by PRIYA PATEL
On March 25, the results of the Student Government Association elections for the 2022-2023 school year were announced. A new president and vice president were elected, as well as three senate committee chairs and four additional senators.
Junior political science major Joey Zeldin was elected as the 2022-2023 SGA president.
“I chose to run because I believed that we needed to continue the work that SGA has done to keep students safe and have pride in their campus,” Zeldin said. “That isn’t to say that we’ve simply given students pepper spray and called it a day, but I think that we’ve made steps and will use those steps to create bigger and better things for campus.”
Zeldin hopes to give students a better understanding of what SGA does and how it works.
“I hear from many students that they aren’t sure what SGA does or what the association even is,” he said. “I wanted to change that, ensuring that we have more open channels of communication and more student voices involved in our decision-making and bill writing processes.”
Zeldin believes he has the necessary experience to be SGA president. He has spent two years being a student senator and committee chair, allowing him to showcase his skills and qualifications to fellow UMW students. He has experience speaking to the administration on issues and receiving feedback from students on issues they deem important. He considers his involvement with passing the Eagle Safety resolution to be one of his “keystone accomplishments.”
“I think being in the highest-ranking position in any organization comes with a lot of weight and power, and I believe that I have what it takes to make sure that power is used for good things,” said Zeldin. “I also love knowing that students believe in me to serve them, and it brings me a lot of joy to be able to help them solve the issues that matter most to them.”
Zeldin has three goals in mind for next year.
“The first, ensuring that our agenda is student-based and puts students at the forefront of what we do,” he said. “I know that I have my own biases on things, and I am sure that my fellow SGA members do as well. But we represent all students, and this goal is to ensure that what we do has been suggested by a majority or group of students.”
Zeldin’s second goal is to ensure a safer campus environment.
“I believe we’ve done a good job at making steps in the right direction,” he said. “But I want to work with my SGA team to find more innovative solutions to improving campus safety and see what we can do to make students feel even more secure. Many students have suggested more card key locks on all buildings to make sure that buildings can be both accessible and stay locked to people who shouldn’t be in those buildings, which I think is a fantastic idea. I believe that the entire SGA will be able to easily accomplish this task.”
Zeldin’s third goal is to improve the ways in which construction is done on campus.
“It pains me to see all the dirt piles, pipes, torn-up ground, and equipment riddled across campus, partially because I chose this school for its unique and strict aesthetic,” he said. “While the construction is necessary, I also want to hold the right people accountable and ensure that they are making deadlines and not loafing around. Our campus is important and not just another construction job, so I want the companies operating on our campus to understand this and work with them to create quality structures, while also making sure that students feel comfortable on their campus and that future students aren’t deterred from coming to UMW because of all the work going on. We will be working closely with administration to take on this issue, so I hope that they will also be able to aid us in this goal.”
Sophomore biomedical sciences major Jaylyn Long was elected as the 2022-2023 SGA vice president.
“Since coming to UMW and being a part of SGA for about two years, I have seen many leaders create such change for UMW and have opened up so many inclusive and diverse spaces for students,” said Long. “Therefore, I want to amplify those voices and those actions, and this is what this position allows me to do. Ultimately, I ran for SGA Vice President to support the community voices that are already here.”
Long wants to bring back the emphasis on community values.
“For the next year, I really want to get back to community values as a unified community,” she said. “With COVID and the release of the amazing and powerful campaign ‘You Matter,’ our community values A.S.P.I.R.E. may have gotten lost a little for some individuals, or some people may not even know what this is or how it is the epitome of our community.”
Long also hopes that students will feel comfortable coming to SGA with their concerns.
“I would like the students to know that I want an SGA where all students’ voices are heard and where students feel like it is a safe space,” she said. “However, we cannot do that without students in SGA, so I would say as many students as possible, if you can this upcoming year, to get involved with SGA. I would love SGA to be a place and a forum that students turn to, not only as students, but also as members who can make the change that they feel the community needs.”
Freshman political science major Carlos Nunes was elected as the 2022-2023 SGA diversity/unity coordinating committee chair and 2025 SGA senator.
“Even before I got onto student government, that’s the committee chair that I wanted to do, but it was already filled when I first ran, and then it was open when I ran again this semester,” Nunes said.
Nunes hopes to increase the diversity of the student body.
“My goals are just to listen and to increase diversity among students cause right now our campus is not as diverse as I want it to be,” he said.