New SU Executive Board eyes stronger bonds, better engagement with students: Eliminating slates, improving SU website part of Elevate!’s agenda
The newly elected board of Student Union executive officers is a group of SU insiders hoping to cut bureaucracy where numerous exec slates before them have failed.
Junior Emma Tyler, former president of Social Programming Board, was elected president and will succeed current president Matt Re on Thursday, April 3.
She and her fellow executive officers hope to make SU more transparent and accessible to undergraduates, remaking the body using lessons Tyler learned as SPB president, when she worked to engage students while also solidifying the new group’s internal structure.
The Elevate! slate’s specific plans include undoing the slate system to allow more students to run for office on their own, improving the oft-maligned SU website and allowing individuals to propose resolutions to Senate.
Overall, the new executive board wants student government to be something that people get excited about as opposed to a closed room that people only encounter when they appeal to Treasury for funds.
“If you [would] ask a student to name the five people on SU exec or to name their senator, most students wouldn’t know,” Tyler said. “And that’s not their fault. It’s because SU doesn’t do a good job of making [its work] known or interacting with students.”
This year, 1,949 students—30.32 percent of the student body—voted for president.
Tyler received 59.06 percent of the vote, besting Connection slate’s presidential candidate, junior Will Ralls, who received 40.28 percent.
Junior Nick Palermo was re-elected to his current position of vice president of finance. Junior Vivek Biswas was voted vice president of administration, sophomore Laura Roettges was elected vice president of programming and sophomore Brian Benton was named vice president of public relations.
Tyler, who worked with Benton on SPB, hopes to capitalize on his skill set to make SU a stronger brand.
“I got to work with this great PR team on SPB that created this wonderful brand that students know about,” Tyler said. “[SU] should be something that students know about and look at as exciting. I think PR’s a big part of that.”
Also in last week’s election, junior Jeremy Sherman was elected president of Senior Class Council along with the rest of his EmpoWUr slate, which ran uncontested in a departure from tradition. In each of the past two years, two slates competed for Senior Class Council and a mixed slate was elected.
While Sherman hopes to strengthen different parts of the senior experience in office—building on Senior Week, creating a senior year bucket list and ensuring the senior class trip is more inclusive than it was this year, when students who did not sign up the first day could not get tickets—his slate’s platform centers around remaining “classic.”
“We want the senior experience to be the ultimate finale to your time at [Washington University],” Sherman said. “We wanted to empower people to make their senior year what they want it to be.”