By Fleming Smith, Editor-in-Chief
On April 20, the Order of the Gown announced the newly elected officers for two of Sewanee’s most prominent organizations, the Student Government Association (SGA) and the Order of the Gown (OG). Mac Bouldin (C’19) will serve as SGA’s president next year, and Kelsey Arbuckle (C’19) has been chosen as the OG’s new president.
Each class also selected five senators for SGA and several Honor Council representatives. A new student trustee, Malicat Chouyouti (C’20), was also elected to serve alongside current student trustee Mary Margaret Murdock (C’19). Eunice Muchemi (C’19) was chosen to serve in a position that was previously unfilled, OG Parliamentarian.
Elections have not yet concluded, as the rising senior class must still choose two senators, and a runoff will be held for rising sophomore senator between Danner Martin and Conrad Smalley.
Arbuckle and Bouldin each discussed with The Purple their plans for the upcoming year in their new leadership positions.
As the new OG president, Arbuckle commented, “I believe the best way to move forward in addressing the town versus gown divide is to focus on creating a structure of belonging. To begin, I think we need to focus on connection before content. I plan to begin facilitating these connections through small group discussions with individuals from the surrounding communities and those in Sewanee.”
In her campaign, Arbuckle ran under the slogan, “#TownieWearsTheGownie.” Arbuckle grew up in Tracy City, Tennessee, and therefore hopes to bring a local perspective to the Order.
“I think once these connections are made, it will be much easier for us to move forward together,” said Arbuckle. “I also spoke to former Order of the Gown President Spike Hosch (C’12) and am considering bringing back his Gown and Town discussions!”
According to Arbuckle, the Gown and Town discussions involved a series of discussions and documentary work aimed to help individuals better understand Sewanee as a school and community.
Bouldin’s comments to The Purple began with thanking every student who participated in the election. “For a while now we have needed to have a renewed dialogue about SGA and I believe this election provided the momentum for that to happen. But now, the real work begins,” he said.
According to Bouldin, his first priority will be to revisit SGA’s constitution.
“There are many elements that the current constitution is lacking. For example, procedures for elections are unclear and inadequate. SGA and the Order of the Gown will have to work closely together to ensure that these problems don’t continue in the future,” Bouldin explained.
Bouldin also emphasized the need to increase SGA’s productivity “year after year.” He then further explained that “this includes a more clear and well-established division of labor system. Once SGA is more internally organized, it will be able to better serve the student body.”
He continued, “I have already begun to reach out to other student leaders so that we can begin work as soon as possible. My hope is that we are able to work on these issues throughout the Summer and have a more concrete proposal ready by the beginning of next semester. It is crucial that this process be as open and transparent as possible.”
Next semester, The Purple will increase its coverage of SGA and the OG as they institute changes to their structure and programs.