Senior finance major Jared Chandler won the election for Student Association (SA) president for 2023-2024, receiving 62.8% of the 1,152 votes. Zach Kirstein, Chandler’s opponent, received the remaining 428 votes. Dain Ochoa, junior allied health major, won the election for SA executive vice president. Ochoa received 51.5% of votes, securing his position by 34 votes. Ochoa ran against David Lazcano, who received the remaining 48.5% of votes. Lauren Fenwick, junior business-public relations major, won the SA election for social vice president. Fenwick ran unopposed and received 93% of the votes.
According to the Southern Accent’s coverage of last year’s election, general election voter turnout was the lowest it had been since 2013, with a total of 563 votes. This year, voter participation more than doubled with 1,152 votes.
In an interview with the Accent, Chandler said he wanted to run for SA president because of the impact he can have on students. Chandler’s plan for next year is modeled off of Jesus’ early education in the book of Matthew. He hopes to focus on physical, mental, spiritual and social aspects of student life.
“… I want to help Southern become a more spiritual place so that revivals can happen on our campus,” Chandler said. “Not necessarily in a way where we have just singing for weeks at a time and stuff like that, but true revival when people come to God, to repentance and turning to God. That’s something that I really want to do on campus as president, to help be a leadership figure, to help point the students in that direction.”
Chandler has goals such as organizing a Tedx Talk on campus, emergency towers on campus and a charity basketball game between Southern Adventist University’s A-league basketball players and Oakwood University.
“I’m really grateful to have this opportunity, and I’m honored to represent the students this coming semester, to be their voice,” Chandler said.
Ochoa said he is looking forward to initiating more interactive events with SA Senate next year. He plans to open a pancake bar during finals week and hopes to create an environment where students can “chill” and rest.
When asked what inspired him to run for SA, Ochoa said:
“Last year I was an SM [student missionary], right. And when you’re a SM, and actually in general, the biggest thing is service. Since I was young, my mom always instilled in me service, like, wherever you go, just serve people. … This isn’t just something that’s gonna go on my resume. This is something that I can actually use to help the student body with whatever needs they have. I want to serve the student body. That’s why I decided to run.”
Ochoa’s three main goals for the upcoming school year are safety, spiritual/mental health and making some improvements at the Hulsey Wellness Center.
In an interview with the Accent, Fenwick said she was drawn to the position of social vice president because she has a passion for helping people connect. She said she loves event planning and wants to create events where people can make friends.
“I want to say that I’m super excited. Thank you for electing me,” she said, addressing the student body in the interview. “Also, I’m very open to any ideas, so anybody can find my email, and just email me if you have something that you want to do. … I would love to hear other people’s input.”
Fenwick expressed excitement about the plans she is forming for SA events next year, one of which is a country-themed party. Fenwick said she wants to expand the theme to bring in elements from the surrounding area and embrace Southern’s location.