BY IAN KLEIN
In a tight election, sophomore José Garcia-Fuerte edged out fellow sophomore Nick Johnston to secure the position of student body president for the 2018-19 academic year. Running unopposed, sophomore Bakari Caldwell and junior Giada Morresi won the offices of vice president of student life and vice president of student activities, respectively.
The campaign for student body president was won by a narrow margin, as Garcia-Fuerte won 417 votes to Johnston’s 374. Caldwell received 676 votes with 132 voters abstaining, while Morresi received 690 votes with 118 abstentions.
In a Facebook post, Garcia-Fuerte thanked his supporters: “Thank you all for the support … I look forward to all of the amazing things we will accomplish together and where we will take the student body.”
Central to the Garcia-Fuerte platform was promoting equity and inclusion at Drake. Garcia-Fuerte currently sits on the Senate as one of two equity and inclusion senators. He led the UNITY Roundtable in its first Multicultural Festival in the fall of 2017 and the creation of the Unity Voices newsletter, which seeks to give voice to historically marginalized communities at Drake.
Garcia-Fuerte plans to “ensure that resources and mediums for students to be actively engaged in (cultural awareness and cultural literacy) are made more available.”
In his campaign for vice president of student life, Caldwell stressed addressing the campus climate and furthering equity and inclusion. Caldwell said in his campaign platform he hopes to make “an exceptional environment for campus student life, as it is the responsibility of Drake University students.”
As vice president of student activities, Morresi will focus on collaboration, innovation and representation.
The vice president of student activities is also the president of the Student Activities Board (SAB). Morresi is currently on the Senate as the technology and facilities senator and has been a member of SAB for two years. Morresi said that in her role, she will promote greater interaction between campus organizations and create opportunities for students to attend networking, political and sporting events.
Senate to vote on 2018-19 budget next week
Student Senate also held its weekly meeting on March 22, where senators approved a funding request of $1,942. Drake University Dance Marathon is a group that will assist families that are undergoing treatment through Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals with “emotional and financial support.” The Senate motion states that the purpose of the dance marathon event, which will take place on April 7 at 5:00 p.m. in Olmsted, is “to spread awareness and create a night for the kids they support fighting through their illnesses or injuries and for the students who help support them to celebrate.”
Senators were impressed by the organization’s ability to have already secured funding for the event from local community businesses and to have more than 90 people interested in the event.
“I see friends that go to other universities that are really active in their own respective Dance Marathon and it’s something that I see has a ton of student involvement at other universities,” Vice President of Student Life Anna Gleason said. “I’m kind of surprised that it hasn’t already spread to Drake,” she added, while showing excitement that there is a significant amount of student interest in the event. The Senate voted unanimously to approve the funding.
Next on the Senate’s agenda are new bylaw changes and approving the annual budget for the 2018-19 school year proposed by Student Body Treasurer Trevor Matusik.
Student Senate meets weekly on Thursday nights at 9 p.m. in Room 201 of Cowles Library.