2024-2025 University of Indianapolis Student Government Association Candidates: A Preview

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Update 4/16/2024: The Office of Student Affairs announced that students who voted via the Qualtrics survey must recast their vote via a Google Form, according to an email sent to all students on the morning of April 16. This change is due to a glitch that allowed duplicate votes and non-UIndy-affiliated voters, the email said. As a result of this issue, Student Affairs said they have extended the voting period until Monday, April 22 at 4:30 p.m. and the winners will be announced on Friday, April 26. Students may vote or recast their vote via the Google Form linked in the April 16 email.

The University of Indianapolis Office of Student Affairs announced via email on Tuesday, March 26 that four pairs of students are running for the 2024-25 academic year Student Government Association president and vice president. The upcoming election marks the second year of SGA at the university. Voting is scheduled to take place from Monday, April 15, at 8 a.m. to Friday, April 19, at 4:30 p.m. through an online Qualtrics survey, UIndy Student Experience Designer Abigail Postma said. The running candidates are as follows:

  • Presidential, Jezalyn Hyzer, vice-presidential, Katelynn Phillips 
  • Presidential, Stephano Ibarra (incumbent), vice-presidential, Mallory Thompson
  • Presidential, Jo’Tan Johnson, vice-presidential, Imelda Pozos
  • Presidential, Noah Maple, vice-presidential, Jordan Weddle

The four duos’ campaign statements can currently be found on My.UIndy.edu/sga.

Photo Contributed by Hyzer & Phillips

Hyzer & Phillips

Senior psychology major Jezalyn Hyzer is running for SGA president with junior accounting and finance major Katelynn Phillips running as her vice president. According to Hyzer and Phillips’ mission statement found in an email sent by UIndy Student Affairs on March 26, they want to improve the sense of community within the student body at the University of Indianapolis and ensure all students’ concerns are heard and addressed.

“She and I both work on campus, and we’ve also got friends that work in other offices on campus,” Hyzer said. “And based on when we all come together and we talk about work and stuff like that, we feel that there’s so much space in between everybody here and even in the individual offices. I feel like we have the connections that we can make introductions of other offices, that way we can do more cross-campus kinds of things like that that’ll bring everybody together.”

According to Hyzer, one of their goals is to bring back Hound Pound. Hound Pound was a student-run cheer section for athletic teams at UIndy. Its mission was to bring UIndy students together through participating and supporting athletics organizations on campus with themes, chants and events, according to previous reporting from The Reflector in 2018.

“It’ll allow student athletes to feel more appreciated for their sports and their school work that they do,” Phillips said. “Oftentimes you go to a football game and there’s nowhere to sit and you have to stand along the fence. I think having a student section where students can interact with each other will allow everybody to feel supported rather than so disconnected at an event where everybody is supposed to be connected.”

Hyzer said some other goals they have are to utilize Schwitzer Park more and to make UIndy a little bit more beautiful. She said that a few changes here and there could make a lot of UIndy’s common spaces able to be enjoyed by everybody. 

According to Hyzer, partnering with different departments across the university is important in achieving their goals. According to Hyzer, she has had a meeting with UIndy Athletics to see what areas they would like to see improvements in. Hyzer said she and Phillips will need to talk to people in charge of things on campus in order to get to the root of the problems all around campus.

Hyzer said when choosing her cabinet members, she will want to represent the UIndy community in student government. She said she and Phillips are from two very different academic backgrounds which gives them perspective on what it is like in different departments. Hyzer said she also wants people from areas that she is less familiar with such as an athletics representative, international student and a commuter.

“I’m trying to go into it with an open mind, and kind of have a set of people who are willing to work together, but also come from different walks of life and are very diverse in their social standings and academics here on campus,” Hyzer said.

Hyzer and Phillips said they want to not only listen to student concerns but treat them with respect. They said they want to respect those concerns enough to do some investigating about it and be more proactive, not just listen to them and then not do anything. Phillips said they want to make an impact by helping current and future students.

“We don’t want to do this for ourselves,” Hyzer said. “We want to be advocates for students and help students be advocates for themselves in a respectful and communicative manner. A lot of people are very self-motivating these days… Like Katie and I, we don’t care if our names get slapped down to any of the things that we do on campus. It’s more so, ‘How can we make this better?’ And, ‘Can we come back in 20 years and see the things that we do have worked?’”

Photo Contributed by Ibarra & Thompson

Ibarra & Thompson 

Junior business administration major Stephano Ibarra is this year’s Student Government Association President and junior communication major Mallory Thompson is this year’s current SGA Communication Chair. According to the goal statement provided by Ibarra and Thompson, their goal is to have better communication across campus and to continue to build connections with administration, faculty and students to help everyone feel more connected.

“Just building that sense of belonging that we need on campus, I think is gonna help us to feel that we belong more here,” Ibarra said. “When you feel that you belong to a certain hometown, a certain country, you’re happy to live with it. I think we have the experience, the commitment and the passion to just keep working together. With the shared goals and the same student feedback and the student input, it’s gonna help us a lot to ensure that our goals and our plans for the future of UIndy gets better and gets accomplished.”

According to Ibarra, rerunning as the President of SGA is about continuing the progress the team has made this past year. Creating a foundation that will support future leaders of SGA and the relationships they have made to work with various UIndy members to create connections to better the students.

“I think what inspired me most is what we have done this year,” Ibarra said. “We have been working tirelessly together with faculty, administration and students to make sure that we have a better campus. A thing that has inspired me most is that we can witness what we can accomplish when we all come together and bring UIndy family as one.”

