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Julia Qian, BC ’15, was elected president of Barnard’s Student Government Association on Monday.

Barnard students elected Julia Qian, BC '15, president of their Student Government Association, in an election that saw a lower absolute and relative voter turnout compared to last year, despite the recent decision to allow seniors to vote.

Qian, who currently serves on SGA as representative for diversity, beat out Hannah Rosenwein, BC '15 and junior class president, and Claudia Flores, BC '15 and representative for campus policy.

Qian said that she is thankful to everyone who voted for her, and said that being president is especially meaningful for her as an international student who was born and raised in China. She noted that even before the year is up, she wants to get to work connecting with students.

“I want to keep in touch with everyone I have talked to, when I was knocking on doors,” Qian said. “I had a lot of feedback on SGA and students' experiences that had been really helpful for me to form an idea of what I want to do next year.”

Qian said during the campaign that she wanted to increase communication with Barnard administrators and strive for a more inclusive campus community.

“Who are we as leaders if we don't know the people we are serving? I want to make myself very approachable, very accessible. I'm just here for people,” Qian said.

In this year's election, 832 students voted, placing voter turnout at 34.3 percent, while last year's voter turnout of 876 students brought participation to 47.7 percent.

Joining Qian on the executive board are vice president-elect Sarah Shuster, BC '15, vice president-elect for campus life Shivani Vikuntam, BC '16, vice president-elect of finance Pascale Dugue, BC '16, and re-elected vice president for communications, Emily Klein, BC '15.

In the race for the University Senate seat, Erin Byrk, BC '17, was elected over Abigail Kim, BC '16.

All three proposed amendments to the SGA constitution were also passed by students.

If a position within SGA's executive board becomes vacant, the executive board will now make suggestions to the representative council for replacements, which then need to be approved by a two-thirds majority instead of being recommended by the appointments committee before the vote.

As a result of the changes, the vice president for policy will no longer co-chair the Sustainability Initiatives Consulting Board with a member of EcoReps, and a new representative for campus sustainability will be appointed to the council. 

The representative for diversity will be renamed the representative for inclusion and equity, and work to “promote open discussion, foster community dialogues, support and develop policies, programs, and practices that engage the community in building an inclusive campus climate,” according to the SGA release. 

The representative for student interests has become the representative for transfer, international, and commuter interests. The position will no longer focus on liaising with athletics, but will instead work with the New Student Orientation Program organizers to insure that the needs of groups mentioned in the title are met during NSOP.  |  @ColumbiaSpec

Student Government Association SGA council elections Barnard College
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