The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

SGA to hold elections April 3-5

UVM SGA elections will be held between April 3-5.

Editor’s note: This story was updated on April 4 at 2:58 p.m. to correct the spelling of Teferra’s last name.

SGA elections for vice president and president will be held between April 3-5, according to a March 22 email from senior Addie Robinson, SGA’s elections committee chair.

The candidates for SGA president for the 2024-2025 school year are junior Mahder Teferra and junior Matt Sorensen, and the candidate for SGA vice president is sophomore Liv Bednarik. In addition to submitting their candidate platforms, the candidates met for a presidential debate held in the Davis Center on March 28.

Mahder Teferra

Teferra is studying agroecology and landscape design and has been the chair of the Committee on the Environment on SGA for the past two years, she stated in her campaign platform.

Teferra said on the UVM elections page that her main objectives for the position are to strengthen the relationship between SGA and the student body, continue efforts to increase the student activity fee for clubs and work to get a thrift store on campus.

When asked why she feels the role of SGA president would be right for her, Teferra said from her first week of school at UVM, she’s wanted to get involved and jump into activities on campus. 

On the question of what she would uniquely bring to the role, Teferra said she has made an effort since her first year to meet as many people as she can.

“I feel like that’s allowed me to be really connected to the student body, to the point where, if I were president, I think a lot more people would be comfortable coming up to the SGA office and asking questions.”

Teferra said getting an on-campus job and working for Campus Recreation and athletics has opened paths for her, as well as her time on the hall council of MAT.

Teferra said in her platform that she’s running because she loves UVM but thinks there’s work to be done.

She said she wants to strengthen the relationship between SGA and the student body, to increase resources available to students and clubs and to advocate for the student voice, especially those in marginalized communities.

When asked after the debate the first thing she’d want to get done if elected, Teferra said she’s been working with the office of sustainability to get a thrift store set up on campus.

Matt Sorensen

Sorensen is studying political science with a double minor in business administration and community and international development. Sorensen joined SGA his first year, and has since chaired the SGA Finance Committee and spent a year and a half as the SGA Treasurer, he stated in his campaign platform.

“As president, I will be a voice for every person on campus,” Sorensen stated in his platform. “I have seen in my experience working with student groups on campus how important it is to include student voices in decision making.”

Sorensen said during the debate that his experience in SGA has prepared him and that the role is a bridge between SGA, the student body and administration.

“In my role so far, I’ve had the privilege to be on two board of trustees committees, I’ve built relationships with the board of trustees’s members, I’ve also been in conversations with administration […] and I’ve built relationships there so on day one I’ll be ready to start representing students.”

Sorensen said in his platform that he wants to include student voices in University decision-making and bring student groups and UVM institutions together.

After the debate, when asked if he has a first thing he’d like to get done if elected, Sorensen said he’s actively working on getting more financial support for SGA and student organizations.

“SGA’s ability to fund clubs is going down,” Sorensen said “I think that the perception on campus is that that’s because SGA’s holding back or doesn’t want to fully fund things, but the reality is the University isn’t giving us resources to properly fund the amount of clubs we have on campus.”

“I’ve done the advocacy, [including] writing resolutions for Staff United, and I’ve also worked the club side, so being able to bring two things together is something that none of the other candidates can say,” Sorensen said.

Liv Bednarik

As for the position of vice president, sophomore Liv Bednarik is running unopposed.

Bednarik is double majoring in political science and sociology and has been serving as a student representative on SGA since her fall semester of her first year, she stated in her campaign platform.

“Within this past year alone, some of my projects have included successfully leading and organizing the ad hoc for Fall ’23 Week of Kindness, passing a resolution signed by students supporting UVM Staff United and implementing an anti-bias preamble in course evaluations to mitigate bias that affects BIPOC and women faculty,” Bednarik said.

When asked in the debate three things she wants to accomplish in the role, Bednarik said she wants more discussion around living conditions on campus and wants to see a more honest and accountable ResLife.

Bednarik said she has brought up discussions with student health services about holistic approaches to mental health.

“My last thing I would love to see is garnering more community support and school spirit,” Bednarik said. “I know that UVM is not the most school spirited place for a multitude of reasons, but I think that school spirit is where people meet, people talk and activism and change happens.”

On Bednarik’s candidate platform, she said she’s running for vice president because she’s confident in her ability to hold real and honest conversations with administration in the places where there are lapses in intermediary communication. Furthermore, Bednarik says she wants more chairs at the table for everyone when the University makes decisions that affect the student body.

When asked after the debate the first thing she hopes to accomplish in office, Bednarik said she would want to look at tiered housing prices, and that she finds it upsetting that students will have to have conversations with parents on affordability for the dorms they want to live in with their friends.

In regard to what she would uniquely bring to the position, Bednarik said “I think something I bring uniquely is that I’m mixed and I’m a female, [which has] shaped my experience on campus here being at a predominantly white institution. I think that brings an unique factor into my experience and into this role.”

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