGLC Wraps up Spring Elections Filling Top Spots Across Organization

Candidates were running for president, vice president, chief justice, second, third and fourth year senators and at-large senators.

Winners were declared April 11 in the spring elections filling the top offices in the Student Government of Loyola Chicago (SGLC).

Voting was available to all undergraduate students from April 5 to 10 through an online ballot sent to their university email. Candidates were running for president, vice president, chief justice, second, third and fourth year senators and at-large senators.

Junior Alexandra Brist was elected president alongside her running mate for vice president sophomore Ben Bryan. Sophomore Paige Gutierrez was named Chief Justice, SGLC announced.

As president, Brist’s powers will include nominating SGLC associate justices, appointing student representatives to the university Board of Trustees and University Senate, issuing executive orders, ratifying and vetoing SGLC senate legislation, establishing SGLC’s administrative procedures and attending all executive and legislative branch meetings, according to the SGLC Articles of Governance.

“A huge thank you to the people who did vote — we appreciate your willingness to get involved in the election and use your voice,” Brist said. “To the people that didn’t vote for us, that’s okay. If you did vote in the election and not for us, you still used your voice as a student and that’s the most important thing to us.”

Over 1,200 students voted in this year’s spring elections, a dramatic increase from the 600 who voted in last year’s election, according to Brist. She attributed the surge in turnout to a recent change from the SGLC Elections Committee, which allowed for candidates to continue campaigning during the voting period.

“We had one of the biggest voter turnouts in SGLC history, which we think is incredible,” Brist said. “And not only for just the visibility of our organization, but the way that we were able to reach so many students. We think the outlook from here is incredible, and people care about what we do and want to work with us.”

Brist previously served as Speaker of SGLC Senate and Bryan served as a senator during the 2022-23 school year. Bryan said he hopes to implement a piece of legislation he wrote as a senator which would make Narcan — a non-prescription nasal spray capable of quickly reversing the effects of opioid overdoses, according to the Food and Drug Administration —  and fentanyl testing strips available on campus.

One of Brist and Bryan’s top priorities is the creation of a multicultural center which would be available for use as a club and event space for the different minority, cultural and veterans campus groups.

“We have a number of organizations that have come to us and said, ‘We don’t have a space on campus,’” Brist said. “We understand that Loyola, it’s very limited to begin with, so it’s hard to really push for space for individual groups. Seeing that that is a concern, we think that creating a multicultural center for anybody in these groups to come to would be great.”

Brist and Bryan held multiple events to spread the word about their campaign including an event in the Damen Den April 3 after the vice presidential debates, The Phoenix reported.

“We were in random classrooms in Mundelein and Cuneo and just thinking about what else we could do to kind of further our platform and kind of get the word out,” Bryan said. “And so it was a lot of long and stressful nights, but I think that really helped us stay on track with our goals and what we wanted to see from ourselves.”

As the chief justice, Gutierrez will preside over all judicial branch meetings, determine the time and place of judicial branch meetings, and send all censure complaints, dissenting and concurring opinions, approved committee bylaws and legislation to the chief of staff to be archived. Gutierrez said her biggest goal is working with the senate’s Governance Committee to reform the allocation process for club and activity funds.

“We definitely want to work with the governance committees to just clarify things in the articles of governance that are more vague,” Gutierrez said. “And then we want to make sure that there is clear rules and guidelines for the allocating of the student activity fund.”

Gutierrez credited her election to the time she spent creating digital campaign materials, including her campaign Instagram, and virtual outreach efforts.

“It was definitely a bit of a stressful campaign period,” Gutierrez said. “I’m currently studying abroad in Spain, so it’s definitely a lot to juggle the time difference and be able to attend all the things I need to attend. So I’m glad that it’s over now and that the results are in.”

The spring is SGLC’s busiest time for elections because alongside the contests for head executive and judicial branch positions, candidates from each class besides outgoing seniors are also running for seven available senate positions per class, according to SGLC.

During the fall elections, only candidates from the new first-year class are running to represent their year in the SGLC senate and internal elections also take place to fill any vacancies on the senate throughout the year, according to SGLC.

The previous SGLC President Hannah Kwak did not respond to requests for comment.

The students elected to serve as second year senators were Ella Beauleau, Najiya Shahzad, Ishmal Hasib, Falak Choudry and Sophie Buchman, according to SGLC.

“Passing the Equitable Gender Housing Resolution was one of the most rewarding parts of my first year at Loyola,” Buchman told The Phoenix via email. “Look forward to big things from me, as my work in ensuring justice for all ramblers has only just begun.”

Those elected as third year senators were Michael Clausen, Swetha Chandrasekar, Daniel Williams, Farheen Saiyed and Alec Richter, according to SGLC.

“In my time as a senator, I’ve been focused on writing legislation to help push Loyola to do more for environmental sustainability on campus and in Chicago as a whole,” Clausen told The Phoenix via email. “And I’m looking forward to the opportunity to keep amplifying student voices and concerns in the next year.”

Those elected as fourth year senators were Marie Delaney, Melissa Bornovali and Heena Sharief, according to SGLC.

Those elected as at-large, or not representing any specific grade but the student body as a whole, were Khalid Hamdan, Erin Tylutki and Haaziya Saiyed, according to SGLC.

“My main initiative really is to get mental health days established on the campus,” Hamdan told The Phoenix via email. “That’s one of the leading stressors I think upon the student body and among college students overall, is challenges with mental health and I’m finding it to be my duty to make sure that Loyola respects mental health.”

Featured image by Hunter Minne | The Phoenix

Hunter Minné

Hunter Minné