By Josie McCauley

On Oct. 31, the Colorado College Student Government Association announced results for the elections of two new positions. Saluja Siwakoti ’21 was elected as the new Vice President of Student Life, replacing Fran Grandonico ’21, and Ian Roberson ’21 was elected as Vice President of Internal Affairs, replacing Nan Elpers ’20.

The candidate field for VP of Student Life consisted of six students: Siwakoti, Tronik Pallás ’22, Soren Gessner ’23, Case Osborn ’21, Grace Rosner ’22, and Sean Grogan ’21. Candidates joined for a debate Oct. 30 to discuss their goals and platforms should they be elected. Students cast their votes throughout the day on Oct. 31, and CCSGA emailed out results that evening.

Siwakoti is an environmental science major and feminist and gender studies minor. On campus, she’s already involved in many aspects of student life aside from CCSGA. Siwakoti is a Residential Advisor, a co-chair of the South Asian Students Association, a Career Center employee, and a member of the International Students Board. 

Siwakoti aims to connect groups cross-campus in hopes of fostering a more collaborative environment. “I felt like everything that I was involved in could be brought together and I didn’t know how,” Siwakoti said, speaking of the unexplored intersections between many clubs and organizations.

Siwakoti also voiced her concerns regarding lack of student interaction with CCSGA, notwithstanding efforts from both parties to connect. Despite her campus-wide experience, Siwakoti said she was “not aware of what power this college government has on the wider issues.” 

Students voiced similar concerns regarding a lack of awareness about CCSGA’s role on campus. “I don’t know enough about CCSGA to vote,” said Patrick McGinnis ’22.

“They have all these open meetings for people to attend, and until you’re in CCSGA, you don’t really attend any,” Siwakoti said. 

This lack of interaction was reflected in voter turnout for the election: CCSGA reported that just 15% of students cast votes. “We talk about so many things in class, but outside of class, I feel like we don’t do anything,” Siwakoti said. 

“I felt like there was a lot of discrepancy between the things that CCSGA intends to do and then what ends up happening,” Siwakoti continued. Somewhere in the middle, the connection seems to be missing, and that’s the gap that Siwakoti strives to bridge. 

For Roberson, VP of Internal Affairs seems like a logical next step. He’s a political science major who has spent three years as a member of CCSGA, and two years on the Internal Affairs Committee, recently heading efforts to revamp social media presences of the organization.

In the race for Vice President of Internal Affairs, Roberson ran unopposed. That’s something he’s looking to change for future races. “During my tenure, I’d like for every election to be contested,” he said.

Roberson emphasized the importance of maintaining checks and balances. “I kind of see that as my role — make sure we’re following the bylaws, treating everyone fairly, and consistently interrogating what’s not working,” he said.

Both Roberson and Siwakoti spoke to their goals to be known to students as a familiar face. Siwakoti plans to hold open house hours and meet blockly with leaders of clubs and student organizations on campus. 

Roberson too encouraged students to reach out. “My inbox is always open,” he said.

Leave a Reply