The Vote Is In: A Look at Student Senate’s New President

Retrieved from

April Wolford, Student Government Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story


UWL’s Student Senate elections took place last week with a total of 1,233 students who voted. The election was met with a 13% voter turnout rate which is up from last year’s 6% turnout rate.

Results show Ben O’Connell winning the presidential election with 591 votes – just over 49% of the total votes. His running mate, Haley Jurecki, won the vice president seat with 988 votes.

The O’Connell/Jurecki platform included the following foundational goals: continuing Senate’s work with State Representatives to create violence prevention resources for the UW System, fixing the cell phone service issue in the U, and promoting sustainability at UWL by eliminating plastic straws in the U.

O’Connell stated that he is excited to begin some of the initiatives he mentioned in his campaign including those mentioned above. In reference to his promotion of sustainability at UWL, O’Connell stated, “we’ll be appointing a Sustainability Director to our Cabinet soon.” He also said that he will be working to fix the cell phone service issue in the next few months.

He also explained that he plans to continue moving forward with some of the inclusivity initiatives which Student Senate has created, including the non-major specific scholarship for women of color which was initiated by President Schimmel.

He mentioned the State Legislation as well – expressing that he will be working with his State Affairs Director to prepare for various issues which may arise in Legislature “so that everyone here at UWL is ready for whatever the state legislature decides to throw at us next session.” Some of these issues include allocable segregated fees and shared governance.

In the election, all of those who ran for the College of Business Administration, College of Science and Health, School of Arts and Communication, and School of Education seats won their respective Student Senate seats. In the College of Liberal Studies, Stephanie Boebel, Dana Nielsen, Gunnar Hortsman, and Bennett Thering won the four Student Senate seats.

This election also included two referendums – the first, to approve the motion to add a Student Senate seat for the human diversity organization ALANA, which Student Senate voted to pass earlier this semester. This referendum passed with an 84% approval.

The second referendum was a nonbinding measure which was used to determine the student body’s attitude towards transforming the Health Center’s physical therapy department from being funded through segregated fees to be partnered with one of the local hospitals. This would mean that future visits to the physical therapy department would have to be covered under the student’s personal insurance plan. This referendum also passed.

O’Connell and Jurecki will be sworn in on May 2 along with the other individuals who were elected. O’Connell expressed his gratitude and well wishes for current President Schimmel, as well as Vice President Alfonso Gunaratnam, and former VPs Lauren Mason and Pat Brever. He explained, “they all exemplify what government for the people should be.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email