Students at The University of South Dakota elected a new Student Government Association (SGA) president and vice president. Collin T. Michels of Yankton is the new SGA president and his running mate, Nick Weinandt also of Yankton will serve as SGA vice president following the results of a very close election where the winners were separated by just 45 votes.
Michels, a sophomore and former SGA senator, defeated Aaron Oestmann, a junior from Rapid City, and his running mate, Kelly Wismer, a junior from Britton, in an election where more than 1,000 students cast a vote. Michels-Weinandt received 570 votes out of the 1,095 cast (52 percent) while Oestmann-Wismer collected 525 total votes (48 percent). Michels credits grassroots campaigning as a deciding factor in the vote totals.
�What resonated most was talking face-to-face with the hundreds or thousands of students we spoke with,� said Michels, a Spanish and biology double major who served as SGA senator for the College of Arts and Sciences last year. �Our campus is full of intelligent, engaged students who care about the issues and the prospect of working on their behalf is incredibly exciting.�
Providing a voice for USD students and working with student organizations as SGA senator also seemed to connect with voters. According to Michels, he and his running mate will be strong student advocates for student issues and campus improvements.
�The way to go about a unifying voice will be to have clear and singular leadership from SGA as a whole,� added Michels, who will be sworn in at the next SGA meeting this month. �Many senators have experience in Pierre and with the Board of Regents who will be able to share their experiences with the student body.�
Michels and Weinandt, a physics and math double major, replace current SGA President Tim Carr and SGA Vice President Laura Hofer. They will serve for one-term overseeing SGA Sens. Erin Rasmussen (College Fine Arts), Ryan Blake (College of Arts and Sciences), Garrett DeVries (Arts and Sciences), Stephen Bollinger (Arts and Sciences), DJ Smith (Arts and Sciences), Becca Linneweber (Arts and Sciences), Annie Miller (Arts and Sciences), Brandon Reynolds (Arts and Sciences), Lexy Schuman (Arts and Sciences), Tamara Reisch (Arts and Sciences), Andrew Finzen (Arts and Sciences), Alissa Thomsen (School of Business), Zachary Nipp (Business) and Harrison Kibomo (School of Education).