According to Thompson, her motivation to run this upcoming year is because of all she has learned from being involved in the SGA this past year. Talking to administrators, reaching out to students and implementing new resources for students to reach out to SGA through email or social media has driven Thompson to run again, she said.

“I know I wanted to continue running because I know that there’s more I can do,” Thompson said. “I have the experience, I have these learning obstacles that I wanna continue to push through. I want to do more, and I know I can. So I feel very inspired to continue running, and I would love to serve next year as well.”

Although they did not know each other before working together for this year’s SGA campaign, they are running together because of what they have seen in each other. For Thompson, she said working with Ibarra again was a no-brainer, saying that he is detail-oriented, driven and a hard worker. Thompson has shown her dedication to SGA through her commitment to what she loves and passion for what she is involved in, said Ibarra. 

After this past year, Ibarra said the SGA cabinet has worked to create a basis of interview questions with their advisors Student Experience Designer Abigail Postma and Vice President, Chief Inclusion Officer and Interim VP of Student Affairs Amber Smith. If reelected, this team hopes to move forward to continue the steps they have made and make UIndy a home for every student.

“All this commitment and passion and experience, we just can keep working on building connections, keep working on the future proposals we have, keep working on the proposals that we are currently going through,” Ibarra said. “We only can do it if the students support us during the election process. If we achieve it one time, we can do it another time.”

Johnson & Pozos

Photo Contributed by Johnson & Pozos

Jo’Tan Johnson is a junior criminal justice with concentrations in pre-law and law enforcement, and Imelda Pozos is also a junior, studying history and political science with a minor in Spanish.

Johnson said he wants to make the Student Government Association at UIndy known on campus and let their fellow Greyhounds know that, with their leadership, SGA would be a place where they could voice their opinions and where those opinions would be heard. According to Johnson, he came to Pozos with the idea of running.

“We also work together already in the Office of Inclusive Excellence,” Pozos said. “So we already kind of have this bond … that we feel is going to help in our experience in SGA presidency and vice presidency.”

According to Johnson, he and Pozos want SGA to be student-centered and student-focused. He also said they want to be the voice for students.

“This office is for you,” Johnson said. “This is your place on campus where you can voice that [opinions]. That’s one of the main things we want to address if we’re elected.”

Pozos said they want to foster more of a safe environment that allows students to feel comfortable approaching SGA. Additionally, she said she and Johnson wanted to be seen as students first.

“… We don’t want to be seen as President and Vice President of SGA,” Pozos said. “We want to be seen as students who go through these issues on campus with the rest of the students because we are students on this campus, we do experience a lot of the issues that our fellow Greyhounds are going through. We have this firsthand experience of, ‘Hey, this is what we want to fix because we’re here with you.’”

Johnson and Pozos also said they want to be able to let students know there are office hours for SGA and anybody can come to those office hours to discuss issues on campus. They said they want their goals to align with what students want, and they will do what is in their power to make changes happen.

“If it’s in our reach, because now we have to be honest, we can only do so much,” Johnson said. “So if it’s in our reach, then we plan on doing whatever we can …”

Photo Contributed by Maple & Weddle

Maple & Weddle

Maple and Weddle are both part of the Ron & Laura Strain Honors College and the Speech & Debate Team at UIndy. They said their experiences in those programs—along with being roommates—helped them connect and inspired them to run as a duo for SGA. A part of a generational Greyhound family, Maple is a music education and music business double major. Weddle is a biology major with a pre-medicine concentration. Additionally, both Maple & Weddle are Presidential Scholars.

“We’re running for SGA because we have fallen in love with this community and what it is and what it represents,” Weddle said. “And we want to do our best to serve this community through public office and to preserve it, and not only to preserve it, but to perpetuate it forward.”

Weddle and Maple are the youngest candidates running for next school year’s SGA president and vice president as rising sophomores. They believe this is a strength, as they offer a different perspective to SGA. 

“We’re a leader for everybody,” Maple said. “But some focus, and a little bit of our campaign, is based off of the younger kind of students that are just coming in here and how we can better help their experience in the first three years.”

If elected, Maple and Weddle said they intend to conduct several initiatives. They plan to host SGA open office hours for all, help new students adjust to college life, advocate for the student body to administration, interact with Registered Student Organizations, promote campus community engagement, and practice “leadership through service,” according to the duo. 

“SGA, in my opinion, should be the ones with the loudest support for the student events for the student body,” Weddle said. “We should be the ones that not only are leaders but also who are the biggest servants—the ones who are getting down in the trenches, getting down in the nitty gritty, going to the meetings for the different clubs, interacting with people and being on the front lines, getting the work done in that way. But I think the role of SGA is also we’re the servants of this community. We’re the ones that need to really help out and go the extra mile to preserve this community and support it.”

They plan to appoint their cabinet members to be representatives of different aspects of the UIndy community, according to Maple. This includes finding students from different majors and all walks of life. 

“We want people to feel like they’re a part of something that serves the entire community,” Maple said.

The 24-25 SGA candidates will participate in a debate on campus on Wednesday, April 10 from 6 to 7 p.m. in UIndy Hall, according to an email sent to students, faculty and staff on April 8 by the Office of Student Affairs. Students can submit questions for the candidates via a link in the April 8 email.

Students who have questions about SGA can reach out to Postma via her email, postmaa@uindy.edu.

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