Sophomore fills vacant student government position: Special election held in time for annual training

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Kathleen McFadden

After an unexpected resignation by Student Government’s Class of 2018 representative last week, a new sophomore has stepped in to fill the position. Christopher Felix ‘18 was elected to Student Government in a special election and was ushered into his first week at the organization’s annual training on Sunday.

Former representative of the 2018 class, Aliénor d’Arenberg ‘18 is the sixth person to step down from Student Government in the past academic year. She resigned from her position on Feb.1 in order to focus on other obligations during the semester.  

A special election was announced via email to fill d’Arenberg’s spot that same day. Candidates were announced on Feb. 3 and polls closed by Feb. 5.  The reason for the quick turnaround was so that the new elected official could attend the Sunday training, according to Lafayette College Student Government President L’Eunice Faust ‘16.

Felix, who did not have any prior experience with Student Government, said he was encouraged by his mother to run for the 2018 student representative position, after some uncertainty.

“I never ran for [student government] before in high school or middle school, and not because the fear of not winning,” Felix said. “I just didn’t think I could affect change in high school or middle school.”

But when special elections presented the opportunity to affect change, he decided to run.

Felix said he hopes to serve as a liaison between Student Government and other students on campus, especially student clubs and club sports teams. He will serve on both the Budget Committee and the Student Organizations Committee.

Felix won the election with 37 percent of the votes. The remaining three candidates each acquired 17 percent of the votes, with 13 percent of votes abstaining, according to Lafayette College Student Government Chair of Representation Bilal Akbar ‘18. There was a 16 percent turnout for voting in this election.

While Felix is replacing d’Arenberg’s role as class representative, he did not run for Chair of Student Organizations, which was also left vacant after d’Arenberg resigned from Student Government.  

“I would have loved to run for the position but I wasn’t in student government enough to put myself in that position,” Felix said, adding that he wanted to see a first-year student in the role.

“When I was a first year, it wasn’t hard to get involved but it was hard to get a leadership role on campus,” Felix said.

A first-year did end up filling the role, getting elected on Monday, after serving on Student Government as a class representative for two weeks.

Connor Burwell ‘19 was appointed to Chair of Student Organizations after a closed Student Government vote. The vote was supposed to take place during the Sunday training, but according to Faust, it was pushed back because training was running too long.

Burwell said that after being acclimated to student government during training this past weekend it felt right to run for position as Chair of Student Organizations.

“I felt confident that I could do [the position] justice,” Burwell said.

Burwell is already thinking about a few projects for the committee, including working with the Advisor to Student Government Dean of Students Paul McLoughlin II, familiarizing students with LafSync, and continuing a plan from d’Arenberg about redesigning the way food is served at brown bag lunches.