Within just a couple of weeks, Goucher will be electing a new president for the Student Government Association (SGA). The SGA, which essentially functions as a middleman between administration and the student population, has seen a great amount of turnover in recent months. At the beginning of the semester, Jeff Castro ‘24, who was elected in Fall 2022, stepped down due to personal reasons. His successor and former running mate, Olivia Reichardt ‘25, will be fulfilling her study abroad requirement next semester and will be unable to continue as president while overseas.
Since Reichardt’s vice president, Emma Kistner ‘25, was not formally elected by the student body, an informal election is being held to facilitate the transfer of power. Kistner, who is running alongside Christian Houck ‘26, has been in SGA for a year and a half, notes that the organization has seen a lot of changes in the past year, and wants to ensure that there is more stability under her tenure. “I’ve always wanted to be involved in the school”, says Kistner, “making things better, and being in the leadership to do that.”
Some of the major issues that Kistner has noticed include low retention rates and a lack of student initiatives. She notes that SGA has been working to pass legislation to address what students want through their Constituent Outreach Program, in which all senators have office hours where students address their concerns to senators, as well as expanding conversations between administrators and students. Kistner wants students to feel like their voices are being heard, and feels that SGA would be a good conduit for that.
Kistner’s other policies include making sure that the textbook assistance program runs smoother, as well as improving the affinity groups, which she feels that not enough students have heard about. She also notes that SGA has been in close talks with the health center to set up a vending machine to provide students with needed resources. Ultimately, her main goal is to put her campaign out there to try and create a relationship with the student body.
Challenging Kistner is Kerim Ouedraogo ‘26, running alongside Kendra Medlin ‘26. Ouedraogo has served in the SGA previously, and has helped organize the Arctaria Middle Ground event for the past two semesters. Ouedraogo’s main focus is on improving student engagement, with a focus on existing initiatives over creating new ones. Although he thinks that events like GIG are working pretty well, he feels like they have been declining in recent years, and wants big events like that to happen more often throughout the semester.
From the student engagement side of things, Ouedraogo wants to create more interactive things for students to use on campus, citing the ping pong table in Heubeck and the pool table in Trustees. As an RA, Ouedraogo also feels as though RA programming is in need of reform. He notes that RAs are supposed to host four programs a semester, but that these events are often sparsely attended due to poor communication. Ouedraogo believes RAs should collaborate on activities with both each other and their residents, as well as open the events to the entire building rather than just their specific floor.
Like Kistner, Ouedraogo wants to make sure there’s more transparency in communication between administration and the student body. The founder of the aforementioned Constituent Outreach Program, he wants there to be more “sit and speak” events for the students to directly address their concerns to administration. However, the most important issue to Ouedraogo is dissatisfaction about the state of the campus. Feeling as though the students are the thing that makes Goucher “Goucher”, Ouedraogo says that, “When students aren’t happy, it doesn’t bode well for the school itself.”
The election will be held on Thursday, November 16, through a voting link that will be open until midnight, with the results to be announced the following day. Because of the impromptu and informal nature of this election, no debates will be held, although both Kistner and Ouedraogo have announced their intention to hold small tabling events in the lead up to Election Day.