SGA elections see record turnout

By Alana Hu
Staff Writer

Photo by Anne Richoux
New SGA President, Caleb Valentine, poses for pictures Nov. 9 around Union’s campus.
A record 750 students voted to elect Student Government Association officers this year, up from 500 students who voted in last year’s elections.

New officers for SGA are President Caleb Valentine, sophomore biblical languages major; Vice-president Jenaye White, sophomore broadcast journalism major; Secretary Savannah Hari, junior sports medicine major; and Treasurer Stefan Rabenhorst, junior political science major.

Elections for the officers began Nov. 1 and continued through Nov. 4. SGA President Kylie McDonald announced the newly elected officers’ positions Nov. 5.

This was the first year students voted online using Union’s Portal website.

“I am encouraged by the student involvement with the SGA election process,” said James Barbee, attorney general of SGA and senior education major. “I feel like students are actually beginning to see that their opinions do matter and have the power to impact the future of the university.”

The new officers were sworn into their new positions at the Nov. 14 Senate meeting and will begin their roles as SGA leaders in January.

“SGA is in a healthy place right now, but there is always room for improvement,” said Caleb Valentine, newly-elected SGA president and junior biblical languages student. “The most concrete change that I hope to see is probably an improvement in Senate. I’m looking forward to working with Jenaye White to take it to the next level of active and meaningful participation.”

While there is no specific training for the new officers, they will meet with current officers to learn about their duties for their positions.

“One of the most exciting things about this position is the people that I will get to work with,” Valentine said. “The executive officers and class officers that are part of SGA with me are such capable and fun individuals, and I look forward to getting to know all the other student leaders on campus whom I may not have already met.”

Caleb Valentine, president

What is your career goal?
“I hope to teach in the United States or in a country in which biblical education is restricted.”

What are your goals for the upcoming year as a newly elected officer?
“My primary goal is to make SGA the most unifying and encouraging organization on campus. … The purpose of SGA is not just to be a great organization in and of itself but also to help other organizations thrive.”

What is your favorite quote?

“‘May the Lamb that was slain receive the full reward for His suffering.’ It was the cry of two young missionaries in the 1700s who gave everything that they had in this life to serve Christ. I’m still working on that.”

What is one of your most embarrassing moments?
“At the beginning of last semester, I had written down the wrong times for some of my classes. I should have known better, but I didn’t pay attention and ended up walking into a class 15 minutes after it had started. It took me about 30 seconds of confusion while everyone stared at me to figure out that I was in the wrong class. The worst part is that I accidentally interrupted the same class again later that semester.”

What is one moment of your life that you will never forget?
“The time I crashed my motorcycle on the way to work, because a St. Bernard ran into the road (don’t worry, the dog survived).”

Jenaye White, Vice-president

What is your career goal?
“I would like to either pursue journalism or politics.”

What are your goals for the upcoming year as a newly elected officer?
“I would like to educate the organizations involved in Senate, so that they can make improvements for their group and for campus. I’d also like to improve the procedures used in Senate so that it can run more efficiently and effectively. Kylie McDonald, our current president, has started so many successful initiatives that I would like to continue, such as fostering and encouraging leadership across campus, not just in SGA. I also want to use my experience as a class officer to improve class councils.”

What is your favorite quote?
“‘Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art … It has no survival value; rather, it is one of those things that give value to survival.’ —C.S. Lewis”

What is a fun fact about you?
“I had the opportunity to attend the U.S. Open in New York City this year with my family, which was absolutely amazing … It was a dream come true to go to the Open.”

Savannah Hari, Secretary

What is your career goal?
“My goal is to be a pediatric occupational therapist.”

What are your goals for the upcoming year as a newly elected officer?
“I’m most looking forward to just continue being on SGA and being able to extend my leadership. It’s been really cool just watching SGA grow and move in a direction that is going to benefit Union and the whole student body.”

What is your favorite verse?
“Proverbs 19:21— ‘Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.’”

Stefan Rabenhorst, Treasurer

What is your career goal?
“My future entails law school with a career in the FBI and/or international relations.”

What are your goals for the upcoming semester as a newly elected officer?
“It is my vision for the dozens of organizations on campus to feel welcome and invited to share in this new phase of Union’s chapter. SGA … is inclusive, and I look forward to working with all who share this vision.”

What is your favorite quote?
“‘As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.’ —Proverbs 27:17”

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The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.