The election of the Student Government Association’s spring senate marked the end of election season for Belmont’s 2022-2023 school year.
“It’s pretty split new people versus current past senators, so I think we’re going to get new ideas and opinions and thoughts into the mix,” said Carter Barnett, SGA president. “But we still have that institutional knowledge from people who have already been in it.”
The senate election closely followed the presidential and vice-presidential election, won by Barnett and Stephen Malone.
A close election, the pair only won by 18 votes. Barnett attributed the win to the hard work of his team and supporters.
“I have to give it up for my opponents for making me and my team work really hard for that win."
The main goals for his administration are to get more bills passed, hold more campus-wide SGA events and increase the partnerships between Belmont SGA and the Nashville community, Barnett said.
One of the specific bills he mentioned the senate is working on, started by the previous administration, was getting period products in women’s bathrooms across campus.
Barnett has high hopes for the senators under his administration, though participation in the election was low on behalf of the rising junior and senior students. This comes in the wake of a new senate structure.
The new structure sets a maximum for the number of senators per grade level. This means that now each grade level can have 10 senators total, instead of any number of senators from each grade level filling the 40 available senator positions.
Rising sophomores had 23 senators competing for 10 positions. However, there were only eight rising juniors who ran for a senate position, and seven rising seniors, leaving gaps in the number of senators that will have to be filled in the fall.
Emma Rae Thurow, a rising senior senator, attributes this high participation from rising sophomores to a college education that has been less affected by the pandemic.
“I could see how passionate they are about serving the student body in a post-COVID world,” said Thurow. “We’re really starting to build back those relationships… which is something I think the rising sophomores and rising juniors are in such a good position for, because their college experience hasn’t been so bogged down with the effects of the pandemic as my class.”
As part of her time in SGA, Thurow worked on the constitutional committee, helping earn Belmont the title of a voter-friendly campus.
“Something that I’m passionate about is teaching students how to reach out to their representatives,” said Thurow. “ If you’re a voter-friendly campus, how do you actually keep up that political involvement after elections are over?”
This is just one example of what some senators are hoping to accomplish as they enter the 2023 – 2024 academic year.
Rising sophomore senator Frank Reed hopes to push multiple bills through next year, from period products to updating campus security medical responses, and traffic around the JAAC roundabout.
“It’s all about facilitating. A lot of people on campus and administration want to see change, but they’re busy. They don’t really have a reason to do it. So, we’re here to make things easier,” said Reed.
Part of this fight for change is in diversity, equity and inclusion, with DEI chair Sadaf Folad. She hopes to establish a DEI committee within the senate by the end of next year.
“It’s not a one-man job, and I don’t represent all of Belmont,” she said. “I want a committee that represents all of Belmont and can advocate for other people.”
The new sophomore senators are Faith Anderson, Jordan Ludwig, Callie Mangrum, Kenneddi Mastin, Kaylin Moore, Frank Reed, Gabby Romo-Angel, Jessica Samir, Mia Sherer and Kadaisha Summers.
The new junior senators are Kimberly Amaya, McKenzie Larrimore, Olivia Patterson, Alyssa Penrod, Maya Ramasamy, Deya Rassul, Youstina Saber and Emily Tadros.
The new senior senators are Aermon Hanna, Isha Kapoor, McKensey Malin, Kate Phillips, Susveen Sharanshi, Emma Rae Thurow and Christina Wu.
Going into the 2023 – 2024 academic year, Barnett hopes this new group of senators and executive cabinet will be able to communicate with the student body and upper administration, beginning to build back SGA post-COVID.
“They’re super energized and passionate,” said Barnett. “I’m super excited for next year. I think we’re going to do really good things.”
This article was written by Katie Beth Cannon