New SGA EOB chair strives for voter engagement

Jessica Bergman, DePaul sophomore was appointed as SGA EOB chair.

Photo courtesy of Jessica Bergman's LinkedIn

Jessica Bergman, DePaul sophomore was appointed as SGA EOB chair.

Working in the Office of Student Involvement (OSI) as the director’s student assistant, sophomore Jessica Bergman is no stranger to the leadership skills it takes to promote student engagement. 

Student Government Association (SGA) faculty adviser Courtney James saw the same thing in Bergman when she suggested Bergman for the role of SGA Elections Operations Board (EOB) chair.

SGA appointed Bergman as their new EOB chair at the general body meeting on March 9. Members are continuing efforts to increase SGA election voter turnout with the help of a new student leader on their board. 

“[Bergman’s] experience in the DePaul Activities Board (DAB) and focus on outreach to the student body is going to be such a strong factor in how she performs in the spring quarter elections,” Magoli Garcia, SGA Vice President and junior, said. “I think because of her expertise, she’s going to be able to apply that really well to our student voters here.”

The role of EOB chair is tasked with organizing and planning both spring and fall quarter elections for SGA. This includes creating election timelines, sending out candidate information and promoting events. 

Bergman decided to seek appointment for the position vacancy after learning about its election responsibilities, which she said are the foundation of SGA. Understanding the challenges of past elections and having experience with other on-campus organizations, Bergman believes her passion for politics can bring new ideas to SGA.

“I think one of the big things that keep people coming is that people love what others are passionate about,” Bergman said. “If I’m interested in these elections and I’m excited for them, hopefully I can make other students feel the same way.”

Bergman’s goals are to increase voter turnout by at least 100% compared to last election’s numbers, bringing the total number of voters closer to 1,000 students with the use of more aggressive marketing tactics to increase election awareness on-campus. 

“We are the voice of the students as SGA,” Bergman said. “Everyone should be aware that the elections are happening so if they want to express how they feel or put in their opinion on which candidate is a good fit for the position, they should be able to.” 

Haley Pennington, SGA senator for the College of Law and second year law student, said she hopes a new EOB chair will encourage more election promotion for the Loop campus. She believes the Loop campus does not see as much engagement due to the disconnect and distance between campuses.

“The more connections we have through the university means the more resources and outlets we have to advertise through, get ideas from, and to connect with,” Pennington said. “Representatives and people that work in SGA need to be more interconnected with the entire university to be successful.” 

In addition to her involvement in OSI and position as the vice president of international affairs for DAB, Bergman said she believes she is equipped for her new role. She said this is because of the knowledge she has obtained as a double major in communication and media studies and political science. 

“I love studying elections and campaigns,” Bergman said. “I’m looking to try and bring some of that information in and get some real-world experience with something that’s not as huge as a national campaign but that’s local where I feel like I can actually make a difference.” 

Bergman was not a member of SGA prior to her appointment but said due to the organization’s ties with OSI, she has helped them with previous elections. A disconnect from SGA is necessary for the position, which only allows Bergman to attend SGA meetings for her appointment or if she has important announcements about the elections she organizes. 

“The reason is because we want to make sure there’s a clear line of separation between the relationships our EOB chair might form with the rest of our members,” Garcia said. “We don’t want any collision between the two due to the nature of elections.”

Bergman will be in charge of the upcoming spring quarter election, where all current SGA members must run again for positions in the 2023 to 2024 school year. More details on election dates and events will be forthcoming but will ultimately show Bergman’s abilities in the role. 

“SGA does make a lot of decisions for the student body that I don’t think the student body really sees, kind of like politics in real life,” Pennington said. “A strong student government though, with competitive candidates and high turnout, we get not only more backing from the student body itself but also more ‘street cred’ when we bring our issues to administration.”