Next Student Senate President will be elected on Nov. 11

By Farah Bassyouni Nov 11, 2022

It’s time for Illinois Wesleyan University’s Student Senate elections. Earlier this week, on Monday, Nov. 7, the Student Senate Chief of Staff emailed the 2023 Student Senate President and Vice President ballot to students. 

Last year, Presidents and Vice Presidents ran individually, and were assessed on their own. The winners were paired together, even if they had no prior relationship. This year, Presidents and Vice Presidents can choose to endorse each other and highlight their preference to win together. 

The 2023 Presidential Candidates are Zach Burhans and Bryson Connor. 

Burhans, a junior political science and business major, is the current Student Senate Advocacy and Awareness commissioner and a student athlete on campus. In his biography, he wrote about gaining leadership experience from being involved in his community and coaching youths from different backgrounds. 

His goal as President is to change the way IWU interacts as a campus, and return the sense of community that was present before the pandemic took place. He mentioned the importance of encouraging students to get out of their comfort zones and enjoy the whole campus.

“To me, being a Titan is supporting other Titans,” Burhans said. “It is time to step up as Titans and do what is best for the whole, rather than the loud.”

Connor is a junior international studies and Hispanic studies major who has been a senator for two years and held a position on  the Financial Advisory Board (FAB) twice. His involvement on campus includes being a Titan Ambassador, a student assistant for the International and Global Studies department and the co-president of IWU’s Model United Nations. His goal as President is to improve the FAB funding process, and make it more diversity-oriented for cultural RSOs. He also emphasized the importance of mental health on campus. 

“I would focus heavily on bringing our widespread mental health support groups back to campus, increasing bias incident transparency and providing Senate-run town halls for all students on campus to promote their concerns,” Connor said. 

Connor also endorsed Nora Robinson, the only candidate running for Vice President. She is a junior psychology major and a member of the Cross Country team, Track & Field team and the Titan Pep Band. She is a current Student Senator and is the Vice President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. 

Robinson emphasized her love for IWU, but said there’s improvements that need to be made. She brought attention to the distrust between administration and the student body, and stressed Student Senate’s role in communication. She also discussed the importance of RSOs and backs Connor’s concerns with the Financial Advisory Board’s precedents. 

“I fully endorse Bryson Connor for Student Senate President,” she said. “He and I share many of the values and vision for this campus such as allocating more money for RSOs, uplifting diversity and increasing Senate engagement.”

The elected President and Vice President will also have the responsibility of choosing and managing their executive boards, which include commissioners for committees such as the Civic Engagement Committee, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the Advocacy and Awareness Committee and the Sustainability Committee. 

“My hopes for the future Senate administration is that they continue to be great advocates for the student body, keep making Senate an enriching leadership experience for student leaders, and strive to make a more sustainable and equitable campus environment,” J.D Barrett, the current Vice President, said.

Students have until Nov. 11 at 12 p.m. to cast their votes via the link in the email. The biographies of the candidates can be found directly on the form. 

“Hearing their thoughts and plans about the following year has me hopeful and excited. The student body should be stoked,” said Barrett. 

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