The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

SGA elects new members to senate and cabinet

Rose O’Keeffe
Members of DePaul’s student government association share roundtable updates during a meeting in Levan Hall on Feb. 7. Several new senators were confirmed at this meeting.

During its Feb. 7 general body meeting, the Student Government Association (SGA) appointed three new senators and internally elected a new Executive Vice President for Diversity and Equity. 

Executive Vice President for Diversity and Equity – Victoria Gomez-Meza:

For the last two years, Victoria Gomez-Meza was the senator for first-generation students. During that time, she gained experience working with the Committee for Diversity and Equity. Gomez-Meza applied for vice president of this committee with the encouragement of her peers and advisors in SGA. 

During her address, Gomez-Meza expressed her commitment to serve and advocate for all DePaul students. 

“Getting to college is an immense challenge and once they actually start, students are faced with many obstacles that can get in their way of success,” Gomez-Meza said. “It is important to connect with them and have conversations about how we can make their education more accessible.” 

In November 2023, while serving as senator for first-generation students, Gomez-Meza created First Generation Week. Gomez-Meza said she wanted this event to commend first-generation students for getting to where they are today and hopes to make this an annual tradition throughout DePaul’s campuses. 

“This future was not set for us, and we go through this process of undergrad with many unknowns,” Gomez-Meza said. 

Gomez-Meza plans to create stronger relationships with cultural organizations and continue conversations on cultural awareness, gender inclusivity and the recognition of privilege. She also hopes to build a greater connection between commuter students and campus life. 

As Executive Vice President for Diversity and Equity, Gomez-Meza will now be a member of SGA’s cabinet throughout the next term. 

Senator for the College of Law – Jake Fondel: 

Law student Jake Fondel, gained experience working in student government through the Student Bar Association (SBA) at DePaul. 

While addressing the general body of SGA, Fondel discussed the need for more substantial health insurance coverage for graduate students. 

“(This is something) many other schools in Chicago provide,” Fondel said. “The fact that we don’t is putting us and our students at a disadvantage.” 

Through hosting more events in the Loop, Fondel said he hopes to create a stronger connection between DePaul’s two campuses and make the distance feel less vast. He would like to have SGA and SBA work more closely to pull together some of these events. 

Loop campus security is another concern students have expressed to Fondel. He discussed the need for increased keycard readers in downtown campus buildings. 

Fondel discussed the importance of addressing the needs of graduate students who are in a very different phase of their life, compared to undergraduate students. 

“In law school, there’s people with children, husbands, wives and families,” Fondel said. “There’s people who come right out of college. There’s people who only take night classes because they work all day. I want to make sure that the school is working for everyone.” 

Senator for Disabled Students – Gerald Zink: 

Gerald Zink transferred to DePaul to pursue political science after spending two years at Columbia College Chicago. 

Zink said he applied for the position of senator because there is a need for disabled students to be represented. 

He plans to contact organizations such as the student-led group Accessible Futures and DePaul’s Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) to determine issues facing disabled students. Zink will present them to SGA with the hope of finding solutions. 

“In regards to problems disabled students suffer from at DePaul, it’s not cut and dry,” Zink said. “It’s a problem with the atmosphere. Those who are on the spectrum and those with other cognitive disorders are not happy with a culture they see at DePaul, being very isolative and secular.” 

Senator for Second-Year Students – Sheridan Hajny: 

Political science major Sheridan Hajny said she applied for Senator for Second Year Students as a way to get more involved and help her peers. 

The primary initiatives of Hajny’s campaign include increasing communication between the school and its students as well as creating channels for students to provide feedback to the university. During her address, she discussed her hope to help second-year students maximize their time at DePaul through the implementation of career planning and academic exploration programs. 

“I am excited to be able to advocate for students, utilizing the network SGA has,” Hajny said. 

Chief of Staff Jaslynn Hodges said that one of SGA’s goals this year is to get students more involved and aware of things happening around campus. She looks forward to seeing these senators take on tasks centered around community engagement. 

“I believe each of these newly appointed leaders have the dedication necessary to succeed in SGA,” Hodges said. “It is always encouraging to see new members join and especially when they are eager to serve their constituents and the student body.”


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