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Feven Getachew
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Iordache and Ihrie elected

Photo by Joanna Silverman

Executive elections for the 2014-2015 academic year were completed last Saturday after voters in a runoff election chose Iulia Iordache ’15 and Gwenna Ihrie ’15 as Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA) and Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA), respectively.

Iordache and Ihrie have plans to address topics such as campus diversity, student wellness, green initiatives and course restructuring projects.

Photo by Joanna Silverman
Photo by Joanna Silverman



As VPSA, Iordache said her first project will be focused on the emotional wellness of the student body.

“I’m looking forward to … working on the hook-up perception on campus, [understanding] the way we interact with other people and [how we can] get our emotional wellness in place,” Iordache said.

Iordache said she plans to work closely with Wellness Director Jen Jacobsen ’95 on understanding why Grinnellians hold a perception of a “hook-up culture” on campus, and how they can move to address that. Her plan includes bringing more speakers to campus to talk about relationships.

“I think [it’s important to] have speakers and learn about what it means to be part of a generation where we are more weirded out by having relationships than hookups,” Iordache said. She said she hopes that these speakers can talk “more about the Generation Y that we’re a part of.”

To make her transition smoother, Iordache has already begun working with the current SGA Cabinet, especially on the on-campus diversity efforts being spearheaded by current VPSA and President-elect Opeyemi Awe ’15.

“[On Tuesday] we had our diversity Town Hall meeting,” Iordache said. “I’m really looking forward to working on that aspect and seeing where the College is going with our diversity policies … I think it’s important to know why we want to be diverse in the first place. I think people should learn more from each other and see what we are doing right.”

Iordache serves on the Multicultural Leadership Council and said she plans to initiate projects to make the Council more present on campus.

Iordache’s other projects include improving the options offered in the Dining Hall and bringing in more alumni collaboration with the College through improvement in alumni-student relations.



The biggest priority of VPAA-elect Ihrie is the restructuring of tutorial courses. The administration is currently in talks to expand the tutorial program with more time during New Student Orientation to better facilitate first-year relationships with their professors and fellow classmates.

Ihrie said she agrees with these talks and plans to initiate projects to further utilize the tutorial class.

“When I prospied here, I had dinner with a third-year who was still eating with her tutorial group,” Ihrie said. “I feel like that bond has gone away from a tutorial group.”

One way Ihrie wants to refocus on tutorial is to propose the idea of academic resource education into the classroom agenda. While all tutorials are required to provide an overview of academic resources that students have access to, some professors are more thorough than others.

“I don’t think we’re aware of how much we can use these resources,” Ihrie said, referring to the math lab, writing lab, reading lab, tutor programs and Academic Advising.

Like Iordache, Ihrie will be continuing the projects of the current cabinet, such as VPAA Remy Ferber ’14’s efforts to improve the last week of classes—colloquially dubbed as “Hell Week”—and finals week for students.

Ihrie said she hopes to speak with the administration to distribute finals more evenly, so that students will not be caught with two finals on one day. She also plans to promote the school’s green initiative by encouraging professors to allow students to submit papers online or to use P-Web more efficiently.


Voter Turnout

Executive elections received some extra attention this year, as a constitutional amendment moved the date of the election earlier in the year to coincide with voting for Student Initiatives.

“This was done on purpose because StiFund requires 50 percent of the student body for any of [the proposals] to pass,” said Election Board Chair Emma Lange ’16. “We always need a high turnout for that and we always want a high turnout for any election, particularly for executives, since they’re pretty powerful people. We did that knowing both … would help each other out.”

This year 865 students participated in the first round of executive election voting, compared to 602 last year.

Runoff voter turnout rates for VPSA and VPAA this year were notably lower than the voter turnout rates for the initial executive elections. The initial executive elections had a participation rate of 52.75 percent of the student body, while the runoff votes had a participation rate of 25.6 percent.

Lange is not surprised by this voter turnout rate. She noted that the runoff votes were only given a 24-hour time period, while the initial executive votes and STIFund votes were given about a 36-hour time period. Many students also tire of voting after the first round.

“There’s a lot of apathy from voters, saying that they had voted already, or didn’t want to vote still,” Lange said. “That explains a lot of the drop-off between the initial and the runoff.”


Cabinet Cohesion

As they begin their terms as executives, Iordache, Ihrie and Awe will be spending a lot of time together hiring a new cabinet and getting started on their projects. All three expressed excitement to work with their new colleagues.

“I’m really looking forward to working with Iulia and Gwenna,” Awe said. “We’ve just had one meeting [so far]. It’s nice to work with people who I just feel like are going to be very effective. It’s good to know that I’m very well-supported already.”

Ihrie said that their varying personalities will strengthen their working relationship.

“On personal levels, I think our personalities will flow pretty well,” she said. “I’m probably going to be the [quietest] of the three of us, it’s just my personality, but I think that’s a good dynamic.”

Hiring for new cabinet positions will be decided soon; the new Administrative Coordinator will be in place by this Sunday, and the rest of the cabinet will be selected by March 14.

“[We are looking for] people who are proactive, who are driven and who are visionaries who are looking for ways to step their game up,” Awe said. “It’s not a popularity contest, but personality is a huge part of success. [Cabinet applicants need to have] a willingness to work in a group and a willingness to learn from one another.”

The entire SGA Cabinet will have an opportunity to get to know each other on their yearly retreat, which is always held a week prior to the first week of classes. Last year’s cabinet went to Lake Panorama in a bonding experience that strengthened the cabinet’s relationship.

Iordache, Ihrie and Awe also urged students to voice any concerns they may have.

“We are very fortunate to have such a large say in what our education looks like in Grinnell,” Ihrie said.

Students can contact the VPAA at [vpaa1], the VPSA at [vpsa] and the president at [sgaprez].

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