SGA election results bring new perspectives, passion


Kiersten Riedford

Kohinoor Pandey, Student Government Association (SGA) Senator for International Students, introduces herself at the SGA meeting on Thursday, Nov. 3.

Following a six day voting period for their fall election cycle, the Student Government Association (SGA) announced the winners on Nov. 3 through their new Instagram profile. Six out of the 10 available senator positions were filled, including senator for first year students, senator for sustainability and senator for first-generation college students. 

Newly elected senator for international students sophomore Kohinoor Pandey is from Nepal and wants to make sure the international student community’s voice is heard in SGA. She believes being at DePaul for a year helped her win, giving her connections to call upon when voting started and a better idea of what issues international students face. After learning another candidate was running against her, she contacted everyone she knew, including professors and got the few extra votes she needed to win.

“Just knowing your values won’t be enough, you need to know the people,” Pandey said. “It’s about how you put your values first and how you want them on your side. Networking, your values and how you present yourself, those are the three factors a person needs to be in this position.” 

Freshman Suzan Arab was elected senator for community and government relations after a successful campaign built off of her goals of involvement in the DePaul community and to be a voice for her peers. 

“I want to make sure students who are struggling and want to see change can see that through me,” Arab said. “It means a lot to me to have this opportunity, especially to have this identity and have this seat at the table.”

Arab is a Lebanese student and believes the new perspectives brought by the incoming senators will help SGA know more about its diverse communities. 

“I feel like this community is much more culturally and intellectually out there than just one type of person,” Pandey said. “A variety of people are needed to have a diverse solution because it causes a conversation where you can find common ground.”

Newly elected senator for mission and ministry junior Gabriel Goldberg is the first Jewish student to hold this position. He structured his campaign around his mission to connect marginalized communities and create dialogue between them. Goldberg is also interested in creating more accessibility for various religious groups at DePaul, such as introducing more kosher and halal options to the dining hall, a project he has been working on with the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity. 

“I realized if I’m entrusted with the ability to make a positive difference in my community, do I not have the obligation to stand up and be counted as the one to do it,” Goldberg said. “For the last two years I’ve been networking throughout DePaul, but I’ve also dealt with building bridges and breaking barriers. I get to now serve my community to the fullest I can.”

All three senators want to use their new positions to act as bridges for administration and student concerns for their respective groups. Pandey states that to make this possible, she wants to uphold a value of transparency on both sides to avoid miscommunication for the benefit of both. 

Parveen Mundi [right], Student Government Association (SGA) EVP of Student Affairs, participates in a group activity at the SGA meeting. (Kiersten Riedford)
“If I’m just a student, I can say everything I’m saying now, but it won’t have as much of an impact compared to a governmental senator to faculty or to the university,” Pandey said. “This is one of the best opportunities for myself and for my international group of people to be out there. Being in a position of power is where you’re going to be heard.”

While the senators want to see change in their own communities and in DePaul as a whole, Arab wants to use her position to make SGA as efficient as possible.

“In our day and age, everyone feels the need to agree with each other, which can be good,” Arab said. “Sometimes though, I feel statements are not as efficient, I’d rather push SGA toward pursuing action instead. I want to make myself heard and I want to look for something different.”

Going into the rest of the year with new responsibilities, each of the senators must now follow through on their campaign promises while navigating SGA. Goldberg hopes this opportunity allows him to use his position to impact the Vincentian mission and the students that elected him. 

“This position doesn’t define what I can do in it, but rather what I can do defines this position,” Goldberg said. “The DePaul community I believe has a lot to learn from its neighbors and each culture has something very special that applies to the Vincentian cause. I want to make sure this position is seen, heard and felt within my community.”