On Friday, the Drake University student senate announced the election results and vote counts of the student senate executive election. Junior Connor Oetzmann and sophomore Ruwayda Egal were elected as student body president and vice president of student life, respectively. Junior Kylie Ellis was elected as vice president of student activities. Sophomore Daniel Krey was elected as student body treasurer. Read on and check out this article to learn more about the senators-elect.
Furthermore, two candidates running for vice president of student organizations, Trinity Harris and Abigail Whittemore, are currently competing in a runoff election that will end Tuesday at 8 p.m.
Student Body President: Connor Oetzmann
Junior Connor Oetzmann was elected student body president with 611 votes out of 641. His campaign platform prioritized engagement, community and continuation. At the student senate executive election forum, Oetzmann answered questions about how he would serve and promote underrepresented organizations, such as those in Unity Roundtable. As student body president, he noted that he plans to encourage senate members to attend multicultural events and promote such events on social media and in the “Senate This Week” email, which is received by all members of student senate.
“I think it’s really important at a predominantly white institution, as a white man myself, that I continually educate myself, and that I push other people to educate themselves as well and to attend these [multicultural] events,” Oetzmann said at the forum. “Arguably, the events put on by these underrepresented organizations and communities are arguably some of the best events that I’ve ever been a part of.”
Oetzmann, who currently serves as Vice President of Student Life, also responded to questions about engaging with individuals with differing viewpoints.
“I’ve always tried to keep the door open if anyone has any concerns within the student body . . .” Oetzmann said at the forum. “I think coming from a place of respect is really important, as long as the person that holds maybe a different viewpoint or ideas than me isn’t coming from a place of hate.”
Vice President of Student Life: Ruwayda Egal
Sophomore Ruwayda Egal was elected as vice president of student life with 611 votes out of 648. Her platform centered around growing relationships, increasing transparency and following through on promises to the student body.
One idea Egal proposed was to regularly host a forum or Q&A for students to attend and bring up their concerns with senators.
“We are all voted in by the student body, so it’s important for the student body to get to know us and hear us,” Egal said at the forum. “I’m thinking a cute little thing like this [forum], where everyone just asks us questions, and we answer them respectfully.”
Additionally, Egal suggested sending regular reports from senate to the student body and improving community among student senate members by providing opportunities to bond outside of normal senate meetings.
“I look forward to strengthening ties with senators and the student body,” Egal said in a statement to The Times-Delphic. “I believe that relationships, transparency and follow-through are so important in my position and I plan on diligently following through. I will work as hard as I can for this student body and hope to give everyone a great year.”
Vice President of Student Activities: Kylie Ellis
Junior Kylie Ellis was elected as vice president of student activities (VPSA) with 586 votes out of 646. After serving on the Student Activities Board (SAB) for three years, Ellis made inclusion, collaboration and involvement the cornerstones of her campaign. As both the incoming VPSA and incoming president of SAB, she hopes to continue bridging the gap between the two organizations.
“With these two positions, I perceive my responsibility as wanting to keep student senate involved in what SAB is doing and bringing to them every event and activity we’re planning on doing,” Ellis said at the forum. “I would also like to get their opinion on what they want SAB to do, so if they have some ideas on how SAB can improve on something or some ideas that they want SAB to promote, [I plan on] working with them to combine the two a little bit more and get their feedback on how SAB can plan activities for other organizations.”
As one of the largest organizations on campus, Ellis also emphasized SAB’s role in collaborating and supporting other organizations as VPSA.
“I’d also just love to kind of be another voice for the student body as well as to continue to promote collaborative relationships with all the organizations,” Ellis said at the forum.
Student Body Treasurer: Daniel Krey
Sophomore Daniel Krey was elected as student body treasurer with 589 votes out of 648. As a member of the Student Fees Allocation Council (SFAC), Krey believes he has a good idea of how to proceed in his new role.
“Serving on SFAC really opened my eyes to the roles and responsibilities of this position,” Krey said at the forum. “I think it’s important also to realize that we are a very diverse set of students here at Drake University. It’s important to acknowledge that, in this role of student body treasurer, some forms of diversity are less seen. We have race and gender, but there’s also socioeconomic status. [Part of this role] is making sure that some people that are in those lower socioeconomic statuses have the availability to get funds for their clubs and organizations.”
Krey also acknowledged the importance of incorporating a diverse group of individuals when creating SFAC.
“One thing I talked about in building the SFAC committee is to make sure that I have members that have different experiences, and not only have those different experiences but are willing to stand up and share them,” Krey said. “Even if the rest of the committee is leaning one way, they’re willing to stand up, put their feet on the ground and say, ‘This is truly what I believe from my experiences.’ The whole board can learn from that and make the best decision based on those experiences that the members have had.”
Vice President of Student Organizations: Runoff Election
Harris and Whittemore received 227 and 279 votes respectively during their run for VPSO in the executive election. A third candidate, Sa’Daiveon Blanton-Newell, received only 109 votes and did not advance to the run-off. 29 voters abstained.
Whittemore, who currently serves as the Arts and Sciences academic senator, is running on a platform of transparency and accessibility, communication and collaboration and equity and inclusion.
“Fostering a diverse set of perspectives of students on this council is super important because we all need to represent the student body in the best way that we can and come from different perspectives,” Whittemore said at the forum.
At the forum, Harris faced a question on how she plans to take on the VPSO role despite not having previously served on student senate. In response, Harris highlighted her experience on the organizational council, as well as her time serving as current VPSO Joseph Owens’ proxy.
“With this organizational council experience, I already know the ins and outs of how temporary student organizations become [Registered Student Organizations],” Harris said. “Being able to communicate that. . . is one of my platform points.”
Run-off voting is taking place on myDrake. Voting began on Monday at 8 a.m. and will end on April 5 at 8 p.m.
Read this article to learn more about both Harris and Whittemores’ individual candidacies.