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ISSUE 115 VOL 14 PUBLISHED 3/8/2002

SGA election draws crowds

By Stefanie Graen
Staff Writer

Friday, March 8, 2002

On Mar. 1, Student Government Association (SGA) executive candidates realized the desires of the student body through the polls.

According to Nick Wallace '02, the current SGA president, 1273 students voted in the elections. He said, "It is great to see so many students making their voices heard, by taking the time to decide who should represent them. Free candy doesn’'t hurt either."

The winners were excited that carrying out their goals was now possible. Brock Metzger ‘'03, who was elected president, is looking forward to the challenge of bringing the student body closer to its student government.

"The chief duty of the president, as I see it, is to set the standard for Senate by being excited and enthusiastic about doing the job," Metzger said. He feels that active senators will bring SGA to the attention of more students and address more concerns.

Future Vice President Christie Larson '03 agrees, saying, "Brock and I plan to create a stronger bond between the students and the Senate." She is also excited to conduct Senate meetings, and plans on "making them as productive as possible."

Metzger and Larson defeated two other sets of candidates, Karl Helvig and Adam Fix in the final elections, and Isaac Townsend and Courtney Peterson in the primaries.

When asked about the outcome of the elections, Townsend said, "I think it was great that there were three groups of candidates running for president and vice president, in order to give the students what they wanted.

All three were very different choices from the others. Courtney and I put our best foot forward. I wish Brock and Christie the best of luck and I’m sure their experience will serve them well."

Andy Douglass, the winner of the SAC race against Kori Zinsmeiser, is getting anxious to begin the process of choosing his executive committee and brainstorming for next year’s activities. "I will try to schedule the events that the student body desires in order to increase attendance," said Douglass.

In order to find out what his fellow students, he plans on setting up a weekly table outside the cafeteria for suggestions, comments, and questions, and getting publicity out faster with the help of the Messenger and KSTO.

Douglass said, "Ultimately I want to use my experience this year and creative ideas to build upon St. Olaf’s great tradition with student activities, and make this campus the most enjoyable place it can be for all members of the St. Olaf community."

PAC will begin next year with Lauren Topel as its coordinator. First, she plans on getting acquainted with the position and its demands with the help of Megan Shea, the current coordinator. "I am excited to start researching possible speakers for next year. I want to include the student body in deciding who we recruit to speak, so that more people will get involved politically," said Topel.

At this time, she doesn’t want to promise certain speakers and debates, but rather start contacting people to come to St. Olaf as well as finding fellow students for the PAC committee who can help her with her goal of dialogue between all political parties. Topel defeated Loring Harkness for PAC. Both were write-in candidates.

There were other contested races as well. Next year’s financial officer will be Brooke Adamus, who, according to her platform, hopes to use her current experience to create a smooth and effective transition.

Cassie Seningen will be the representative of the alumni relations committee. Helping recent and farther reaching alumni feel once more like a part of St. Olaf is one of her main concerns, as well as creating opportunities for interaction between students and alumni.

Uncontested races included Karin Sharpe for the Board of Regents Student Committee (BORSC), Stephanie Jacobs for the second year as the Volunteer Network coordinator, Philana Roberts for Diversity Celebrations, John Chapman for Student Organizations (SOC), and Kate Johnson for the Lion’s Pause coordinator position.

Students were able to hear most of the candidates, contested and uncontested, speak about their platforms in forums at the Pause and in various dorms.

As for Wallace, he is a bit saddened to be saying goodbye to the position he has dedicated much time and energy to over the past two years. But, he said, "I feel fortunate that I had two years to work with some amazing people, striving to achieve our main objective, student empowerment and betterment." He felt that all of the candidates were "solid and energetic," and he is pleased with the results of this year’s elections.

He believes there are many fresh faces to bring new perspectives to student government, as well as people who are returning to share their experience.

"The group that was elected has a tremendous potential to not only continue the good work started, but to forge their own path of change and progress," Wallace said.

As he looks back on his experience with SGA, Wallace said, "Each day I think of things that SGA could be working on, but I am happy with the work that has been accomplished and excited for the great things that next year’s group will accomplish."

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