New Horizons wins SGA Executive Election

By DIVA PAREKH | April 16, 2018

A5_newhorizons

COURTESY OF NEW HORIZONS

The New Horizons ticket consists of Noh Mebrahtu, AJ Tsang, Mi Tu and Aspen Williams. 

The Committee on Student Elections (CSE) announced on Monday that the New Horizons ticket won the Student Government Association (SGA) executive board elections, beating the Thumbs UP for Jessup ticket. 

The 2018-19 SGA executive board will comprise junior Noh Mebrahtu as executive president, junior AJ Tsang as executive vice president, junior Mi Tu as executive treasurer and freshman Aspen Williams as executive secretary. Except for Williams, all the other executive board members are incumbents. 

For the only contested position of the executive board elections, Mebrahtu won with 544 votes, and sophomore Jessup Jong followed with 447 votes. 

Tsang received 842 votes; Tu received 856; and Williams received 847.

A total of 1,052 voters participated in the election, marking a decrease of 26 percent from last year, when a total of 1,421 students voted.

Mebrahtu cited the consistency of the New Horizons platform as the reason for its success. He spoke about the future of SGA, suggesting that their past experience will help them be a more productive organization. 

“I know that SGA’s going to be much more efficient next year after a year of experience,” he said.

According to Tsang, this is the first time in history that the SGA executive board has three incumbents. Members of New Horizons agreed that had there been a more contested election, voter turnout would have been higher. 

Tsang attributed New Horizons’ win to the ticket’s goals and the way they presented their platform.

“We were able to show the student body this year through our collective efforts and dedication that we’re able to continue to perform at an effective level for the year to come,” he said. “[The campaign] presented both a broad and in-depth vision of not only what Hopkins can be but what it should be.”

In the future, Tu plans on increasing the SGA’s transparency and combating the perception that SGA policies do not have a direct impact on students’ lives.

“SGA needs to be more transparent, have more accountability and let the students know that we’re actually doing stuff,” she said.  

Williams believes that New Horizons was successful because they embodied many of the traits that students were looking for in their student government.

“Voters wanted leaders who knew what they were doing and had made an impact previously, even if it is a gradual and small one,” she said. “They were looking for people they could relate to, personable people, definitely, and someone they felt represented them.”

Although she is the only non-incumbent member of her ticket, Williams said that she does not anticipate any challenges in working with the other members of the executive board.

Jong reflected on his experience campaigning and listening to student concerns, adding that starting earlier and campaigning more rigorously online may have helped him gain more support.

“It was a privilege to be able to meet so many people,” he said. “[The campaign] was a great opportunity for the students’ voices to be heard... Just being able to have so much support is overwhelming.”

He attributed the decrease in voter turnout to what he perceives as the lack of student interest in campus issues.

“Students have to have ownership and be able to participate in the school activities that are happening,” Jong said. “If they do... they would be more willing to vote and participate in school activities.”

Though he appreciated the conversations that took place at the debate, he wished the CSE would have done more to encourage more students to attend.

Jong intends to run for sophomore class council in the upcoming class council elections. The petitioning period starts on April 28.

He said that judging from his interactions with the New Horizons ticket both before and during the campaign, the SGA executive board will be in good hands. 

Tsang believes that because of New Horizons’ previous experience in SGA, their ticket already has close relations with other student groups on campus. According to him, they have and will continue to work alongside many other student groups.

Mebrahtu said that he was optimistic about the future of SGA.

“I hope that people are looking forward to it, and they can expect great things — because they are coming,” he said.

Meagan Peoples, Emily McDonald and Katy Wilner contributed reporting.

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