SGA class council elections reveal high turnout

By CLAIRE GOUDREAU | April 25, 2019

The Committee on Student Elections (CSE) announced the results of the 2019-20 Student Government Association (SGA) Class Council elections on Friday. Voter turnout increased from 928 to 1508 votes, a 38.5 percent increase from last year. 

Of the eligible student body, consisting of the current freshman, sophomore and junior classes, 37.9 percent cast their ballots this year. Last year 23.3 percent of eligible students cast their ballots.

Current SGA Executive President AJ Tsang said that he was impressed with the high voter participation.

“It was one of the most visible Class Council elections I’ve seen at my time at Hopkins,” Tsang said. “You can see that in terms of the turnout.”

Junior Class Senator Pavan Patel was elected senior class president with 218 votes. He ran against Junior Class Senator Mohamed Elgendi and Anthony Boutros, who received 144 votes and 115 votes, respectively. The incumbent Junior Class President Dean Chien, did not run for re-election, as he was elected executive vice president last month. 

Sophomore Class Senator Isaac Lucas was elected junior class president with 337 votes. He ran unopposed. The incumbent, Sophomore Class President Sam Schatmeyer, did not run for re-election.

Freshman Class Senator Nathan Mudrak was elected sophomore class president with 259 votes. He ran against Freshman Class Senator Alexander Forlenza who received 245 votes. Current Freshman Class President Eunice Namkoong did not run for re-election.

As senior class president, Patel intends to continue promoting mental health initiatives on campus. This past year he helped organize the Healthy Hopkins Initiative, which funded a trial program intended to support student mental and physical health, as well as the Student Mental Health Summit, where students shared their experiences and mental health resources on campus.

“[The Mental Health Summit] has taught me that self-care at high-pressure institutions such as Hopkins is very important,” Patel wrote in an email to The News-Letter. “Therefore, I believe and hope that consistent programming of exciting events throughout the year which students can engage in to brighten their days will go a long way in improving the climate of mental health on campus.”

Lucas, who was elected junior class president, said that he plans to raise school spirit and put on more class-wide events, like grade-wide open hangouts.

“I’d like to see more weekly stuff where we encourage members of our class that don’t really see each other to meet new people and reach out,” Lucas said. “I know that stuff doesn’t happen as much as it should around here.” 

Mudrak wrote in an email to The News-Letter that he will prioritize reducing student stress as sophomore class president. He also wants to encourage students to get off campus more frequently.

“I truly believe that our community should encompass all of Baltimore, not just the Homewood campus,” Mudrak wrote. “I’m especially excited by an idea I had for a #breakthebubble campaign, a day in which students are encouraged to leave campus.”

Next year’s senior class council will include Elquis Castillo II, Chase McAdams, Kahmil Shajihan and current Junior Class Senators Claire Gorman, Chanel Lee and Madelynn Wellons. A total of 536 rising seniors voted, and no additional candidates ran.

Mariam Al-Jabi-Lopez, William Cho, Mia Gonzalez-Jordan, current Sophomore Class Senator Evan Mays, Addy Perlman and Lana Weidgenant will comprise next year’s junior class council. They ran against current Sophomore Class Senator Matthew Taj and Aaron Wang. The rising junior class had the lowest voter turnout, with 432 current sophomores voting. 

Current Freshman Class Senator Mehak Ali, Katie Li, Oluwatobi Ogunbiyi, Emma Sokolow, Adelle Thompson and Talal Widatalla were elected sophomore senators. 

Only Ali was incumbent. They ran against Jeremy Hoffner, Kaplin Mok and Jillian Ngo. The rising sophomore class had the highest turnout, with 540 current freshmen voting.

This year’s elections saw high turnover rates, with only 27.8 percent of eligible class council members being re-elected to the same position. 

Tsang attributed this to many current senators and presidents declining to run for re-election due to jobs and internships, studying abroad, graduating early or personal commitments.

Tsang noted that next year’s councils will be an improvement from this year in terms of diversity.

“There’s a lot more diversity in our class council now. Every single class senate for Class Council has a person of color,” Tsang said. “It is an improvement on this current year. This year we had, for example, two African American students on SGA. Next year we have five or six.”

He said that he was pleased with the high participation during the elections, both by the student body and the candidates.

“Every single position in class council was contested or had someone running for it, whereas last year there was only one candidate for the senior class senate position, of which there are six,” Tsang said. “Every single candidate put themselves out there and campaigned hard.”

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