The Student Government Association 2023-24 president was announced Tuesday February 21 in the Maize. Sophomores Jesus Gonzalez Ruiz and Anna Kronbeck won president and vice president, respectively.
This year there were two other parties that ran in addition to Gonzalez Ruiz and Kronbeck. Junior Hannah Paysse the current SGA president, ran again with a new running mate, sophomore Ellie Chang. And senior Magnar Gjertsen campaigned with junior Ethan Hyvari.
Elections Martial Andy Muthoni said that of the votes received, Gonzalez Ruiz earned 53% of votes, Paysse 39% and Gjertsen 8% of votes. Overall, 33% percent of students voted this year, which doubled last year’s participation.
All the candidates hoped to improve the community, but each of the candidates had specific focuses on how to do this.
Paysse’s campaign centered around cultivating belonging on campus and she has oriented her leadership around diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) issues on campus. As shown in her term from 2021-2022, Paysse implemented this goal through an educational approach.
“We want to foster feelings of inclusivity through scholarship and conversation opportunities on an educational basis,” Paysse said at the presidential debate on February 17. During her time as SGA president, Paysse has spearheaded the initiative to revamp the core curriculum to include a justice course that will encompass DEI issues.
Gjertsen is a new candidate this year, his campaign is oriented on the arts and supporting the student body to improve the campus community. In addition to that he also hoped to improve the environment for student workers.
“Only together can we build a community,” Gjertsen said at the presidential debate. To accomplish this, Gjertsen hoped to meet with student organization leaders to build connections, assess needs and find potential ways for collaboration.
Like their running mates, Gonzalez Ruiz and Kronbeck intend to improve the Concordia community by increasing student engagement by reducing barriers for individuals and student organizations.
Building community is something both are excited for, the process of getting to know people on campus was very rewarding, said Kronbeck.
Gonzalez Ruiz is the first Act Six scholar to be the SGA president at Concordia. Act Six is a highly competitive scholarship program that pairs diverse student leaders in Minnesota with undergraduate opportunities. As a student leader of the Latinx Organization of Achievement, Gonzalez Ruiz has experience advocating for students, organizing community events and cultivating a sense of belonging for students of color.
Gonzalez Ruiz and Kronbeck hope to improve the campus community by increasing engagement with not only each other but also with SGA. They hope to spread awareness about the role of SGA on campus and ways for students to get involved in change.
One of his main goals is to publicize student senate meetings. Gonzalez Ruiz plans to do this by moving the location of the meetings to the centrum, which is a more accessible location for students. All students are welcome to attend SGA senate meetings.
“We want to be able to hear all students,” said Gonzalez Ruiz.
At the presidential debate, several students expressed concern about how the candidates would support marginalized communities, especially for LGBTQ students and students of color. Gonzalez Ruiz aims to do this by improving the system of accountability at Concordia.
“Leadership should be held accountable. I know there are incidents of professors saying harmful things in classrooms. There is a trickle-down effect,” Gonzalez Ruiz said. “We need a better system of accountability.”
Gonazlez Ruiz will take office Fall 2023 while Paysse concludes this semester with her leadership. Gonzalez Ruiz was grateful for all the students who voted in the election, whether they voted for him or not.
“Their voices matter,” Gonzalez Ruiz said.