Bianca Cseke | The DePaulia
DePaul’s Student Government Association (SGA) announced the results of its elections Friday evening.
Adora Catherine Alava won the race for senator for community and government relations defeating Gurvir Gill and Sergio Godinez. Born in the Philippines, Alava, a freshman majoring in economics and a member of DePaul’s Honors and J.D. programs, spent a lot of time growing up there and in Chicago.
As senator for community and government relations, Alava said she hopes to destroy racial and political barriers and promote inclusivity amongst all racial groups within the DePaul community.
“With DePaul in the midst of the ‘hot pot of cultures’ city of Chicago, inclusivity should extend and apply to every race that makes up the community,” Alava wrote in a biography on SGA’s website. “Cultural unions should not only gather in their individual respective meetings but conjoin together at summits to discuss joint issues and reformative policies.”
Congratulations to our newly elected student representatives! We are excited to welcome our new members & begin supporting their initiatives! Thank you to all of the candidates who ran in SGA’s fall elections, your commitment and passion for change are vital to our student body.
Alava added she wants to put a greater emphasis on resources and events related to mental health as well as “sexual health care” education.
“Various resources and events regarding mental health in correlation to physical health should be boosted and prioritized throughout the year’s stresses: gender neutral and advocating for the LGBTQ+ and Queer community,” Alava said. “The education of sexual healthcare and its stigmatization should be implemented as well as providing resources and legal assistance.”
Gema Tinoco will serve as the senator for the College of Communication.
In the race for senator for first year students, Alik Schier beat Daniel McNeill, Olga Mourgelas and Steffany Donis.
Schier said he decided to run due to his belief in the “collective power” of students and hopes to create a DePaul that “focuses on moving forward, creating new systems and reimagining what we want the next 4 years to look like here,” according to his biography on SGA’s website.
In this position, Schier has proposed three main initiatives: “abolish[ing] unpaid internships on campus and discourage those offers from being offered to students,” “comprehensive Sex Education classes & resources that are queer inclusive and covers abortion access and contraception methods” and “end the 25% tuition discount to students of CPD officers & instead use that money to fund racial justice organizations on campus.”
Out of the seven races, there were several uncontested races, per Jane Pallos, SGA’s elections coordinator These include senator for the College of Education, senator for commuter students, senator for international students, senator for the Theatre School, and senator for the College of Communication.
Kevin Holechko ran for the uncontested College of Education position. Holechko is a sophomore at DePaul studying secondary history education with a minor in psychology. Issues that are of importance to Holechko include re-evaluating curriculum to look for potentially racist teachings and being an advocate for students at DePaul.
“My most significant and most important is creating a task force of students, staff, faculty, and administration to sit down and look at curriculum in education that has been predominantly Eurocentric or racist,” Holechko said in a biography. “It is no secret that in the field of education, the system is currently set up so that low-income students never have the chan[c]e to make it to college, and in many cases it is set up so that they cannot finish high school.”
Cynthia Rocha ran uncontested for senator for commuter students. Prior to Covid-19, Rocha, who studies health science with a concentration in pre-med, would have to commute four hours a day to get to classes at DePaul. Knowing that, it is no surprise that an issue important to Rocha is accommodation for public transportation delays along with mental health support.
“I would like to discuss having a wider range of class times to accommodate students who might solely rely on the train schedules or have a discussion to have commuter students have early looks at registration,” Rocha said in a biography.
Nghi Doanh Thai is a new transfer student at DePaul University from a community college. Doanh Thai won the race for the Senator for International Students position this election. Doanh Thai has several important issues they want to address but the most prominent is the ability to create a community for international students within the university. One policy that Doanh Thai proposes is having a career conference for international students to help them find jobs in the United States after graduation.
Freshman Zoé Soteres, an acting major, ran for the Senator of the Theatre School seat. Covid-19 resulted in DePaul taking a more virtual approach to education this school year, leading to a lack of community within the university which is something that Soteres is passionate about addressing.
“One of my main goals is to make sure that every student, whether in Chicago or at home, feels connected to the DePaul community during this difficult time,” Soteres said in a biography. “I know firsthand as a student who is at home that it is no easy feat to feel supported by a community that you are so far from, and I want to do everything I can to make TTS feel as connected as possible.”
SGA holds general body meetings on Thursdays at 6 p.m.