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The Columbia Chronicle

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The Columbia Chronicle

Four students elected to fill vacant senate seats for student government

Riley Hannon

Four students were elected to the senate for the Student Government Association this week, but seven seats still remain open because there were no candidates.

The elections were held on Tuesday, Jan. 30. 

Seven seats were open for academic senators: Cinema and Television Arts, Music, Theatre, Science and Mathematics, Humanities, History and Social Sciences, Interactive Arts and Media, English and Creative Writing. Only the CTVA and music senators were elected.

In addition, four seats were open for community senators to represent the following: third-year students, fourth-year and fifth-year students, international students and on-campus students. Only the on-campus student senate seat was filled.

Sophomore music performance major Uriel Reyes was elected to represent the Music Department; sophomore film and television major Jordan James was elected to represent the Cinema and Television Arts Department; first-year film and television major Ryan Sanhamel was elected to represent students living on-campus; Sarah Bonds, a senior musical theatre major was elected to be the Theatre Department senator. 

The senate seats that had no candidates will remain open throughout the semester unless a student is interested and reaches out to the SGA. Elections will then be held during the weekly meetings.

James, the new CTVA senator, said they attended the Student Leadership Summit on Saturday, Jan. 27, organized by the SGA and was inspired to be more involved on campus.

“I just am hoping to make more connections and hopefully make some type of progress in at least one issue somebody has in our department,” she said.

The elections took place at the Student Center, and at least two dozen students attended.

Senator elections run once in the fall and once in the spring, every academic year, with the aim of making SGA more accessible to the Columbia community, according to SGA President Tyler Harding. 

“As the year goes on, more people are aware of who we are and what we do, and that could also peak some interest in joining student government,” Harding said. “We want to make sure that we’re providing as many opportunities as possible for people to join.”

As students run for a senator position, if chosen, they are expected to attend weekly SGA meetings and find ways to interact with students and faculty in the community they represent, in order to connect with them and spread the word from there on. 

Student involvement is one of the senator’s priorities; through that, they can connect with other communities and have conversations to see common ground and see what they can work on.

“I think it’s very important for those students to be involved in that community and also try to get connected with other communities,” said Lorena Castro, a junior fashion design major and Fashion Studies senator. “I think it’s vital for students to be heard, and the best way to do it in this case here in Columbia is through SGA.”

Candidates for each open seat introduced themselves and gave a speech on what they hoped to accomplish with their position. SGA members also could ask questions.

If a candidate does not get elected for the position they originally vied for, they have the opportunity to run again for a different position or be a student representative, which is a non-elected position, Harding said.

CTVA, the largest department in the School of Media Arts, had the most candidates, with three senators vying for that senate seat. Sanhamel was one of the hopefuls. When he didn’t win that seat, he ran for and won the seat to represent students living on campus.

“I’ve always been interested in student government,” he said. “I didn’t get a chance last semester because I kind of got busy with schoolwork, and I just thought this semester I would just throw my hat in the ring.”

Editor’s note: Newly elected senator Uriel Reyes is a Chronicle reporter, covering the arts. He will not be involved in SGA coverage.

This story has been corrected. 

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About the Contributors
Allison Shelton, Reporter
ashelton@columbiachronicle.com   Allison Shelton is a sophomore journalism major, with a minor in adverting and fashion communications.  She primarily reports on Columbia's Student Government Association but has also written about sustainability, campus events and the college's unions. Shelton joined the Chronicle in August 2023.   Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri
Kate Larroder, Reporter
klarroder@columbiachronicle.com   Kate Julianne Larroder is a sophomore communications major, minoring in journalism. She joined the Chronicle as a reporter in January 2024.   Hometown: The Philippines
Riley Hannon, Illustrator
rhannon@columbiachronicle.com   Riley Hannon is a sophomore illustration major, minoring in game art. Hannon joined the Chronicle's Creative Desk in January 2024.   Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri