By Reece Jamison
Election season is now in full swing on the mountain. Voting began Friday at approximately 4 p.m. for positions in the Order of the Gown (OG), Student Government Association (SGA), and the Honor Council (HC) for all class years, as well as a junior and senior student trustee. Several candidates in the senior class are vying for two prominent positions on campus: president of the OG and president of SGA.
Those campaigning have taken the campus by storm over the past week, posting messages on social media, placing flyers, and spreading news of their candidacy to fellow students in hopes of a victory. The voting ballots, conveniently accessed online on OrgSync, also include the mission statements of each candidate, detailing their prior qualifying experience and what they hope to accomplish in office if elected.
Anna Jeffcoat (C’19), Abbie Warr (C’19), David “Chief” Johnson (C‘19), and Mac Bouldin (C‘19) are each running for the position of SGA president.
Jeffcoat served as SGA senator this past semester and hopes that, if elected, she can institute a more direct line of communication with the organization via a suggestion box. One of her focuses would involve improving the methods used for the safety and livelihood of the campus.
In her public statement, Warr said she would like to focus on providing a conduit for better communication and conversation between the administration and its students.
Johnson, known by most as “Chief,” has served on the Honor Council and as a Sewanee Angel and plans on advocating for more support by the administration for members of sports teams, extracurriculars, and those in need of tutoring. He has suggested that McClurg offer longer dining hours as one potential change. Johnson has also advocated for more transparency regarding disciplinary policies and creating more open community dialogues, especially in light of the recent conversation of Sewanee’s past and slavery.
In a comment to The Purple, Johnson also discussed “ending bubble conservations on campus and following in the steps of [former SGA president] Brandon [Iracks-Edelin (C’18)] with bridging the gaps between people who disagree or don’t wish to understand.”
Bouldin, a three-year member of SGA, pledges to work to create a more structurally sound SGA if elected. He hopes to move the organization toward becoming more of a centerpiece of conversation between itself and other student organizations. As president, Bouldin states that he would open that newfound support for dialogue to the administration to ensure that the voice of the student body is heard in a more clear and effective manner.
For the position of OG president, Kelsey Arbuckle (C’19), Dayla LaRocque (C’19), and T.J. Mergler (C’19) have submitted their names and platforms.
Arbuckle is a member of the Community Engagement House and serves as the Rotaract Club Community Chair. If elected, she plans on opening up communication between many of her connections with other student-led organizations on campus in order to boost respect and morale towards the Order to promote positive social change. As a local from Tracy City, Arbuckle feels that she also would be able to address the town verses gown issue within the greater Sewanee community, using the slogan “#TownieWearsTheGownie.”
LaRocque is an Arcadian & Senior Interviewer, a Writing Center tutor, and Carey Fellow currently interning in Chicago. She feels that the OG could benefit from voluntary service hours to create positive impact in the Sewanee community. LaRocque also wants to expand the gown library and increase the OG’s influence with the administration.
Mergler has aspirations to create a safer and more accepting Sewanee community regarding diversity. He plans to bring “order to the gown” by holding monthly town hall-style meetings between the community and the OG and regular meetings for Order members to vote on pertinent issues of the campus and distribute the results to the public and relevant parties. He also hopes to drive conversation about sexual assault and mental health, issues he feels have been neglected on our campus.
Besides the elections for OG and SGA presidents, students can vote for an OG Parliamentarian, SGA Senators and Honor Council representatives for each class, and Student Trustees.
Current students of the University of the South in the College of Arts and Sciences can vote here: https://orgsync.com/146043/forms/318242. Voting will close Friday, April 20 at 5 p.m. CT.