2021 SGA Election Run-Down: Importance and Results
The 2021 SGA election provided students with a new opportunity in the wake of the referendum's passing in February.
As the current executive group sunsets, the 2021 results shine a new light on diversity and inclusion in Furman's SGA.
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This year’s Student Government Association executive election was one of the most diverse elections campus has experienced to date, with a historical outcome at Furman. The election followed the referendum vote that passed on Feb. 10 which eliminated the requirement of previous SGA experience to run for Student Body President, allowing students to run for Student Body President if they have served as president of a student organization and held other positions of leadership on campus.
For the past few years, there has been a trend in Student Body Presidents, with three consecutive office holders being White males who were members of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity. The candidates this year were a deviation from the trend, as both Marie and Rosie Kim are non-Greek affiliated women of color.
The other executive candidates were also a diverse group, including junior Andrew (Drew) Washington and sophomore Josh Swope running for Student Body Vice President, juniors Emily Enlow and Emily Miller for Student Body Secretary, and freshman Marquis Nickerson and junior Emily Capeta running for Student Body Treasurer.
Both Student Body President candidates, juniors Asha Marie and Rosie Kim, who campaigned all the way from South Korea, volunteered for a Q-&-A interview and gathered campus support through tabling events, social media, and other campus outreach strategies.
As the candidates campaigned throughout last week and into this week, students had the opportunity to learn more about their platforms and goals. Junior Leanne Joyce said, “Asha is an incredible advocate for justice in the Greenville community and on campus.” Joyce said Marie has already built a strong network with Furman faculty and knows she will continue to do everything in her power to make campus a more inclusive and comfortable place. Regarding Kim’s campaign, junior Lindsey Cottle said, “Rosie is brilliant, thoughtful and well-connected at Furman. Her emphasis on unity and collaboration are more important than ever, especially after such a tumultuous and divisive year in our nation and on our campus.” That being said, both Marie and Kim are well-respected and highly esteemed by their peers.
The official email announcement sent at 7:26pm on Mar. 9 from current Student Body President Griffin Mills declared Marie Student Body President elect, Washington as Vice President elect, Capeta as Treasurer elect and Enlow as Secretary elect.
Following the announcement, Marie said, “I just want to say that I’m so proud of my friend Rosie Kim for the beautiful campaign that she ran.” Marie reflected on the race saying, “It is never easy to go up against a friend for a shared goal,” and she cannot wait to bring Kim in for “lots of collaborating and advocating together next year.” Marie is grateful for the student body for believing in her leadership. She said, “I’m really excited to continue pushing for positive change on our campus!”
Newly elected Vice President Drew Washington responded to the results saying, “First, I’d like to acknowledge the hard work all the other candidates put into their campaigns—I know whoever would’ve won each position would put Furman in good hands. I am thrilled that the student body chose me to be their next student body vice president. Now the real work begins; a positive change is coming to Furman!”
Secretary-elect Enlow said, “I’m so grateful to be able to represent the student body, and I’m looking forward to spending my senior year working with the other executive officers to make an impact that’ll last beyond our time at Furman.”
Treasurer-elect Emily Capeta said, “I am thankful for this opportunity to serve the student body. I look forward to being an organized, dedicated, and passionate leader.”
Marie’s presidency along with Washington’s Vice Presidency marks a historic moment for Furman SGA elections as Marie and Washington will be the first black President and VP to serve at the same time. Marie’s presidency will also break the pattern of white male leaders and give the Furman student body its first female POC president since the 2007-2008 academic year.
The 2021 election also saw improvements in the voter-turnout from the student body, grossing 1,107 student votes, which is 214 more votes than the 2020 election, 141 more votes than the 2019 election, and 589 more votes than the 2018 election.
The 2021-2022 election marks a new chapter for the Furman Student Government. The referendum vote brought new possibilities into SGA, inspired many students who never considered running for SGA positions a possibility, and welcomed diversity into the association.