Student Body Officer candidates introduce themselves
By Meredith Carey
Favorite Professor: Rachel Goodman, Lyle
Favorite Hobby: SMU Athletics Events
“Aren’t you the president? I’ve seen you in the paper,” said the faculty services worker who approached Ramon Trespalacios in Einstein Bro’s Bagels.
Trespalacios, current student body president, listened to the man’s security concerns, stating he would be sure to bring it to the Senate’s attention.
Being recognized on campus is not unusual for Trespalacios. He’s at every basketball game in Moody Coliseum, cheering wildly in the student section in his signature lobster costume. Trespalacios, an international student, tour guide and engineer, makes an effort to know the pulse of the campus.
Now, Trespalacios will run unopposed for a second term as Student Senate President. Mia Kim, the other candidate, a graduate student, has removed herself from the race. Kim will serve as the Law Senator.
“I wanted to bring the graduate voice to the Senate, but with Ramon, I feel that the graduate interests will be equitably heard,” Kim said. “This change in the election does not reflect concession but rather consolidation of causes.”
Trespalacios will be pursuing his masters in operations research as part of the Lyle School of Engineering’s 4+1 combined undergraduate and graduate program. The senior from Cuernavaca, Mexico, is running on a platform of continuity, relationships and inclusivity.
Trespalacios says his current strong relationships with the administration and knowledge of the Senate will eliminate a presidential learning curve in the fall semester.
“It is easier for actual, lasting change to occur over long periods of time,” Trespalacios said.
“He will more easily be able to continue the momentum of change over the next year,” Kim said.
One of Trespalacios’ focuses is on diversity, branded as inclusivity in his platform.
“Diversity is a key aspect of the SMU experience. There have definitely been some bumps in the road on creating that environment here, but I hope to improve it,” Trespalacios said. “There needs to come a time when people aren’t surprised that three minority students serve as the executives in the Senate, or that two graduate international students want to run for Senate President.”
Elections for the 101st Student Senate will be held April 2 and 3. Trespalacios, now running unopposed, will win the position unless a write-in candidate is successful.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to serve the students. I still haven’t fully reached my goals and I’m ready for the chance to do so,” Trespalacios said.
By Jehadu Abshiro
Favorite professor: Gregory Sommers, Intermediate Accounting, Cox
Favorite hobby: Rollerblading
Favorite Professor: Kate Canales, Lyle
Favorite Hobby: Spontaneous Urban Adventures
Favorite Professor: Mark Fontenot, Lyle
Favorite Hobby: SMU basketball
Juniors Monica Finnegan and William O’Connor, and sophomore Chase Harker are running for the Vice President seat.
Finnegan, an accounting and communications major from St. Louis, has served as Chief of Staff and Speaker for the Student Senate.
One of Finnegan’s goals is to bridge the gap between administrators and Senate.
“If Senate doesn’t have a close relationship with administrators, nothing can get done,” she said. “I seek to formalize the relationship.”
She wants to implement a parking solution, increase community space, student basketball tickets and communication for students.
Finnegan is trying to increase community space by working on the Hughes Trigg Task Force. The task force is working on brainstorming renovation ideas for making Hughes-Trigg more student-friendly.
Her hobbies include rollerblading and outdoor activities. She has been to SMU in Taos six times. Finnegan also enjoys going to SMU basketball and football games.
“School spirit is really big for me,” she said.
She plans on going to graduate school after graduating. Finnegan doesn’t plan on pursuing politics as career, however she might revisit politics after she retires in service of the community.
O’Connor, a computer science and economics major from Fort Worth, has served as First-Year Senator.
He said he wants to make SMU a better experience from “Start to finish.” This is a three-part plan starting with Mustang Corral.
“Students say the benefit of attending Mustang Corral is that everyone bonds over how hot and miserable they are,” O’Connor said. “I think we can provide an experience where students bond over how much they enjoy it.”
The second part of his platform is improving senator and student interaction. He wants to revamp the senator liaison program, which assigns senators to organizations for representation.
“Students have a lot of good ideas, they just need a better, easier way to make them happen,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor wants to work with administration and the Board of Trustees on adjustable scholarships, which would be raised based on tuition.
He enjoys going to SMU basketball games, running and community service. He plans to stay in Dallas to work in management or technology consultant.
Harker, a sophomore majoring in management science from Prosper, Texas, has served as a general member and Lyle senator.
He joined to Senate because he wants bring change to a college campus. If he is selected as vice president, he plans on improving the relationship between SMU Police Department and Dean of Student, as well as working on internal development.
“No one man can tackle the big issues by themselves,” he said. “It’s empowering the senators and working together to develop a network of leaders.”
Harker is involved in SMU Catholic and Beta Upsilon Chi as well.
He enjoys SMU basketball and “spontaneous urban adventures,” which is discovering parts of Dallas he hasn’t been to. Recently, he went to the Arts District.
By Jehadu Abshiro
Favorite Professor: Michael Lusztig, Dedman
Favorite Hobby: Going to concerts
Favorite Professor: Liliana Hickman-Riggs, Lyle
Favorite Hobby: Playing guitar
Anna Norkett and Elliott Bouillion are running for 2014-2015 Student Senate Secretary.
Norkett, a sophomore from Flower Mound, Texas, has served as Membership Chair since February 2013.
“I love serving the community that has given me so many opportunities and great memories,” she said. “From my experiences as Senate Membership Chair and other roles on campus, I have gained the knowledge and skills, including efficient organization, clear communication and effective execution, necessary to be a successful secretary.”
Norkett, an economics and public policy major, wants to increase awareness and accessibility of Student Senate affairs among the student body if she wins the secretary seat.
“To accomplish this, I will ensure the website is always up-to-date with weekly minutes, Student Senate updates and all contact information,” Norkett said.
She also plans on restructuring the way Senate office hours work so that senators are located in places constituents can easily find them.
“For example, Cox senators could hold their office hours in Einstein’s, a centrally located place business students often frequent,” she said. “This will allow you to better voice your concerns, find out how Senate can help you, and unlock the resources available to you and your organizations.”
Norkett’s hobbies include going to concerts, dancing and service activities. Her favorite type of music is alternative.
Sophomore Elliot Bouillion, finance major from Houston, has been involved in student senate for two years. He served as a First-Year Senator, as a Pre-Major Senator and is involved with the both the Scholarship and Communications Committees.
His three main objectives are to improve community involvement, academic development and communication.
“As we come to the conclusion of the centennial celebration, we are able to notice the various changes to our campus, updating the student life and academic foundation of our university,” Bouillion said. “During this transitional period, we need Student Senate to be more prevalent than ever so that we can address student concerns regarding our unforeseen future, such as the movement towards the Residential Commons model or the university curriculum.”
If he wins the seat, he plans on trying to increase the accessibility and efficiency of chamber for students. He wants to implement a bi-weekly newsletter, update the senate website regularly and work with the future vice-president to continue the Senate liaison program.
“My goal is to make everyone aware of their student representatives and create an environment in which we show our constituents that we care about their individual concerns and will actively follow through to get things done,” he said. “I want to be more than just a resource to students, but a leader that actively promotes the future of our university through the engagement of the SMU community.”
Bouillion hobbies include, attending SMU basketball games, playing guitar, singing with the Southern Gentlemen and Boulevarding. His favorite music genre is punk rock.
“It gets rid of all of the teenage angst I never had,” Bouillion said.
Info boxes by Joey Hayden