The Student Government Association named the new leaders for the 2022-2023 school year. After a week of campaigning, Logan Albert, SGA election commissioner, presented the results outside the University Center Friday.
Having received 54.33% of votes, Atlantica Smith and Ansley Ecker of the Empower Party won presidential and vice presidential seats, respectively. This year’s election had the highest voter turnout of the past three years with 1,443 students placing ballots. Smith and Ecker attribute voter turnout to their work during campaign week.
“There was so much blood, sweat, and tears that went into this campaign,” Smith said.
“No matter what the results were, we just wanted students to have their voices heard and to vote," Ecker added.
The two explained the late nights, long walks across campus, visits to classes and other registered student organizations to push and inform students about SGA and the importance of voting. Their desire was to get “more raw and real with students and allowing them to know more about the entire process that comes with SGA.”
Smith reflected on her win by saying, “I can’t believe it, but I can because if the amount of work me and my team put in each and every day.”
Though the campaigning process of the Empower Party was successful in increasing voter turnout, outgoing SGA President, Matthew White spent much of his year focused on student outreach and involvement.
“I wanted to make sure students knew what SGA was,” White said. “We had a much better presence on campus than we did in previous years.”
Between the two years, voter turnout increased by 400 to 500 voters according to White.
This year’s elections were special because University of Memphis history was made when Smith and Ecker ran for president and vice president under the same party. Two women have never run on the same ticket, yet alone won. Their party focused on unity and inclusion.
“Being the first two women to run in this role and now find out we were elected — it’s one of those things where we can inspire people no matter their gender identity to be able to do whatever they want,” vice president elect Ecker said.
Among the president and vice president positions, several senate seats were filled by the Empower Party. Many are reelected senators like Cameron Donlin, Cade Forbes and Cameron Toone.
The Student Government Association has senate seats for each college. Ten colleges are represented by senators for the coming school year. Only students in a specific college can vote for their representative.
This election year, a senate run-off will take place due to a tie between Ta’Lik Taylor and Farraday Johnson. Taylor and Johnson ran for the Herff College of Engineering senate seat. The run-off dates will be announced in the coming weeks. Each candidate received 74 votes, bringing a total of 156 votes from the engineering college.
The complete list of election results, including senators at-large, college senators and the executive positions is posted on the SGA webpage.
Members of the Empower Party outside of UC on Friday. Atlantica Smith and Ansley Ecker (front) were elected as the first female president and vice president duo in SGA history.