SGA elects new executive board for 2016–2017


Santiago Covarrubias

Junior business & entrepreneurship major Kaela Ritter, Megan Perrero, a freshman journalism major and Bree Bracey, a sophomore theatre major, will join the Student Government Association’s executive board next academic year.

By Campus Editor

The Student Government Association announced its three new top officers—all first-year or transfer students who ran unopposed—for the 2016–2017 academic year following the organization’s first open elections held April 4–8.

After the four-day voting period, students elected Kaela Ritter, a junior business & entrepreneurship major who transferred to Columbia in fall 2015, as president; Megan Perrero, a freshman journalism major, as vice president; and Bree Bracey, a sophomore theatre major who also transferred to the college in spring 2016, as vice president of Communications. The three will lead SGA’s executive board.

The position of vice president of Finance has yet to be filled because the student applicants’ petitions were not finalized at the time of elections. SGA will decide the winner at its April 19 meeting, Ritter said. She added that the board of trustees will select the student representative to the board sometime in May after all applicants have been interviewed.

Ritter, who will succeed Luther Hughes, a senior creative writing major, said her primary goal will be to increase awareness of SGA among the student body by collaborating with other student organizations.

“I want to make SGA a bigger name across campus so students feel like we are really here to amplify their voices,” Ritter said.

Ritter added that she wants to help students better understand administrative decisions such as tuition increases and student activity fee hikes. She wants to represent the student voice when the administration is making these decisions, she said.

Perrero, who will succeed Amanda Hamrick, a junior interactive arts & media major, said she supports further interdepartmental collabration.

“It is great [to network] in the major you have because that is how you are going to get places,” Perrero said. “But you need to build your network outside your norm.”

Perrero said she thought Vice President of Student Success Mark Kelly’s presentation at the Feb. 9 SGA meeting about the college’s recent tuition increase was informative, but she thinks the administration could make the presentations more available to the student body.

Ritter added that she plans to charge one of SGA’s committees with making information about tuition, yearly budgets, enrollment and student fees more transparent and comprehensive for students.

Bracey, who will succeed Erika Kooda, a junior radio and business & entrepreneurship double major, said she thinks SGA can improve communication with students by providing more updates about college initiatives. Bracey said she also wants to increase attendance at SGA’s open forums.  

“If [administration] heard more student voices saying, ‘I know you want to do it this way, but this is in the best interest of the students,’ that could make a big difference,” Bracey said.   

Bracey added that she does not think students use the college’s resources as they should, and many students only attend class and go home rather than participating in campus events. 

“Students don’t utilize [the resources], and then they get upset when they don’t know where their money is going,” Bracey said. “We welcome the conversation. We need to have it, but students need to take the initiative.”