Kat Riddler, Editor-In-Chief
In the wake of national presidential election awareness, it is also important for students to be aware of their local University of Missouri-St. Louis Student Government Association (SGA) representatives.
The President of SGA is Kathryn Loucks, junior, biology, from Festus, Missouri. Loucks also works for Residential Life & Housing as a Community Advisor at Mansion Hill. Loucks was a SGA Senator last year to build her leadership skills. She decided to run for SGA President because of positive feedback she received about her work as a Senator. Loucks said, “Just before the applications went live, an individual approached me and asked if I would think about running for President instead. Knowing that someone considered me a leader was incredibly empowering. It has been a trying year so far, but I can feel myself becoming more confident and I love that.”
Briana Robertson, senior, biology, is the Vice President of SGA and from Cassville, MO. Robertson became involved with SGA last year as a Senator to “have a positive impact on the UMSL community.” Robertson said, “I chose to run for Vice President because I really enjoyed my time as a senator and wanted to spend more time working on campus issues with SGA. I wanted to let students know that SGA is there to help them if they see or experience something on campus that they want to improve.”
SGA’s Comptroller is Sean Burkett, junior, psychology, who decided to run for the position for a couple of reasons. He explained, “First, I wanted to reach out and work with my student organizations and help them achieve the internal goals they put forth for the year. I believe that the Comptroller has the opportunity to really help student organizations with their needs. Second, I wanted to truly make a difference on campus and be the voice for students.”
While it is mandatory for student groups on campus to send a representative to every SGA meeting to receive Student Activity Budget Committee funds, Burkett felt there needed to me more voices—not just student groups, but individuals. Burkett ran as a slate with Loucks and Robertson on this idea. Burkett said, “When we started our campaign, and still to today, we ran on the platform that students were not being heard … that needed to change, so we decided to be the change and voice student concerns to administration and faculty.
There are 13 SGA Senators. According to the SGA constitution, senators are to serve as a voting member of the SGA Assembly Executive Committee, serve as a non-voting member of the SGA Assembly, discuss and nominate recommendations to the assembly for the positions of secretary, parliamentarian, and sergeant-at-arms in conjunction with the president, serve as representatives to campus committees as deemed necessary by SGA vice president to provide a cohesive platform from which to advocate the interests and concerns of the students in the activities and affairs of the university, and present campus committee updates to the general assembly.
Kaitlin Henning, senior, psychology, is serving her third year as a Senator. She said, “This is my third term serving on senate, because I love being able to serve UMSL in this capacity. Representing students on committees, in meetings, and at events has shown me that I don’t have to be quiet and polite to be respected. Through senate I’ve been able to use my talents to work for the benefit of all UMSL students, not just my own.”
Henning is active in other student groups on campus. She said, “From the beginning of middle school, I’ve wanted more out of school than just homework and report cards. Today, that’s reflected in my extra-curricular activities, namely planning programs with UPB and advocating for students through SGA.”
Jon Haupert, freshman, finance, is new to SGA. Haupert said, “I joined student government with the goal of increasing commuter involvement and to be a voice of the freshman class … Now that the semester is in full swing, I can’t wait to start working with the SGA team.” Haupert is also a pledge for the social fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha and vice president of the Finance Club.
Maxim Sanders, sophomore, biology, joined SGA to make a difference on the UMSL campus. He said, “I joined SGA to be involved with the UMSL community and be a voice to help make the decisions that ultimately make our university be successful.”
Heather Lange, junior, criminology & criminal justice and international relations, is at UMSL for her first year and got involved in SGA to be heard. Lange is also the freshman representative for the Pierre Laclede Honors College and works at the Millennium Student Center as a Student Facilities Assistant. She said, “I look forward to reaching out and getting more involved in the UMSL community this year.”
Corinne Anselm, sophomore, political science, is from St. James, MO and enjoys reading and hiking. Anselm said, “I want to be an SGA senator to be more aware of the different issues at the university and try to change those things to help others have a better college experience.”
Julian Brown, senior, communications, is from Chicago, Illinois and works as a full time recruiter and social entrepreneur. Brown came to St. Louis to play basketball for St. Louis Christian College after high school. He transferred to UMSL after receiving his Associates of Arts in general education at St. Louis Christian College. Brown quickly became involved on campus in such groups like UMSL Radio, HISLA, and Associated Black Collegians. Brown was also a Student Plus intern and a peer mentor for the First Year Experience (FYE) program. Brown said, “Since I was involved in so many different organizations, and being very social on campus I decided to join the Student Government Association in order to help be a voice for the student body, and potentially get policies passed in favor of the students. I felt as though I wanted to help make an impact on campus to some capacity before I graduate.”
