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  • Writer's pictureLJ VP LAFIURA

Student Government moves ahead without key members

(L-R) Luke Bullock, Emily Lifson, Arielle Hornbaker, Cesar Morel, Sarah Mendes, Hanna Babek, Michael Curran, Imogen Stitchbury, Thomas Morgan, Kaitlin O’Neil, (Bottom) Annalee Messina, Mekenzie Barbosa, Caitlin Orsino, and Marino Kozaka. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Orsino

Student Government (SGA) is moving into a new era this spring with smaller numbers. They will carry on without former Vice President of Communications Caitlin Orsino, Vice President of Academic Affairs Trevor Lopinsky, Vice President of Student Affairs Sarah Mendes, and Senator Amia Green.

“There are substantial challenges in losing a lot of valuable members of SGA,” president and junior legal studies major Arielle Hornbaker said. “As far as functioning as a governing body, that is not an issue for us. We’re very aware that we are smaller than we were in the fall, and we are managing our events and everything else that we have planned for this semester accordingly.”

While Lopinsky graduated early and SGA was prepared for his departure at the beginning of the semester, the other vice presidents announced their departure late in the term. Both Orsino and Mendes left SGA to pursue their own educational and internship endeavors according to Hornbaker.

“By the end of last semester, I had been a member of SGA for an accumulative total of two years. I’d been in two different positions, Class of 2025 President and VP of Communication Affairs, and had some really great experiences during that time and met some of my closest friends through the organization. Still, I realized that it was not something that I wanted to continue with going into this spring semester,” Orsino said. 

“I have been presented with different opportunities, in terms of both education and extracurriculars and would not be able to balance them with the commitments that come with being on SGA. And while I’m not part of the group currently for various reasons, I would absolutely consider joining again in the future.”

“Student Government is not necessarily a planning body or an events coordinating body. So we don’t really have to worry about those challenges very often. I suppose just in the number of projects we will be able to accomplish,” Hornbaker said. “There will be less projects that we will be able to complete this semester. But we are definitely focusing on the things that are important for the student body. And we do have people on those projects.”

SGA pictured above attending the senior management team dinner to mark the end of the 2023 fall semester. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Orsino

Hornbaker also acknowledges some of the decrease in numbers as part of a growing trend since the pandemic. “I’m also the captain of the mock trial team, and we’re definitely struggling to find people,” she said. “I think it’s just coming out of COVID it’s really difficult for people to get interested in being involved in things.”

Hornbaker and SGA have already filled Orsino’s previous role. Kaitlin O’Neil will serve as the Vice President of Communications Affairs, a committee that she has served on throughout the fall term. SGA has also added Annalee Messina as the Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. 

They hope to fill the remaining vice president positions in the same manner, finding someone with experience in these areas and on the position’s respective committee. Senator positions are open to all, and SGA welcomes everyone to their weekly meetings from 6-8 p.m.  in the Arnow Campus Center classroom.

SGA is continuing this semester, business as usual. “Of course, we’re always looking for new members, and that is definitely on the forefront of our minds right now,” Hornbaker said. “But more importantly, we just want to focus on the work that we’re already doing and the things that SGA can do to support the student body and advocate for students.”


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