MUNCIE, INDIANA. (NewsLink) — For the first time since 2020, the 2023 Student Government Association (SGA) executive ticket elections have been contested.
President-elect Joseph Gassensmith and current vice president Monet Lindstrand won the election—raking in 635 votes on their ticket, or 68%. The Empower ticket consisting of Skylar Ellis and Taylor Perry received 303 votes, or 32% of total votes cast, according to Abby Haworth, director of student life.
The voter turnout of 8.3 percent is up by 4.36 percent from last year, and the 938 total votes is the most since the 2020 runoff election, where 1853 students cast their ballots.
The two have campaigned on addressing key issues on campus. Gassensmith, who is currently chief of staff, is looking to address campus safety.
“One of my biggest passions happens to be with blue light implementation on campus,” said Gassensmith. “The rule of thumb is you’re supposed to see them kind of everywhere you look when you’re outside. Obviously if you look at Ball State’s campus it’s really not like that.”
On the to-do list for Lindstrand: diversity in dining options.
“We just really want to work on sustainability in dining, so, switching over to 100% biodegradable containers and flatware but also gain more options for those who might have dietary restrictions,” said Lindstrand. “I’m currently the head of the student dining advisory board. That’s kind of my role as vice president. We’ve been able to build this really great relationship with dining.”
Lindstrand will be vice president for a second consecutive year, having been elected to the position last year on the RISE ticket with SGA President Tina Nguyen in the third election to be unopposed since 2018.
The Gassensmith and Lindstrand Instagram posted a video of the president-elect and vice-president-elect hugging and celebrating when they heard the news.
“We are so excited to be your next SGA President and Vice President,” said both in an Instagram post.
Executive officers will also be getting quite the paycheck. In SGA’s bylaws, it states that the president “shall receive a stipend equal to full tuition”.
According to public records, in 2022, incumbent President Tina Nguyen received $10,481 dollars in stipends by the university. It’s unclear whether that amount includes other means of income.
Following the vice president receiving a stipend equal to 5/6 of tuition, the secretary, treasurer and president pro-tempore getting 2/3.
“On the surface, people just see the role of president but it’s about a 40 hour work week in general,” said Gassensmith. “While things are not being implemented every day, the work is being done. A lot of these initiatives have months of background work that need to go into them…because if we go straight to the university with just saying, ‘we want to do this,’ they’re going to say, ‘Ok, how?’ And so we have to make sure that we are able to respond to that as thoroughly as we can.”
The inauguration for Gassensmith and Lindstrand for their term will be April 19 at 3:15 p.m. in Cardinal Hall in the Student Center.
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