During spring Student Government Association elections, the senior class gained the least number of senators, with only seven spots out of the 10 available filled.
Two more spots were filled in August.
But many returning senior senators opted out of SGA.
Currently, the senior class is represented by seven senators: Isha Kappor, Jasmine Pettus, Kate Philips, Susveen Sharanshi, Emma Rae Thurow, Christina Wu and Balázs Varga.
Susveen Sharanshi declined to comment.
Kate Philips and Christina Wu did not respond after multiple attempts to contact them.
First-year senator Isha Kappor was initially introduced to SGA by her friend.
But the leadership component made SGA even more appealing.
“I knew about SGA, but I didn’t really know about it. Then my friend who has been a senator for two years, talked to me about it, and I really liked the idea of it,” Kappor said.
Kappor said she hopes to apply leadership skills that she learned through Belmont’s Office of Leadership and Development.
"I thought it was a great way to use my skills and things that I learned during my time at BOLD.”
Pettus initially became interested in SGA while working with the SGA’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as the vice president of Black Student Association.
As she talked to Sadaf Folad, SGA Chief of DEI, and SGA President Carter Barnett, Pettus learned about vacant positions and realized that SGA was something she wanted to pursue.
“I just really would love to continue making an impact on our campus in other ways that matter,” said Pettus. “I know I do a lot of diversity and DEI things, but things like helping clubs get money - that way more students can find belonging or dealing with small minute issues here on campus like dining and other things like that, I think is important too.”
But Pettus is still adjusting to the seriousness of SGA.
During their general assembly meetings, many senators attend wearing business casual outfits and have a set schedule to follow.
“I think it’s just surprising how seriously they take things, and I think that’s a great thing,” said Pettus. “Because I don’t think serving your student population should be something that should be taken lightly. So, it was a nice surprise, I was like, ‘oh no, we mean business, and I like that. Next time I’ll come in something special.’”
Emma Rae Thurow
As SGA’s chief deputy of DEI, Thurow’s primary focus on campus this year is to increase awareness of and celebrate different groups and organizations.
“We’re throwing a ‘Day of Intersectionality’ event later in the semester,” she said. “And then Sadaf also has some interfaith events open, so we’re looking to get more DEI efforts promoted on campus and highlighting those clubs and orgs.”
One action that impacted Thurow in SGA last year was acting after the fatal shooting at The Covenant School.
She was involved in creating a bill to offer support to The Covenant School and to the grieving Belmont community.
“We had some initiatives like getting some more events planned and scheduled and promoting the campus security efforts,” she said. “I went to a meeting with campus security and our adviser, and different departments, and I was the only student in there right after the Covenant shooting. So being able to take that perspective and then to write a bill about things that we wanted to promote and do was really awesome.”
Despite losing the student body president election, Varga is ready to serve the Belmont community as a senator.
“Most of the same stuff that I was hoping to accomplish as president, I’m hoping to accomplish as a senator,” he said. “This is to ensure that the quality of life for both students and faculty remains as high as possible. To go on and get Belmont to show initiative and work with the city of Nashville in solving problems around the community like public transit, affordable housing, especially for students.”
As a two-year member of the campus affairs committee, Varga said he hopes to continue to advocate for students on campus.
During his campaign last year, Varga frequently talked to different students on campus to assess what issues they want to see fixed, one being band practice rooms.
“They’re not numerous enough, they close early, you have to be an actual band member in order to practice there as opposed to solo playing,” he said. “We definitely want to look into that and all the other things we learned from just going around and talking to people.”
This article was written by Anna Blubaugh