By Carolina Lumetta, News Reporter
On Thursday, Sept. 12, the freshman class elected Amelia Miller and Elijah Owens to represent them as council co-presidents in Wheaton’s Student Government (SG) by a ranked vote.
In an email interview with the Record, SG Vice President Nat Lewis explained, “Instead of allowing voters to select a singular choice for their favored ticket or candidate, voters rank all of the tickets in order of preference. In the absence of a clear majority winner, processes are taken to eliminate the least preferred candidates until a clear winner emerges.”
In their speech on Sept. 10, Miller and Owens, who are both from Minnesota, elaborated on their leadership philosophy.
“Firstly, we believe that leaders should listen. We want to create a community on campus where we are actively listening to what the entire freshman class has to say,” Owens said. “Also, we believe that leaders are servants. We want to take the time and energy that is necessary to gain your ideas and get them accomplished.”
Miller added, “We want to be advocates. Our job isn’t to go to Student Government with our own opinions. We want to listen to what you think, want and believe, and [we want to] convey that faithfully to the student government and to the administration of Wheaton.”
Miller and Owens’ platform focuses on creating discussion spaces for all students and organizing inter-class events for greater unity within the student body. While gleaning ideas from the student body, they are also beginning to speak with the administration about their initiatives.
“We want to promote a culture of health here at Wheaton. The past few weeks of class have been fun, but I can tell that they’ve had a toll on all of us. I mean, the chapel cough is real,” Miller said. “In order to promote mental, spiritual and physical health, we’d love to bring to the attention of the administrators the idea that we wouldn’t have tests or large projects due on Mondays. This would promote the Sabbath by ensuring that you have less studying and homework to do on Sundays. You can focus on spending that day with God and with other people.”
Although some professors apply this policy, it is not standard for all classes.
“We really want to preserve the Sabbath as a day of rest,” Owens said. “Students might forget what they studied on Saturday by the time Monday comes around when their test is due. Also, I know personally that I just feel better if I study the night before, sleep on it and then review quickly right before the test.”
“We want to be working with the faculty [rather than] something that the Student Government imposes on the faculty,” Miller said. “We want it to be a resolution where we’re in discussion, where we explain why this is valuable to us as students and why this represents the values of Wheaton. Then in the end we can come to an agreement on a piece of legislation or a resolution that works for both sides.”
These ideas appealed to the freshman class. Although the Class of 2023 has only been on campus for about a month, they felt that Owens and Miller were the students with enough experience and commitment to represent them.
“If there’s anyone on campus that I would trust to get something done, it would be Amelia,” freshman Shea Wynn said.
Another freshman, Natalie Nichols, also voted for Owens and Miller because “[they] have a really cool friendship and partnership, which was something that I wanted to see in my class co-presidents,” Nichols said. “I know that they’re a team. They’re in it together, and they play off of one another’s ideas.”
Detailed statistics on Owen and Miller’s victory have not yet been released.