Campus News

We ARE Change wins SGA election

Cahill, Dhaliwal, Nash and nine senators will be sworn in next semester

BY OLIVIA VALKNER, JOSEPH COTTON AND CHLOE SALVESON

Annalese Cahill, Evan Nash and Ryan Dhaliwal of We ARE Change were named the winner of the Student Government Association (SGA) election last night. 

“We are super happy our hard work paid off. It’s really encouraging to know that the student body is passionate about change and is passionate about a proactive response to things,” Cahill said.

We ARE Change beat out AID XU, composed of Derrick Meyer, Ethan Brosnan and Diego Paulido, as well as Voice for Xavier, composed of Murphy Penwell, Adam Stuckey and David Reeves, to claim their victory in the race.   

The Board of Elections reported that 1,302 students voted in this election. While this number is lower than the vote total in the last contested SGA election in 2018, when 2,075 people cast a ballot, the total is higher than the count each of the past two years. 

Penwell expressed that the campaign process showed him that SGA could still have a lot of energy behind it. “(For me), it brought to light what SGA can be. And I know that it is obviously hard to win, but SGA is in the right hands.”

“There was a great competition. I knew going in wasn’t going to be easy,” he said. “It’s okay, though. With Annalese, SGA is headed in the right direction,” Meyer agreed.

Newswire photo by Abby White
Newly-elected executive ticket We ARE Change — consisting of President-elect Annalese Cahill (center) and Vice Presidents–elect Evan Nash (left) and Ryan Dhaliwal (right).

For the past few weeks, the SGA executive ticket candidates have been working hard to assemble their platforms and campaign across campus. 

This year’s executive race was more tightly contested, with three different ticket options as opposed to last year’s one.  

Each platform has worked on their messaging to the Xavier community and rallied student votes through the use of social media, canvassing on the yard and the SGA executive debate Tuesday. 

Cahill expressed that she and her fellow running mates were proud of their policy plans, residence hall canvassing and consistent presence on social media, as all were effective in reaching a multitude of students. 

“I think our campaign went very well from start to finish. We emphasized a strong start with our social media presence and tried to engage as many different voters from different classes and different places on campus, and I think it went well,” Cahill reflected. 

There are three executive positions within each platform, including a president and two vice presidents who run on a joint ticket as opposed to individually. The executives are expected to run SGA Senate meetings, represent the student body, work closely with administration and generally serve as a liaison between students and university higher-ups.

After winning the bid, Cahill reiterated her intent to implement her tangible initiatives as soon as possible, including the nighttime shuttle service and the installation of hammocks on the quad.

This year’s election comes at a turbulent time for SGA. With an abrupt resignation from former vice president Marina Salazar midterm coupled with high senator turnover, the organization is looking for new leadership and fresh ideas for executive projects.  

“The winning ticket knows the expectations of the executives. They’ve seen what not to do as executives,” Penwell added. 

The first issue that the executives will face is filling Senate vacancies. Currently, there are 11 vacant Senate seats that will need to be filled throughout the year. 

“We have already talked to many people throughout the campaigning process that, upon hearing more about SGA, would be interested in the role of a senator. So, following up with those people from the campaign is going to be step number one,” Cahill voiced. “(We plan on) using the same tactics we did in our campaign to reach as many people as we can through social media. It is going to be a big part of how we reach our future Senate.”

We ARE Change spoke positively regarding the other candidates and even plans to take inspiration from their platforms. 

“We obviously respect the other two tickets immensely and think that they also ran very great races,” Cahill said. “Having served on the Senate with Murphy, David, Adam and Derek, we are very excited to potentially work with them in the future.” 

For example, We ARE Change has shown interest in providing a space for the fine arts on campus, an initiative presented by the Voice for Xavier ticket in order to emphasize the importance of the arts.

Cahill is also open to taking input from the other tickets regarding diversity, as she acknowledged three people cannot accurately represent the entire Xavier community. 

Cahill encouraged the supporters of Voice for Xavier and AID XU to reach out through the SGA email to point to concerns not addressed in her platform with the objective of representing them similarly to the supporters of their administration. 

We ARE Change will take office to start the Spring 2022 semester. The Senate meets at 3-5 p.m. on Mondays. Students are encouraged to attend.