A New Chapter for SGA Leadership Begins
President Rosen and Vice President Ogundimo stand together in the Commons / Credits: Sara Weinrod
The Student Government Association (SGA) recently concluded its annual school-wide elections, ushering in a new leadership team committed to fostering positive change in the school community. Hugo Rosen (‘24) secured a second, non-consecutive term as SGA president, while Felicia Ogundimo (‘26) was newly elected to the role of vice president. The elected officials also include William Mabey (‘25) for a second term as treasurer, Nirvan Welagadara (‘27) as historian, and Joelle Barksdale (‘25) as the public relations manager.
Candidates expressed similar motivations behind their election bids. The recently elected representatives all shared a wish to enact change at Walls and serve the student body. Rosen (Editors’ note: Rosen is a contributing writer to the Rookery) explained that he chose to run because “the position of SGA president can really make a difference.” Ogundimo emphasized her desire to “be closer to the people in charge” and engage in meaningful conversations that benefit the school community, and Mabey said his number one priority was “service to the people.”
Running individual election campaigns, Rosen and Ogundimo found their candidacy to be enjoyable. Through the process of interacting with the school community through the process of securing votes, Ogundimo noted, “it was really fun.”
Rosen, a three-time campaigner, shared valuable advice for future candidates, emphasizing the importance of name recognition while acknowledging the practicality that students may not focus on detailed policy plans during voting.
“The biggest thing is to get your name out there,” said Rosen, “if people see your name around the school, then they'll be more likely to vote for you. I think that it is important to have a substantive policy plan, but in reality, a lot of students don't care too much about a substantive policy plan while voting.”
Rosen, with plenty of ideas to improve the school, prioritizes maintaining access to GW facilities and upholding SWW's commitment to experiential learning. Meanwhile, Ogundimo's focus is expanding student access to resources. Both leaders share a commitment to SGA's role in planning school-wide events and boosting school spirit.
This year, SGA has undergone some changes in order to make it more representative of the student body. Recognizing the importance of diverse opinions within the organization, SGA has added two representatives from each advisory class.
“SGA is less top heavy this year than it used to be,” Rosen said, “The president still has the most power, but all important decisions are made together, as a team.”
This year also introduced a new rule requiring candidates to be SGA members before running for leadership positions. This means that everyone who ran for an SGA position this year had previously held a position as advisory representative. According to Ogundimo, the rationale behind this requirement was to screen prospective candidates for a commitment to SGA.
“I think you had to be in [SGA] first so they could see how well you attend these meetings. Are you present? Are you actually here? Are you going to do what you're talking about? And just so we can hear your ideas before you get in a place of power,” said Ogundimo.
However, not everyone thinks that the new advisory representative system is the best way to improve student representation in SGA. Treasurer Mabey believes that picking a few students from each advisory unfairly restricts which students can participate in government.
“I believe that Walls has many good candidates,” he said, explaining that those candidates may be unevenly distributed across advisories. If only a few students can be selected from each advisory, the school may be artificially limiting how many of those students can participate in government. “The old system where people can just run [is better],” said Mabey. He also pointed out that the new system is undemocratic, citing the selection of advisory representatives on a volunteer basis instead of through elections.
In the pursuit of school spirit, the SGA aims to take on a more active role this year. Rosen envisions more floor decorating competitions, incentivizing school spirit, and overall amplifying the SGA’s presence within the school community. The SGA’s main goal, according to Rosen, is to “bring the Walls community together as a whole.”
At the team’s first meeting after the elections, the new officers recapped Homecoming and Spirit Week while proposing improvements for future events. Recognizing the importance of clear plans when proposing initiatives, Rosen emphasized the need for effective communication with the administration and teachers to translate ideas into action.
“It's very important to, when proposing changes, to lay out a clear plan. If you just say to the administration or to teachers, we want this done, they might care, but they won't always go out of their way to do something about it. If you give them an action plan, say we want this done and this is how we plan to do it, they'll be more responsive and willing to help achieve that goal,” said Rosen.
As SWW’s SGA embraces this new era of leadership, SGA remains committed to positive change, student representation, and promoting school spirit.