The Office of Student Affairs announced the results of the Student Government Association president and vice president election on Monday, April 24 via email. Over 600 University of Indianapolis students voted in the election, according to Student Affairs. Sophomore business management major Stephano Ibarra was elected SGA president and sophomore sports management major Erick Cavazos was elected vice president. Ibarra and Cavazos will officially start their work at UIndy in the fall semester of the 2023-2024 academic year.
Senior Associate Dean of Student Life and Leadership Steven Freck said he hopes the return of student government will provide an opportunity for students to work more directly and collaboratively with the administration. Freck also said he hopes SGA will serve as a representation of the student body, helping to voice issues they want to bring forward that could impact the student experience.
“I will serve as an advisor to the board,” Freck said. “I am really just here to help and guide them to make sure that university processes are being followed and to help them navigate different things that they need in order to be successful.”
According to Ibarra, he and Cavazos are currently in the process of recruiting personnel for the SGA cabinet positions. He said they want to have diversity among the cabinet members so every single student on campus feels safe and comfortable. To ensure that sense of inclusiveness, safety and comfort on campus, everyone deserves to know what is happening at the university, and the student body and staff should be on the same page with everything, according to Ibarra. Communication will be a strong component of student government, Cavazos said.
“With over 4,000 students here on campus, making sure that everyone is being heard fairly and equally is a challenge,” Cavazos said. “However, it is a challenge that we are definitely ready to hit the ground running [with] and make happen. The only way that we can make this a reality is to work together as a team.”
Cavazos said he realized in his personal experience during his freshman year of college that COVID-19 has allowed people doing their own thing and staying in their own lane to become a normality. He said during this year as a sophomore, he has realized how much he missed out on last year by going through the motions: staying to himself, going to school as a commuter, going to swim practice and going home.
“I came to realize that in order to be involved, you need to take the initiative to take that first step yourself,” Cavazos said. “The same goes with the student body and the student government. All the work that we want to accomplish can’t happen unless you guys [students] aren’t with us. We really believe that this sense of teamwork between students and faculty will ultimately allow us to enhance the student experience at UIndy. All we are is just a branch to link the students and administrators together, to allow students to express themselves and their opinions and to just make positive changes here on campus.”
Cavazos said he and Ibarra want to improve resources on campus. He said that they will advocate for several things, including extended hours for the library and the gym, improvements in the cafeteria food and decreased pricing and more accessibility to food alternatives for people with food allergies.
“It’s an honor for us to be the mouthpiece of the students’ voice,” Ibarra said. “I’m an international student representing Peru as a country and I’m going to represent the University of Indianapolis the best that I can.”