2017 SGA leadership announced; new President and VP prep for job

Nick Santulli wasn’t worried about the election. While others anxiously anticipated the results, he had no doubt his favorite candidate would win.

A day before the national race would end in a Trump victory, Santulli won an election of a different nature. He was officially announced as the next president of Trinity’s Student Government Association (SGA).

Santulli, a junior political science major, ran uncontested on a platform that focused on enhancing student engagement with SGA and expanding the open textbook initiative that was introduced this year.

“I hope to achieve [the former] by sending out a detailed memo whenever the University administration is on the cusp of passing a major policy,” Santulli said. “I’d clearly explain the features of the policy and outline the ways it might affect students. In addition, I’d like to expand SGA’s initiative to reduce textbook costs.”

Santulli brings a resume full of campus leadership and involvement experience.

“While this is my first time being elected to SGA, I’m active in a variety of organizations on campus. Currently, I am the president of Trinity Progressives, a University tour guide, a member of the MLK Jr. Student Committee, a HUMA peer tutor and an O-Phi,” Santulli said.

He believes his leadership experience has helped shape and prepare him for his new role. Though he knew what he had done thus far was important, he knew he could do more.

“During my time in Trinity Progressives, I’ve consistently maintained a focus on advocacy by hosting panels and creating safe, open spaces for civil discourse,” Santulli said. “Although I view this work as crucial and enjoyable, I longed to affect positive change on campus more directly. That’s why I decided to run for SGA president, and I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish over the next year.”

Santulli did not want to slack on efforts to win students’ votes, despite running uncontested. Voters could choose a “no confidence” option instead of Santulli, so he knew he still had to earn his spot.

“I campaigned by printing posters, which I posted around campus, and push-cards, which I distributed throughout the first-year area,” Santulli said.

Santulli teamed up with junior accounting major, Joseph Khalaf, who did not run uncontested, and was declared the winner of the vice presidential position.

“I chose to run for VP because I wanted to serve on SGA and this was the last year I was eligible to run for election since I am a junior. The duties of VP interest me because of my background in finance and accounting,” Khalaf said. “Specifically, I look forward to chairing the finance committee.”

Khalaf used his experience in finance and accounting as part of his platform when campaigning.

“The two main issues I campaigned on were my plan to continue the finance committee initiatives started by the previous administration and to continue to work with the rest of SGA to appropriately allocate and disperse the student activity fee,” Khalaf said.

Khalaf hopes to make SGA spending more transparent and plans to regularly update a document that discloses SGA disbursements and expenditures for students to view.

SGA positions are held for a calendar year, so Santulli and Khalaf will officially take office at the beginning of the spring semester. They have already begun preparing to step into their new roles.

“Brenna Hill and Shivani Parmar [current SGA president and VP] have established a transition period, for which I am beyond appreciative,” Santulli said. “Beginning this week, Joseph and I have begun attending Senate and Cabinet meetings and will continue to participate in SGA events for the remainder of the semester.”

Learning the ropes from their predecessors, Santulli and Khalaf have been able to get a feel for what exactly they will be responsible for next year.

“I will oversee general meetings and Cabinet meetings, appoint all student members of University committees, form SGA ad hoc committees and represent SGA in meetings with administrators,” Santulli said. “More broadly, I will help set SGA’s agenda for the coming year.”

“The vice president is responsible for, among other duties, representing and advocating for the student body at large, chairing the Finance Committee and overseeing the disbursement of the student activity fee,” Khalaf said.

Both of the newly elected leaders want students to engage with their student government.

“One thing that I feel Trinity students should know about is how accessible Student Government members are. Really anyone can express concern or ask questions to the members via e-mail, or even in person at the open meetings,” Khalaf said. “SGA represents the student body so I encourage students to open a dialogue with their senators, the president and myself. This will allow SGA to represent student interests in the most effective manner possible.”

In addition to the president and vice president, the senators for each class were announced via email on Monday. First year senator elects are: Simone Washington, Enrique Alcoreza, Juan Luevanos, Caroline Wall and Ty Tinker. Sophomore senator elects are: Sam Afshari, Callie Struby, Travis Fulkerson, Amulya Deva and Manfred Wendt. Junior senator elects are: Lena Dennington, Lavanya Hospeti, Isaiah Mora, Samy Abdallah and Alex Perkowski.