Sitting down with the only SGA president and vice president candidates

Kloe Witt, Breaking News Editor

Loyola’s Student Government Association opened their ballots for their 2023-24 elections this year with only one ticket with Makayla Hawkins as the presidential candidate, and Sydney Randall as vice president.

Hawkins, a psychology junior, has been a member of SGA since her freshman year, and has held various leadership positions on campus, including president of Loyno Pre-Law and a supervisor for campus recreation.

She said she feels her experience in many departments on campus will help her presidency.

“That gives me a lot of different perspectives on how different students view their experience at Loyola, so I plan to use that throughout my work as student body president,” she said.

Hawkins said she believes her experience in being a resource on campus is one thing that helps motivate her in her position.

“I’ve always loved being a resource for others,” she said. “I felt there was no better position to help students than being the SGA president.”

Unlike Hawkins, this was political science junior Randall’s first year in student government. Still, she said she felt like running was necessary.

Randall has also held several leadership positions that she said will help with her vice presidential duty to preside over all senate meetings.

“Knowing that we’re all a team and we have one common goal, and that’s to better the student body, that definitely helps, I’ve noticed, with teamwork and leadership,” she said.

According to Hawkins and Randall, their main focus is on improving communication between Loyola and the student body, including receiving and listening to student feedback, more funding for events students have proven to enjoy, and increasing safety for the community.

The SGA vice president serves as the head of the senate. Randall said that the best way to ensure an effective senate that can hold beneficial meetings is to build strong relationships with each member because they serve as a bridge between the president and the student body.

“They’re the ones who are on the ground. They’re the ones who are walking around school seeing all the problems. They’re the ones talking to their peers and seeing what students just can’t stand about school, and what makes them uncomfortable,” she said.

The pair said they want to host town hall meetings at the beginning and end of each semester where the students can come and express their concerns.

Randall said reopening a virtual suggestion box for students to voice their needs or opinions on the new SGA website is also a priority.

“Having something that’s more accessible to students will definitely help us get their feedback and their opinion because this is why we’re doing this. It’s for the students,” Randall said.

As for plans with the budget, Hawkins said she plans to help increase events on campus that students have shown more interest in.

“I would love to do more events centered on the arts. So I know one of the initiatives that was passed was initiating an arts and cultures committee in the senate because we saw that so many students loved the Loyno Flea Market and events like that,” Hawkins said.

Both Hawkins and Randall mentioned the creation of an app that will have several safety measures, including Title IX information, Student Health information, and a mobile blue light service, which is the blue pole that can be pressed to alert Loyola University Police Department if a student feels unsafe or in need of help.

“We just thought that would be great, because sometimes you need help and you’re not close enough to a blue light,” Hawkins said. “Being able to just hit a button on your phone and get you in contact with LUPD or whoever’s closest to help you, I feel like is a really, really good resource for students.”

The app, titled Code Havoc, is already in the works, according to Hawkins.

Other safety measures that the candidates are planning to implement are for safety items, such as the night life scrunchies, which are scrunchies that expand to create caps for drinks, and key chain alarms, that will be available at all times at Havoc’s help desk.

Hawkins said she still plans to spend plenty of time listening to any student concerns that could arise.

“I feel like whenever you’re running a campaign, you have the initiatives, of course, that you want to do, but you also want to be focused on any pressing issues that come up with the student body so you can also address those,” she said.