New Faces in the SGA
by Nina Taneja on Friday, May 13th, 2016
Nina Taneja ‘18
As the last month of school begins and seniors depart for projects, preparations for the 2016-2017 school year have already begun. SGA elections for next year are complete, leaving ten chosen students to bridge the gap between their classmates and the administration next year. The head monitor race is also finished; a group of junior candidates went through primaries, Q&As, and final speeches in front of the entire school. In the end, 543 students voted Semi Oloko, a day student from Canton, and Tyler Piazza, a day student from Wellesley, the winners.
So, now, class reps as well as boarder and day monitors have all been elected. For class reps, two rounds of voting and short speeches left Mikey George and Olayeni Oladipo as next year’s sophomore reps, Velan Nandhakumaran and Jack Weiler as next year’s junior reps, and George Wilde and Oliver Boyce as next year’s senior class reps. Day and boarding monitor elections occurred after one speech; Mark Bodner and Ashleigh Hogan were chosen for day monitors, while Peter Duke and Keisha Baffour-Addo will be representing boarding students as boarding monitors.
Each SGA representative elected has a wonderfully different character and will bring unique perspectives and ideas to the group. Velan Nandhakumaran (III), a boarder in Forbes from Toronto, loves to play hockey, while Mikey George (IV), a day student living in Milton, enjoys hiking and filmmaking. In addition, Semi Oloko (II) plays for the tennis team and “loves watching reality TV and teen angst movies from the 90s.”
However, the members of next year’s SGA also have a few common goals in mind. Jack Weiler described his goal to “make assemblies lively and exciting” for his classmates. His co-rep Velan Nandhakumaran similarly added that that the “power duo” just wants to “wake people up in the morning!” In addition, Mikey George noted that he and Olayeni hope to eliminate the cliques of the freshman grade, as he noticed “early on that [their] grade was mostly divided into fairly exclusive friend groups.”
Semi’s goals as head monitor differ a bit from the class reps’. She expressed her wish “to unite the student body” with pep rallies and a possible lock-in at the beginning of the year. Moreover, she wants to address the issue of mental health at Milton. She’s not sure exactly how much influence she has over the health of students but “it’s definitely something [she] wants to bring up.” Tyler Piazza (II) expresses a few of his goals for the 2017-2016 school year. He would like to reconsider Milton’s approach to campaigning and voting in SGA elections and institute a junior-freshman buddy system.
Also of note is that the SGA’s constitution changed this year. In order to include candidates who do not identify according to the gender binary, it removed gender requirements for all positions, except boarding and day monitors. And this change certainly impacted the elections. Voters were not restricted by the genders of candidates, leading both the sophomore and junior classes to elect two boys as class reps.
The reactions to the constitutional amendment appear to be positive. Jack stated that “it takes away the aspect of defining the candidates into two groups and allows the reps to be two people of any gender who the people like the most.” Semi said that she “thinks that it had really good intentions” but hopes “it doesn’t leave girls feeling unrepresented.”
It is true that of the eight positions for which gender was not regulated, six boys and two girls were elected. While some students predicted a gender imbalance in SGA, the large disparity between the two numbers still shocked many. Although he hopes SGA will be diverse in the future, Tyler says that “a possible consequence” of the new non-gender specific elections “is that people who do not identify as male may feel discouraged to run at all, and this fear may limit groups of people from being in the SGA”. The amendment will be revisited in 2018.
While some students question the purpose of the SGA, its new members are adamant about its importance. Tyler puts it simply, saying that the SGA is the “glue of the school” and “strives to make sure that people feel connected..”
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=8074