Student profile: Zhitomi’s time in SGA

Essence BoydCopy Editor

For a second year in the row, Alexis Zhitomi has been elected Student Government Association president after running against representativesat-large Benson Rodrigues and Isaiah Yopp.

The three candidates were given the opportunity to express to the SGA council why they each felt they were best suited for the job as SGA president for the 2019- 2020 academic school year.

During her speech, Zhitomi said she felt she has yet to prove what she can do for the organization, students and the university.

“I am running for president because I believe I’m not done yet,” said Zhitomi. “I don’t think I’m done serving SGA and advocating for our student body.”

According to Zhitomi, although her competition focused on the difference between experience and good leadership, she felt as though her experience is what separated her from the other candidates.

“I have been part of SGA for three years. I have poured my heart and soul into the organization, and I have honestly tried to be the best leader I can be,” said Zhitomi. “I have learned what to do and what not to do, and I feel like if you elect me as president, I’ll be able to hit the ground running.”

After candidates stated their cases and the votes were tallied, Zhitomi was named SGA president of the 2019-2020 academic school year.

“SGA in a whole, just being able to lead that group is a great honor, but also just kind of my perfect dream because I am surrounded by student leaders that also have the same mission of advocating,” said Zhitomi.

Unlike Zhitomi, during his speech Rodrigues proposed the notion of the board becoming democratic again, thus giving every representative who wants to be on the executive board a fair chance to do so.

“During my time in SGA I noticed there were a lot of problems that weren’t necessarily working. People were being appointed to positions based on their time served in student government rather than their merit of the position,” said Rodrigues, a sophomore physics and secondary education major.

According to Yopp, he would have liked to make SGA more transparent and geared toward the needs of students if he were elected president.

“I really feel connected to the student body no matter what size, shape or color, and I want SGA to be about that, but I also want it to be about transparency, honesty and to really focus on student need,” said Yopp.

Currently, the person whom is president appoints five representatives into the e-board based on his or her observations of the councils displayed abilities. As president, Zhitomi said, for the future of SGA, she would like to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard.

“My hope is that we bring more voices in, different voices from different clubs and organizations as well, and hearing what our reps have to say and what their personal agenda was in SGA because what I want to achieve in SGA is going to be different in what a rep wants to achieve,” said Zhitomi.

According to Zhitomi, the biggest lesson she has learned in her past year as president is “that you cannot do it all on your own.”

“I am very much an individual and hardworking person, and that sometimes it is hard for me to reach out for help because I feel like I need to do everything, and it’s impossible to do everything. I had to learn had to trust and rely on people around you,” said Zhitomi. “I can do great things, but I can’t do it alone.”

As president, one of Zhitomi’s duties is appointing an executive board that will serve with her during her time in the position next academic year. While appointing the board, Alexis said one of the things she was looking for was commitment.

“As student leaders we also are involved in multiple other things, so just being able to set aside SGA time and commit. Commitment is a big thing, we don’t want them to overwhelm themselves,” said Zhitomi. “Everyone is different, I’m not looking for six others of me.”

Although Rodrigues and Yopp were not appointed president, both representatives made it clear that they were not planning on leaving SGA.

“I will continue to stay part of Student Government Association to make this organization the best it can be,” said Rodrigues.

Photo Credit: Essence Boyd

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