SGLC Executive Branch Restructured with Six New Appointees

The Executive Branch of Loyola’s student government reorganized and filled several positions this semester.

A series of executive orders restructured the Executive Branch of the Student Government of Loyola Chicago and created several new positions at the start of the spring semester, with six new students joining the branch staff for the remainder of the school year.

The three orders, signed by SGLC President Alexandra Brist, eliminated the roles of Associate Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Associate Communications Officer, and sole Chief Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer. In the same motion, they created new dual Chief Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officers in both Student and Administrator roles, the new Chief Academic Affairs Officer and the new Chief Technology Officer.

Chief Academic Affairs Officer

Second-year political science major Ronan Valera is the inaugural Chief Academic Affairs Officer. Valera said his duties include advising the Senate Academic Affairs Committee, advising Brist on academic areas, meeting with faculty and chiefly acting as the student representative to the Board of Undergraduate Students and College of Arts and Sciences Academic Council.

In these monthly meetings, Valera said he hears and votes on course proposals from faculty and is the only student present.

“One of the biggest things I’ve wanted for this role is that we wanted to make sure that the university had a consistent person to talk to when it comes to communicating new policies on academics to the SGLC,” Valera said. “And for the SGLC to bring it to the rest of the student body.”

Valera was previously a senator on the Academic Affairs Committee and wrote a bill called the Confirmation Act which was passed in February after he transferred to the executive branch. The bill ensured university members were notified of new SGLC appointments and elections as well as designated a set time period to appoint and elect.

The bill aimed to improve communication and transparency between the university, students and SGLC, something Valera said he believed he could continue to advocate for as Chief Academic Affairs Officer and which drove him to apply for the position.

Chief of Staff

This semester is second-year communications major Hannah Pearson’s first with SGLC as the new Chief of Staff, one of two new appointees filling an existing role alongside the new Chief Communications Officer. Pearson said she thinks of herself as the backbone for other people in the organization — she is there to support, help and foster an internal community.

Pearson also handles reservations for other SGLC members, and upgraded the internal request system from a simple document to a Google form which, once submitted, she converts into a PDF document for the organization’s faculty advisor to use in making 25Live reservations.

Like all five other new appointees, Pearson said she would like to stay in her role next year, depending on who the president is. Either way, Pearson said she’s had a great experience and is always proud of what her colleagues do and seeing students stand up for things they believe in.

I’ve had such an amazing experience at Loyola,” Pearson said. “ I know that that’s not the case for everybody, but I want to see if I can do anything or if I can play a part in making somebody’s experience here better.”

Chief Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer – Students

Second-year and previous senator Sophie Buchman currently serves as the Chief Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer – Students, one half of the redesigned diversity, equity and inclusion team.

Buchman said her job is to connect with registered student organizations by attending as many RSO meetings as possible, as well as advocating for the needs of students to the administration and ensuring students they are supported by the SGLC.

“I strongly believe that everyone has a unique story and a unique perspective, that no two people are the same, and no two people’s needs are going to be exactly the same,” Buchman said. “So it’s my job as an advocate to listen to these unique stories to ensure that they are being represented at a higher level.”

With her remaining time left in office, Buchman said she’d like to continue her work with Indigenous people’s advocacy and gender inclusive housing, both of which she first began as a senator but hasn’t fully implemented what she set out to do.

Chief Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer – Administration

Third-year criminal justice and criminology and political science double major Yolenna Regmi completes the DEI team as the Chief Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer – Administration, a similar role to Buchman’s but as a liaison to university DEI groups instead of student organizations.

Regmi said she meets biweekly with several DEI focused administrators to discuss changing policies and find compromises for the school on behalf of students. Regmi and Buchman also meet with each other weekly to catch up on what the other has heard from either students or administrators.

“I’ve definitely noticed that in SGLC, we definitely know the most about what’s going on inside the school because everyone’s so connected and specialized in a certain area,” Regmi said.

One of Regmi’s current initiatives is working to create a scholarship for “multiracial identifying” students. She said she’s aiming to have a complete proposal and begin speaking with the administration about it by the end of the year. So far, the scholarship is only in a starting stage as Regmi works with the financial aid office to find statistics to help prove the necessity of such a scholarship.

“I myself am multiracial,” Regmi said. “I noticed when I was applying for scholarships back in high school and even now, there’s a large national lack of scholarships for multiracial identifying students. I think that the world is changing, the world is evolving. There’s more and more multiracial people on this Earth. And I think that should be reflected in educational systems and scholarship settings.”

Chief Technology Officer

Third-year information systems and analytics major Haley Salas is the first ever Chief Technology Officer for the student government and one half of the newly revamped communications team alongside the Chief Communications Officer, a preexisting position.

Salas’ regular duties generally revolve around managing SGLC’s internal office technology, handling senate live streams and an ongoing rebrand of the SGLC. The rebrand includes some internal changes like a transition from GroupMe to Microsoft Teams, alongside increasing accessibility on the SGLC social media accounts and creating new videos to showcase the organization.

This is Salas’ first semester with SGLC and said before she applied for the position, she didn’t know much about the organization. While the work she’s done has been largely self-regulated, Salas said everyone was very helpful with onboarding and has experienced a unique sense of community compared to other organizations on campus.

“Even though we are student government and we’re supposed to take things seriously, which we do, when we do stuff like that it’s nice to remember that we are students first,” Salas said. “We recognize that we should be focusing on, like, our well being, and we look out for each other and aside from just being so focused on the initiatives that we’re working on or the projects that we’re looking forward to.”

Chief Communications Officer

Third-year molecular and cellular neuroscience major Harshita Yerra is Chief Communications Officer and the other half of the communications team alongside Salas. The only change to the Chief Technology Officer role is it no longer has to maintain the organization’s website, which is one of the Chief Technology Officer’s responsibilities.

Yerra shares several duties with Salas including collaborating on the ongoing rebrand and three related videos, starting the weekly senate live streams and helping maintain the organization’s website. Yerra also manages the SGLC Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn pages. Yerra said she especially enjoys tapping into her creative side making Canva designs for the Instagram account.

“I just wanted to differentiate my school from extracurriculars,” Yerra said. “And being a STEM major, I’m always surrounded by STEM stuff and science and math. And creating content for a club or organization is more on the artistic side. And I wanted to explore that more because I don’t really get a chance to do that during school.”

Last semester, Yerra was the organization’s last Associate Communications Officer – PR/Marketing, and the role was eliminated in the same executive order which created the Chief Technology Officer.

“The roles were really similar,” Yerra said. “Now I just have more responsibility, because I don’t just help the person making the content, I create the content and post it and I have to learn how to delegate tasks and help [Chief Technology Officer] Salas with comms team duties and stuff like that.”

On Wednesday, March 27 students will get their first chance to see the candidates running for 2024-25 Senate, and the official campaign period for next year’s SGLC representatives begins on March 28. All executive branch positions are by application to and appointment from the president, and presidential candidates will debate on April 4.

Featured image by Megan Dunn / The Phoenix

Hunter Minné

Hunter Minné