Story by Austin Cannon
Photos by Taylor Soule
Candidates gradually entered Olmsted, joining their friends and supporters in nervous anticipation.
Joshua Duden, a first-year from Shawnee, Kan., was elected to an at-large position, described his anxiousness.
“I was shaking. I was checking the clock like every three minutes … It was nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time,” Duden said.
Duden was one of nine candidates to earn positions as senators-at-large, including Joshua Schoenblatt, Benjamin Verhasselt, Mark Reiter, Cole Schwartz, Olivia O’Hea, Mike Jennings, Emily Grimm and Ekta Haria. Salwa Junjua was elected as the diversity interest senator at-large.
Schoenblatt, Schwartz, Grimm, Haria and Junjua are returning senators while the remaining five are holding a position for the first time.
Haria, who serves as the Student Services Committee Chair on this year’s Senate, received the most at-large votes.
Even as a current senator, Haria did not expect to be the top vote getter in the at-large election.
“It was a surprise, but at the same time I believed in the people who voted for me,” Haria said.
Academic senators were also elected. Natalie Gadbois was re-elected as senator for the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, first-year Kevin Maisto was elected to represent the College of Business and Public Administration and Benjamin Lambrecht was elected as the College of Arts and Sciences’ senator. Gwendolyn Baumgardner won the School of Journalism and Mass Commication spot, Nicole Germann will be next year’s School of Education senator and Daniel Scheetz was elected as the Fine Arts senator.
Benjamin Verhasselt, an at-large senator-elect from St. Louis Park, Minn., discovered that campaigning for Senate was a whole new experience.
“In high school, it was just about who could put up the most posters. Student Senate campaigns are real and they’re hard-hitting and they’re a lot more work than I was used to, so, in that respect, it really challenged me,” Verhasselt said.
Nine of the 16 candidates elected are first-time senators, so there will many new faces around the table come next fall.
Natalie Gadbois, now entering her second year as pharmacy and health sciences senator, was excited for the upcoming session.
“I’m really excited looking at all the senators for next year and I think that there’s a lot of new blood around the table so I think that we have the potential to do a lot of good things,” Gadbois said.
It was not all joy and excitement early Wednesday morning. Some candidates’ Senate aspirations were ended.
“I thought I did all right with campaigning. I thought maybe I could have done a little better with getting my name out there,” Nankivell said. “I probably will run again next year.”
There were also two candidates who received substantial write-in votes for at-large positions, Drake mascot Porterhouse and the Drake Squirrel.