Responsible, faithful and amiable
On Friday Sept. 1, student government hosted the third annual freshman senator debate in Jerome Hall. Many candidates came to earn the respect and favor of their peers and establish what issues matter the most to the freshman class.
The audience expressed great enthusiasm during the event and responded well to what the candidates had to say, according to Katherine Nagy, freshman and undecided major.
The positive reception to the candidates extended beyond the freshman class alone.
“[The freshman class] is much more eager to be involved with school,” said Joshua Bell, sophomore business major and Resident Assistant for Jerome Hall. “Honestly, I more than anything love to see people working together, and I really think it’s needed in society to be able to communicate with each other, to be able to interact with each other.”
“I was really impressed with this year’s candidates,” said Luke Posegate, president of student government and senior economics major. “They all seemed to be really accomplished in what they had done up to this point through their high school careers and they were very excited to take on more leadership and really take ownership in this community.”
Posegate spoke of the value previous classes gained from the freshman debates, particularly the first one held by the class of 2025 in 2021.
“Many of the people who participated in that debate ended up getting elected as freshmen senators and really got to know a lot more of their peers from that,” he said.
Founding members of the first freshman debate include the executive council’s vice president and secretary, Porter Schmidt and Peter Key.
Even those who did not get elected as freshman senators this year gained the respect of the audience at the debates.
Theresa Maska, freshman senator and psychology major, said, “I think all of them really believe in the UD mission and want to serve their community.”
The freshman class is most concerned about issues with the quality of life in their dorms, particularly the quality of the bathrooms in all freshman halls. Past freshman classes have had this same concern. “Bathrooms first and foremost,” said Nagy.
The class of 2027 also has a number of smaller issues on their agenda.
“I have heard small things such as [getting] sweet tea in the cafeteria, and then it would appear that the bells in the tower are about three minutes off, so I’ve heard that the freshman class would like to get those back to the times they are actually sup- posed to be,” said Xavier Piper, freshman senator and business major.
There appears to be hope for the future freshman classes to get their concerns addressed. “President Sanford has some ideas about what’s gonna happen to the freshman dorms in the next five or ten years,” said Posegate.
Of the 10 freshman senatorial candidates, the five who were elected are Maggie Sonne, English major, Joe Teson, philosophy major, Mila Miloche, biology major, Maska and Piper.
Piper’s experience piloting a wide range of aircraft and leading his middle school and high school student governments impressed his audience and earned him the position of freshman senator.
“I have nine years of student government experience, including middle school where I served as president of my school and high school where I served in the same capacity,” said Piper.
“He’s very involved and he showed that he can get things done,” said Maska.
Maska solidified her position among her fellow senators as a pro-life, practical and compassionate young senator with extensive leadership experience in various clubs.
Melache’s senatorial platform emphasized the need to improve bathrooms, a common concern with her fellow senators, and her love for engaging with the UD community.
“I love UD for what it is and for the people it contains, so let me promise you I’ll turn your dreams for campus into reality. Whether this means improving freshmen dorm bathrooms or organizing your ideas into campus events, I’m here for it,” she said in her platform sent out by Dr. Gregory Roper, dean of students.
Sonne’s leadership experience is extensive and includes a role many UD students with large families can relate to. “My leadership roles have included high school class representative, yearbook editor, head counselor, and eldest sibling – eighteen years of experience advocating for the common good,” she said in her platform.
Teson ran a campaign centered around his slogan, “A Man for the Average Joe” plastered on the walls of Braniff. “I’m dedicated to getting my hands dirty with the bureaucracy so you don’t have to!” said Teson.
The class of 2027 looks to the future with their newly elected leaders and their practical agenda.
Piper said: “I’m really hoping here we can turn what the freshman class says into actual action and change at the University of Dallas.”