Sami Risius, sophomore, media studies, is an SGA Senator and Secretary. Risius said, “I decided to run for senator for SGA because I love to be involved and helping others. I love our Tritons. As a senator, I have the opportunity to be a voice for the students and help make a positive change on UMSL campus. Everyone has a voice on this campus and SGA is here to listen and represent you.”
Trevor Dobbs, junior, criminology & criminal justice, is also part of the Pierre Laclede Honors College. Dobbs transferred from the Three Rivers Community College after receiving his associates degree in social work and completing their honors program with a certificate in paralegal and global studies. When Dobbs moved three hours away from his home to attend UMSL, Dobbs said, “This place became my home.” This connection to UMSL fueled his desire to join SGA. Dobbs said, “I gained a deep pride in my Triton community, and I felt a strong desire to advocate for a few needs that I saw students having trouble with. I joined SGA to represent those student needs, to make sure that everyone feels as comfortable here at UMSL as I do and has the best college experience possible.” Dobbs is also active in the Associated Students of the University of Missouri (ASUM) as vice president, the University Green Team, University Program Board, and representing Mansion Hill to the Residents Hall Association (RHA) Executive Board. Dobbs said, “My goal is to advocate for student needs in as many subjects as possible. I look forward to representing students as a senator.”
T’Keyah Blockton, sophomore, criminology & criminal justice is from St. Louis. Blockton came to UMSL because she wanted to go to a university of great quality. Before attending UMSL, Blockton was a captain on two sports teams at Normandy High School. Blockton is involved in many organizations at UMSL: SGA Representative for the Associated Black Collegians (ABC), UMSL Ambassador and SGA Senator. Blockton has traveled around the U.S. exposed to different cultures. This exposure has led her to skills she can employ to resolve any situation by leaving partialitites at the door. Blockton said, “I listen to the voices of UMSL’s students by engaging in meaningful dialogue to address their concerns. This entail working with the aspiring professionals to support their ideas and projects. Being in a leadership position where I am able to advocate on the behalf of the student body not only allows me to meet new people who have concerns, but it motivates me to assure that the right policies are implemented in order to address some of the concerns if not all of them.”
Nicholas Garvin, senior, political science, is also from St. Louis. Garvin plans to attend a law school after graduation in May. Garvin has previously served in the Senate and returned to help make changes to UMSL once more. Garvin said, “Essentially what I hope to do is to make UMSL an attractive university for all students to attend by focusing on expanding our curriculum and creating more opportunities for new majors to be added, increasing the amount of African American professors, and developing new opportunities that could create employment opportunities for students. Also focusing on the safety of the UMSL campus by addressing sexual harassment and focusing on resolving and preventing any such cases. If UMSL really aspires to be a school that is equal to all of it students and is for all of its students, it must be more inclusive of African American students, LGBT students, and Hispanic students. It is time that UMSL focuses on the collective community of it students that would allow for the growth and opportunity of every student.”
Joey Dordoni, freshman, anthropology, joined SGA to be involved. He is part of HISLA, UPB, Gateway Campus Ministries, and the Association of Student Anthropologists as the event coordinator. Dordoni said, “I like to make an impact wherever I go, especially if I know that place has or will make a impact on me.” Dordoni went to a small high school and was told a big university would be a shock. Dordoni did not think that this was the case with UMSL. Dordoni said, “UMSL, however, has quickly become my second home and has been really good to me, so I want to return the favor.”
The remaining senator is Nick Bailey, junior, criminology & criminal justice.
Students are encouraged to speak to their representatives so their voices can be heard. They can meet with their representatives at SGA general meetings or at the SGA office in the Office of Student Involvement, or they can email firstname.lastname@example.org. That is the preferred email to reach senators. For the three cabinet members, it is best to email Loucks at email@example.com, Robertson at firstname.lastname@example.org, and Burkett at email@example.com.
Burkett said, “I encourage all students to reach out to student government when they have questions, concerns, and especially suggestions about UMSL. Student voice is the largest voice on campus and we can all truly make a difference when we work together.” The remaining SGA meeting dates for this semester are November 4 and December 2. Meetings are held in the SGA Chambers on the third floor of the Millennium Student Center at 12:30 p.m.