Former Student Association parliamentarian Abby Smith won SA speaker for the upcoming year, 12-14 on April 6.
SA President-Elect Thomas Metiva said previous Speaker Ryan Silvestri stepped down from the position due to his upcoming graduation. During the Zoom meeting, Smith and Executive Assistant Austin Teeple both ran for the speaker position.
Interim proceeding office Hunter Koch and Interim Executive Assistant Sierra Szagesh led the election.
“The Parliamentarian from the last association is supposed to preside over the Speaker election meeting and the Executive Assistant … is supposed to take the meeting minutes,” Metiva said. “Because both Abby Smith and Austin Teeple held these positions … and because they both ran for the Speaker position, two other individuals needed to be elected to act as the interims.”
Smith said they were very grateful to be elected to the position.
“Overall, SA has been a huge part of my SVSU experience and has truly shaped the way I am,” they said. “I am very excited to be able to help guide other student leaders. This is a life-changing position in more way than one, and I feel blessed that I was chosen.”
Smith said their biggest goals were to improve recruitment and build SA numbers, as well as promote voting in the 2020 presidential election.
Smith’s previous position as Parliamentarian was a leading factor in their decision to run for Speaker, they said.
“I knew I wanted to remain on leadership next year, and realistically, there were a lot of positions that I probably would’ve been a good fit for,” Smith said. “However, what it came down to was that I have changes and plans that I know can help this Association. I knew that if I wanted to be the one making changes, I had to be in a position that allows me freedom and control.”
Teeple said he was disappointed and saddened to hear that the other representatives weren’t as welcoming toward his ideas and goals.
“I expected them to ask more questions so I could explain more,” Teeple said. “It’s a little heartbreaking, honestly, hearing what some representatives believe about me. I thought I could have done some great things in the position, but, ultimately, it’s a bit of a relief.”
He said he was not sure how Smith would do in the position of Speaker.
“I’m curious to see how they do next year,” he said. “It was an incredibly eye-opening experience.”
President-Elect Metiva said he was ecstatic to work with Smith in the coming year.
“They are a phenomenal student, and given their presentation tonight, as well as many of their goals they want to achieve, I am very excited to work with them throughout this new year,” he said.
He said Smith has many great attributes to bring to the position that will make them successful.