Campuswide election slates EC leaders for upcoming school year

Women swept the officer roles within the elected body that facilitates student self-governance and the honor system; class rep results still to come elections forthcoming

Maya Lora, News Writer

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The student body has spoken — Executive Committee veterans Elizabeth Mugo, ‘19, Grace Smith, ‘20, and Gabriella Miggins, ‘19, will lead the EC as president, vice president and secretary for the 2018-19 school year. The Student Election Commission (formerly known as the Voting Regulations Board) announced the results in an email to the student body two hours after the online voting closed on Tuesday night, March 20, after having implemented instant runoff polling for the first time, which eliminated the potential need for additional rounds of voting — a pattern which has historically slowed down the elections process. The election for class representatives will take place on Tuesday, March 27, to round out EC appointments.

Elizabeth Mugo, ’19: President

Elizabeth Mugo, who currently serves as vice president of the Executive Committee for the 2017-18 school year, was voted to become the president-elect. She is the first black woman to hold the position on campus and will replace current president Mason Grist, ‘18.

“In some ways it felt surreal, like I almost felt like I was on an episode of Punk’d and someone was gonna walk out and be like ‘ha ha, it’s actually not true,’” Mugo said. “It’s also exciting to see how excited other people are for you and just how much people both believed in me and how much people were willing to support me in the coming year.”

Multiple motivations played into her decision to run for president, she said, with ensuring that racial diversity on campus is reflected in student government being an important one.

She said she wants to be able to advocate for underrepresented students on campus, especially during such a busy year, with strategic planning, the new Quality Enhancement Plan and the Commission on Institutional History and Community all putting forth important policy actions at once.

Mugo said that a lot of these changes on campus are going to impact student lives now and for future generations.

“In those conversations … it’s super important for me that student voices are being heard, and that it’s not [the same] voices,” Mugo said, “[and] that we’re recognizing the fact that there are voices that aren’t always being heard, and amplifying those and allowing students to speak to their W&L experience, whatever that is to them.”

She also wants to better bridge the gap between students and influential university administrators.

“I think that the president position really speaks to being able to really represent student voices to bodies like the Board of Trustees and the administration,” Mugo said.

As president, Mugo wants to get members of the Executive Committee more involved with student organizations on campus and increase supportive attendance at their events.

She also wants to make the committee more accessible by conducting well-advertised business meetings in less secluded, formal locations so that students feel more comfortable approaching the EC with questions and concerns.

Lastly, Mugo wants to focus on bolstering mental health resources on campus and finding ways for the honor violation review process to be less stressful and difficult for involved students.

Overall, Mugo said she is excited to now be beyond the draining election process and start working toward the upcoming year.

Grace Smith, ’20: Vice-President

Sophomore Grace Smith, a two-time Class of 2020 representative, said she had previously planned to take a year off from the Executive Committee and re-run for an elected position her senior year — but her plans changed and she was elected vice president.

She said she felt qualified to step into Mugo’s current role because of the two years of experience, which includes participation in honor hearings, already under her belt.

But she also had difficulty with the election process, which she said can be challenging for shy people like herself, especially having lost a close race for secretary of the Executive Committee last year.

She said her involvement with student organizations through her social media work with WLULex gives her perspective on how student organizations and the Executive Committee interact, especially with processes like budgeting.

She has already reached out to organizations in several ways, such as sitting in on monthly student board meetings with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Smith said she is also currently brainstorming a way to meet with each student organization and go through their plans and goals for the year and come up with way to meet them. She wants to especially stress co-sponsorship between organizations for events and is going to use her time on the EC next year to focus on small steps leading to broader change.

“My platform was basically entirely about [how] I’m not going to tote these really lofty ideas, I want to talk about little things that we can do,” Smith said. “Because at the end of the day, I think it’s about the little things.”

She was able to take small steps to bridge large gaps during her previous time on the Executive Committee. She got the law school to donate business casual attire to the Career Development office so low-income students would have access to interview clothes.

“I think that little things that make big differences in people’s lives are the most important things that we can do,” Smith said. “If we can improve the quality of someone’s day-to-day, just by making something easier for them, that like a lot of students aren’t necessarily thinking about, then why not do that?”

Gabriella Miggins, ’19: Secretary

Gabriella Miggins, a former class representative for the Class of 2019, won the position of Executive Committee Secretary as an unopposed, off-campus candidate. She is studying abroad in Australia through the end of Winter Term.

Caption for featured image: Elizabeth Mugo, ‘19 (left), a Sociology and Anthropology major with minors in Poverty & Human Capability Studies and Africana Studies, from Ruiru, Kenya and Columbia, S.C., is the president-elect of the EC for the 2018-19 school year. Grace Smith, ‘20 (right), a Global History major with minors in Creative Writing and Studio Art, from Tampa, Fl., will step into Mugo’s current role next year. Photos courtesy of Mugo and Smith