Student Association brief: Faculty awarded, new Senate sworn in


2022-23 Students’ Association President Blake Pulse swears in the 2023-24 SA President Nick Grote.

Jacob Boyko, News Editor

The 2022-2023 Students’ Association wrapped up Monday night with an award ceremony honoring important faculty and SA members. 

The Senate awarded faculty in four categories. Douglas Wermedal, associate vice president for student affairs, was awarded the Campus Partner of the Year Award. 

“Dr. Wermedal was awarded Campus Partner of the Year for his inspiration toward generations of Jackrabbits through stories and motivational speaking highlighting the importance of students’ voices at SDSU,” Chief of Staff Hannah Nelson said. “His deep felt connection to students has crafted ideas of limitless potential in all those he interacts with.”

Wermedal will leave SDSU after over two decades this summer to serve as executive director for the Associated School Boards of South Dakota. 

Jose Alverez, an associate professor in the School of American and Global Studies, received the Faculty Adviser of the Year Award. 

“Students describe him as always putting others before himself and displaying great care in students’ personal and professional lives,” Nelson said. “He works with students to obtain their goals through and through with creative ways to create a well-rounded education for all.”

Kayla Gullickson received the Professional Adviser of the Year Award.

“Students enjoy and recognize her ability to quickly craft personal relationships,” Nelson said. “Kayla works hard to ensure student success while keeping the best interest of her students in mind.”

Matilyn Kerr, program adviser for university traditions, received the Student Organization Adviser of the Year Award. 

“Matilyn Kerr was awarded … for her dedication to student leaders’ success and uplifting personality and showcasing care and compassion for students,” Nelson said. “Students know that simply seeing her around the union instantly brightens their day.”

The Senate also presented the Senator of the Year Award and the Ex-Officio of the Year Award. Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Speech and Theatre James L. Johnson, a former SA adviser, spoke about the impact the Senate has on campus and how a previous Senate body made the new Performing Arts Center possible by working to ensure a city sales tax increase passed. 

“I loved every Senate in which I was the adviser,” Johnson said. “Even though I’ve directed 75 major productions on campus, being an adviser (for SA) was my greatest experience in my 30 years here at this university.”

Johnson presented the award to Sen. Hayden Bentz. Bentz is a freshman human biology major serving as a senator-at-large.

Joseph Ulloa, Ex-Officio for the Latin American Students Association, was presented with the Ex-Officio of the Year Award. 

Other business: 

The Students’ Association passed five new pieces of legislation. Commemoration 22-1-C, passed unanimously, honors Wermedal for his service to SDSU. 

Amendment 22-6-A changed the eligibility for serving as president or vice president of the Students’ Association Senate. Sens. Eide, Fitch and Rasmussen abstained from voting. Now in order to be eligible, students must have completed two semesters as a full-time student with SDSU or have served one semester on the Senate. Eide, who ran for SA president this semester, selected a vice presidential candidate who would not be eligible to run under the new rules. 

Resolution 22-30-R asks Facilities and Maintenance to repair street lights on campus. The resolution passed unanimously. 

Commemoration 22-2-C honors graduating seniors on the Senate. The commemoration passed unanimously. Blake Pulse, Anna Shane, Hannah Nelson, Garrett Satterly, Harley Fischer, Rachel Goldsmith, Erika Van Nieuwenhuyse, Madison Fitch, William Kessler, Abhinav Kubal, Caleb Huizenga, Katey Mahan and Betsey Williams will graduate in May.

The Senate also unanimously approved a $1,531.72 special allocation for STATE-A-THON. 

The Senate swore in a new president, vice president, executive team and Senate. 

Nicholas Grote is serving as the 2023-2024 president, with Trinity Peterson as vice president. Grote and Peterson are replacing Blake Pulse and Anna Shane, respectively. Benjamin Connor will serve as chief of staff, replacing Hannah Nelson. Michael Garofalo will serve as government affairs chair, replacing Erika Van Nieuwenhuyse. Bentz will serve as finance chair, replacing Rachel Goldsmith. Hannah Dayaget will serve as communications chair, replacing Garrett Satterly. Asledi Castillo will take over as diversity chair, replacing Harley Fischer. 

The Collegian staff thanks every senator for their work this year and wishes the 2023-2024 Senate the best of luck.