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New student government elected

Photos: Connor McCourtney

Amid the heightened energy of Drake students, the nine new at-large, academic and diversity interest senators were announced for next year’s session.


Nathan Bleadorn

Alex Hendzel

David Karaz

Zach Keller

Amanda Laurent

Sam Pritchard

Michael Riebel

Stephen Slade

Sejjo Valacheril

Academic Senators

Arts & Sciences: Dana Hansen


Fine Arts: Kayleigh Koester

Education: Carly Hamilton

Journalism: Sean Walsh

Pharmacy: Nick Lund

Diversity Interest

Tanaya Thomas

A crowd of about 50 students gathered at Pomerantz Stage in Olmsted Center to await the results from the Election Commission. This time around, there was no PowerPoint announcing the outcomes, but rather Election Commission Co-Chair Alex Bergman naming off the top nine vote getters for senators-at-large and all other positions.

The results started with academic senators. With many of the positions being uncontested, there were little to no surprises for those in attendance.

Those elected as academic senators were: Dana Hansen, College of Arts and Sciences; Nick Lund, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences; Sean Walsh, School of Journalism and Mass Communication; Carly Hamilton, School of Education; and Kayleigh Koester, Fine Arts.

There will be a run-off election next week for the College of Business and Public Administration between Adam Lutz and Nick Kollauf.

“I’m excited for it,” said Lutz. “We’re both really qualified candidates, and it will be a tight race.”

Tanaya Thomas will be diversity interest senator.

After those announcements came the results for senators-at-large.

Sophomore Amanda Laurent had the most votes during the election with 677 in total, followed by first-year David Karaz with 668.

The nine newly elected senators-at-large in highest vote total are: Laurent, Karaz, Seejo Valacheril, Sam Pritchard, Nate Bleadorn, Stephen Slade, Alex Hendzel, Michael Riebel and Zach Keller.

Together, they will sit around next year’s table for the 25th session of Drake Student Senate.

Riebel said it was exciting to be re-elected and that he was really looking forward to not only have returning members but also new members around the table.

“I’m really happy with how the election went, it was a pretty clean campaign process,” said Bleadorn.

Bergman agreed that the campaign process this time around was clean.

Bleadorn added that there were good candidates that were elected, but also good candidates that were not elected.

“That’s always kind of a bummer that not everyone can get on,” he said.

Valacheril will be the lone senior senator-at-large around the table next year and with his previous years of experience he is “grateful” for the support from his constituents.

“It’s a huge honor,” he said. Valacheril said that his main goal next year will be to help make the students aware of decisions that will affect them in any way.

Pritchard, a current first-year student, is one of the newly elected senators who have not been around the table before.

“It’s good to know that I have the support and mandate of the student body,” he said.

President-elect Greg Larson and vice president of student life-elect Matt Van Hoeck are both looking forward to next year’s crew.

“There are a lot of people that are eager to do a lot of great things,” Larson said.

“I’m pretty optimistic about what we can do,” added Van Hoeck.

At this point, there is a waiting period for all at-large senators to receive their committee placements before they can move on and create goals for the 2011-12 school year. According to Van Hoeck and Larson, those announcements will be made next week.

“Even though a lot of the races were unopposed, this is new people that were interested,” Van Hoeck said. “This senate will be different from last year’s.”

Vote Totals


Laurent – 677

Karaz – 668

Valacheril – 609

Pritchard – 594

Bleadorn – 584

Slade – 561

Hendzel – 556

Riebel – 499

Keller – 486

Weller – 463

Birkholz – 441

Alguire – 271

Hanel (write-in) – 69


Hansen – 276

Lutz – 143 (44.6%)

Kollauf –  98 (28%)

Klose –  79 (24.6%)

Koester – 260

Walsh – 110

Lund – 244

Hamilton – 86

Diversity Interest:

Thomas – 918


Horsch is a junior news/Internet and rhetoric double major. She serves as the TD's Editor-in-Chief. She has been on staff for three years and has been the editor since January 2012.

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