Last week, the DePaul community chose its new president and vice president of the Student Government Association (SGA).
“A month ago we launched the ‘All Hands on Deck’ campaign to reinvent DePaul University’s Student Government Association (SGA) and today the students decided they agreed with that vision.”
This begins the statement that juniors Michael Lynch and Gracie Covarrubias put out Friday as the newly elected president and vice president of SGA, respectively.
“Words can’t even begin to describe how honored I am to have been elected president of the DePaul University Student Government Association alongside Gracie Maria Covarrubias as Vice President,” wrote Lynch. “‘All Hands on Deck’ is a student movement that is larger than any one person. It’s an opportunity for students to come together to actualize change in the DePaul community.”
The ‘All Hands on Deck’ slogan was created by the duo’s campaign team during one of their strategy meetings coordinating student organization visits.
“We wanted to reach as many students as possible during the campaign and someone said ‘we’re going to need all hands on deck,’” Lynch said. “We were viewed as the underdogs and we recognized how difficult winning this election would be. All hands on deck means bringing everyone together, every student, from all walks of life, into this process. It is what motivates me every day.”
Covarrubias went on to explain why they started their ‘All Hands on Deck’ campaign.
“When ‘All Hands on Deck’ began Michael and I knew that win or lose we were committing ourselves to something so much bigger than us — we knew we were becoming part of a larger student movement on campus that encouraged collaboration to actualize change,” Covarrubias said.
In their joint statement, Lynch and Covarrubias explained how they are committed to uplifting student voices and improving the DePaul community for students by focusing on centralizing academic resources and information, bringing students back into their decision making process, and tackling serious issues such as campus climate, mental health and sexual assault.
When Lynch traveled to Georgetown University last October to speak with members of their SGA, the variety of committees they had addressing different issues impressed him.
“Grace and I plan to create student-led committees on sexual assault and mental health to centralize the conversation and efforts of different student organizations so we aren’t duplicating efforts,” Lynch said. “Also, we want to assemble a task force to create an SGA internship program to provide administrative support to SGA members and offering more ways for students to get involved in SGA.”
Lynch went on to thank those who supported him and Covarrubias during their campaign.
“This position and the responsibility it carries is not something I take lightly and I thank my peers for trusting me to lead this body,” Lynch said. “I also want to thank David ‘SJ’ McCarthy for being a mentor, guide and advisor as I started this journey and Jack McNeil and Gracie Fleming for their amazing work as campaign managers. I wouldn’t be in this position without the work you all put in.”
History has also been made this week because in collaboration with Undocumented Vincentians & Allies, DePaul students passed a referendum as a student body to support the creation of a scholarship fund for undocumented students.
“Shoutout our allies who voted yes on the referendum,” Covarrubias said. “I could not be more proud to attend a university where students choose to help their peers in their journey to pursue an education.”
The referendum overwhelmingly won the popular vote with 1,684 votes saying yes to increasing the Student Activity fee $2 a quarter, while 302 people said no.
Lynch finished by congratulating his fellow senators and making a call to action for the upcoming school year.
“Congratulations to the executive vice presidents, treasurer and senators who were also elected today and I cannot wait to begin working with all of you,” Lynch said. “We have a lot of work to do and as this campaign taught us, together, with all hands on deck, there is nothing we can’t do.”
Covarrubias explained how they hope to create an environment of dedicated passion with the incoming senators.
“It all starts with the energy and passion that we bring to the table from day one,” Covarrubias said. “It’s about setting a precedent that we are here to serve and actualize change. Each incoming member has a vision and a list of things they would like to see accomplished. We believe that the key to ensuring that these things are accomplished relies on us as a governing body, developing a strategic plan that reflects these goals, and continually pushes our Senate to connect with their constituents.”
Lynch and Covarrubias thanked all those who voted, and that it is an honor of a lifetime to serve as the DePaul student body president and vice president for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year.
“Let’s keep the conversation going,” Lynch and Covarrubias said.