St. Thomas’ Undergraduate Student Government announced its newly elected officials for the 2013-2014 school year Friday night.
Among those elected were five executive board members: junior Jenna Johnson as president, junior Sean Ness as executive vice president, sophomore Sarah Moede as vice president of academic affairs, junior Megan Matheny as vice president of public relations, and junior Kayla Gardner as vice president of administrative affairs. One E-board position, vice president of financial affairs, remains open.
About 850 students voted in the spring 2013 election, a number consistent with past elections, current council president Mike Orth said. Johnson won the 2013-2014 presidential seat with 71 percent of the vote.
Orth said he couldn’t be happier with the new selection of USG executives.
“They are all great people … and they have all proven themselves either on USG or in other areas,” Orth said. “I know they’re going to work well together. I think it’s going to be a great year for USG.”
Johnson said she is pleased with the newly elected executive board and looks forward to next fall.
“It’s a E-board full of both dedicated and hardworking students,” Johnson said. “It’s really an amazing group, and I’m really excited to see what next year brings.”
Orth said he hopes next year’s USG members stay in-tune with the needs and desires of St. Thomas students.
“I’d like to see them be attentive to what the concerns of the student body are and to make their initiatives relevant to what students are interested in today,” Orth said.
Johnson said she hopes to promote an “open-door policy” between USG members and St. Thomas students.
“Students can feel free to come talk to me about any concerns or any ideas they want implemented on campus, because my job as president is ultimately to be an advocate for what students want,” Johnson said. “Also, with the E-board and the entire council, I want people to feel comfortable coming to us with what they want seen on campus.”
Orth said the council has focused on several long-term strategies this year that will be carried into next year, including making USG a more “robust organization,” and making it more well-known on campus.
“We’ve done a lot of great work this year as far as pushing for a tobacco-free campus, pushing sustainability, health and wellness, and Tommie Pride,” Orth said. “We’ve had a lot of successes. We’ve had a lot of events. We’re really proud of what we’ve done.”
USG council members will decide on three new initiatives at their annual retreat next fall.
Orth said he is happy with the work USG has done during his time as president.
“This has been a perfect year-and-a-half for me,” Orth said. “I’m so honored to have served a term-and-a-half, and I wouldn’t change anything.”
Orth said he expects that Johnson and the new leadership team will do a “great job” continuing to serve the student body.
The 21 newly elected USG members will be sworn in Sunday.
Gabrielle Martinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.