Photo by Francesca Prado
By Seth Carpenter, Staff Writer-
The Student Government Association election brought a new perspective to the Covid-19 semester.
Inaugural SGA President Taylor Bradshaw, Vice President Wendy Jiang, Treasurer Alex Spraker, and 24 senators from districts one, two, and four will take office after the final SGA meeting of the semester in late April, according to Chief Justice Isaac Williams.
Districts three and five were noticeably void of any senators due to a lack of candidates.
Each district is designated to one of UTC’s four colleges with district five assigned to undecided students, according to Williams.
Williams said most of the results were definitive except for the outlier of district two, which had more candidates running for a senate seat than there were available seats. All the other districts had as many or fewer candidates compared to the number of seats.
Voter turnout for the elections was also considerably lower than in past years—about eight percent instead of the typical 11 percent—in large part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Williams.
Instead of in-person voter outreach, the SGA had to resort to fliers with QR codes posted around campus and emails sent to students.
Considering those limitations, Williams felt the turnout was “very good.”
Outside of the pandemic, however, the numbers are still low, partly owing to a lack of interest in the general student body.
Sophomore Mary Kate Sheppard said she typically does not participate in student government but voted for the first time this year.
“I knew them, and they had made the effort to come up to me and kind of campaign,” Sheppard said.
A lack of free time to invest in the candidate’s races was another factor deterring some students from participating in the election.
Austin Holt, a senior, said he was unaware that the elections were even happening because of midterms.
Despite the lack of interest and lower turnout overall, Williams sees a silver lining to this semester’s elections; he is optimistic about the influx of new senators and SGA members.
“They’re going to bring new ideas to the table,” Williams said.
He also emphasized the importance of student involvement in general.
“Our number one job is to advocate for students and what students need and want,” Williams said. “I encourage students, if they’re interested in SGA, to apply to be a part of SGA in one of those positions and even if you’re not interested in SGA to just still get involved on campus.”
More information on the Student Government Association can be found on their Instagram page