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Next year’s executive officers

Story by Austin Cannon

Photo by Morgan Dezenski

senateexec-w2000-h2000This past March, Drake University students elected their Student Senate executive officers for the 2013-14 academic school year.

David Karaz was elected student body president, Joseph Gale as vice president of student life and Natalie Larson as vice president of student activities.

Karaz, a junior from Fargo, N.D., and current vice president of student life, has served on Senate since he was elected as the inaugural first-year senator. His past three years of experience played a large part in his decision to run for president.

“I felt I had an experience that I could use to help the campus that perhaps nobody else has had before, and I was hoping that (with) the past three years of things I’ve done at Drake, I could culminate all those experiences,” Karaz said.

Karaz ran unopposed this year, winning 92 percent of the vote, which was both a blessing and disappointing.

“It did make it easier, but it was unfortunate that (there) weren’t more people running,” Karaz said.

As for his time in office, Karaz is aiming for a more organized campus.

He wants to simplify some of Drake’s resources, including the use of student identification cards and campus email.

“There’s a good clutter on Drake’s campus, but if it’s organized, it won’t be a clutter. It’ll just be a good, large amount of things,” Karaz said.

Joseph Gale, current senator-at-large and Senate technology liaison, had a much more difficult path toward winning the vice president of student life election. Gale was initially disqualified from his race with write-in candidate Joshua Duden for violating campaign rules. He was reinstated by the Election Commission in the final hours of the race.

In an election without much competition, Gale soon found himself as the focus on campus.

“It definitely, I guess, upped the stress level. … Going into it, you want it to be as easy as possible,” Gale said. “You want to be able to do everything as best you can with the least amount of stress.

“I’m glad that happened, in a sense, because I really found out a lot about who I am and how I work under stress and what exactly an election is, and it really drove home the reason why I was running,” Gale said.

Gale, a Plymouth, Minn., native, won with 61 percent of the vote. His main goal is to involve students as much as possible in Senate’s operations, like creating a new way to interact with students.

“My idea was to create a video blog,” Gale said. “You can just let it play, and you don’t have to physically read it.”

Gale also wants to address the endowment fund that was granted to Drake and how students would like to see it used.

Natalie Larson, a sophomore from Burlington, Iowa, was elected as the vice president of student activities for the 2013-14 school year. Along with the vice president position, Larson will also chair Drake’s Student Activities Board.

Larson began her involvement with SAB during the second semester of her first year while on the Relays executive board. From there, she became even more involved.

“I applied for the Homecoming co-chair position, so I had the opportunity to plan Homecoming for the 2012 year, and  I’m the current Relays co-chair for this spring,” Larson said.

Larson, the current Senate organizational council chair, began her Senate career when she joined Senate’s first-year interest committee. After attending Senate meetings throughout her first year, she was elected as a senator-at-large.

As the vice president of student activities, Larson wants to expand programing and collaborate with other student organizations to reach as many students as possible.

After assisting in the planning of homecoming and Relays, Larson is looking forward to playing a different role.

“I absolutely love programing and campus activities so I think just being able to have a different perspective of it,” Larson said. “Just being able to help the rest of the board plan their events and kind of come up with more new, innovative ideas and continuing that experience.”

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