By Emma Reilly
Elm Staff Writer
Washington College’s Student Government Association announced junior Kat DeSantis and sophomore Alex May as the winners of the 2021-2022 presidential and vice-presidential election on March 23.
DeSantis was elected as SGA president and May was elected as SGA vice president. Both DeSantis and May were sworn into their new positions on March 30.
While DeSantis ran unopposed, May ran alongside freshman Grace Apostol and sophomore Kevin Denice.
The election was preceded by the SGA Candidate Debate on March 18, which was moderated by Interim Provost and Dean of the College Dr. Michael Harvey. At the debate, presidential and vice-presidential candidates discussed challenges facing WC and shared their plans to address student concerns.
According to DeSantis, the debate’s question-and-answer format “forced me to think more on my feet … I felt like it gave me a chance to both touch on things I prepared for but also bring in new ideas.”
DeSantis’s platform during the debate focused on transparency and accountability among the WC community. DeSantis hopes to foster relationships between WC students, faculty, and staff as SGA president.
During the debate, May discussed increasing student involvement in clubs and organizations.
The new SGA vice president also hopes to promote WC’s diversity and inclusion initiatives within student groups.
Now that DeSantis and May have officially taken on their new roles within the SGA, they are looking forward to working together to facilitate a smooth transition into a likely in-person fall semester.
“One of my biggest goals going into next year is a smooth transition back to in-person [operations] and to help clubs also in this transition,” May said.
May hopes to help student groups with event coordination and hopes to run a strong club fair in order to encourage student involvement.
As a peer mentor, Zeta Tau Alpha sister, and student athlete, May said that she has developed a strong “grasp of the community as a whole.”
May is also a member of the Student Events Board Marketing Committee and the SGA Organizations Committee. In the Organizations Committee, May worked with 2020-2021 SGA Vice President junior Emilee Daniel and other committee members to create legislation to help clubs organize events during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to May, it was this work that inspired her to run for SGA vice president.
“I think that I’ll be able to hear the concerns of my peers, not only just about clubs but about issues in general,” May said. “I think I can really help them make a difference in the SGA if there’s something they’re passionate about.”
DeSantis is similarly passionate about making an impact at WC.
“I have fallen in love with the SGA,” DeSantis said. “I love advocating for students and making sure we all feel heard and valued in this community…and I love being a part of something bigger than myself.”
DeSantis felt inspired by mentors within the SGA to run for parliamentarian her freshman year.
According to DeSantis, the presidential position felt out of reach at the time. Now being president feels like a natural next step.
DeSantis, like May, wants to focus on WC’s transition to in-person instruction.
“I’m anticipating a lot of transitional issues,” DeSantis said. “I’m a little worried about how to balance being a student who’s really upset by the issues while also being a student leader who’s tasked with combatting those issues.”
DeSantis is also interested in addressing the staffing issues at WC.
“We have a lot of holes right now in our administration and in our staff…these spaces take away from the student experience because we don’t have a sense of continuity; we don’t have relationship with those people right now. I think that’s a huge detriment to students getting what they need,” DeSantis said.
According to DeSantis, she hopes to work with Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Sarah Feyerherm to discuss filling much-needed staffing positions in order to strengthen the student body’s relationship with WC’s administration, faculty, and staff.
“The College can’t run without personnel…that’s an issue that really stands out to me that I want to address as soon as possible,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis also looks forward to working with May, hoping to establish greater overlap between the presidential and vice-presidential positions by including May in her monthly meetings with WC’s president and provost.
“She can bring a lot to the table in those meetings in terms of advocacy and her own perspective. It just makes sense that the president and vice president would work together,” DeSantis said.
Featuered Photo caption: Junior Kat DeSantis (pictured) was elected Student Government Association president for the 2021-2022 school year. She is joined by sophomore Alex May as her SGA vice president. Photo Courtesy of Kat DeSantis.