Watch parties looked different this year, but that didn’t stop these SGA members from celebrating

Some wins were hard-fought. Others, not so much.

In lieu of the traditional watch parties to celebrate election day, most Student Government Association (SGA) candidates awaited results in small groups. One candidate gathered with his campaign team at a restaurant, while another was teaching a dance class in Clark Hall when results dropped. 

All eight executive candidates reported that they would not be hosting watch parties this year. 


This year’s executive candidates ran unopposed for the second year in a row. SGA President Demarcus Joiner hosted a watch party in the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity house with his campaign team and other executive candidates during last year’s uncontested election. 

This year’s president-elect Jill Fields said she refrained from having a large watch party due to the nature of the pandemic and COVID-19. Other executive candidates expressed the same sentiments. 

Fields instead celebrated her win with her campaign team and her roommates at her own home.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have my awesome campaign team here. They’ve made this week a dream,” Fields said. “It’s been great having them around and getting to celebrate all of our hard work and getting to see it all pay off this week.”

About 23% of students voted, and 95% of those votes were cast for Fields. Joiner and Fields won their seats with about the same number of votes. 

“I’m glad that all the students were able to believe in me, and I’m ready to get to work and hopefully be an advocate for student groups all across campus,” she said. 


Five of the ten senate races were contested this year: the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Commerce and Business Administration, the College of Communication and Information Sciences, the College of Human Environmental Sciences and the College of Education. 

Arts and sciences candidate John Dodd, who suspected his campaign was being targeted by the Elections Board earlier this week with two violations that were overturned yesterday, celebrated his victory with his campaign team and a few close friends, including Communication and Information Sciences candidate Malea Benjamin. 

Dodd won a seat and earned the majority of votes in his college’s race. 

“I feel like my message of, you know, this anti-Machine campaign that I’ve ran this week has resonated with the student body,” Dodd said. “I won the overall majority of all the votes of Arts and Sciences candidates, and that’s something that’s hard to do when you’re faced up against the Machine.”

He said he looks forward to accomplishing everything he promised the student body during his campaign period and to building relationships with other senators. He expressed his appreciation for all his supporters and applauded them for using their voice. 

“Thank you for using your voice,” he said. “Even if I had lost tonight, this is an example that you can’t be afraid … and it proves that our voice, just as much as [the Machine’s], carries the same weight.” 

Kyler Durrence, another candidate in Arts and Sciences, was teaching a dance class on the third floor of Clark Hall when he heard about his loss. He said he didn’t anticipate winning a seat. 

“I didn’t expect anything less [of the results] and I congratulate all the winners,” Durrence said. “I ran with a platform that was backed by a small percentage of the student population.” 

Durrence said he has not decided if he would try again next year. 

John Richardson was in his dorm room in Ridgecrest South when he learned about his win in Arts and Sciences. He sat on his couch with friends to watch as the election results rolled in.

Richardson said that his campaign strategy was centered around “good people politics.” He wanted to reach out to the people around him, and “get good people to get other good people to vote for good people.” 

Richardson said that his time spent celebrating will be short, and that he will get to work on his campaign promises that he made as soon as possible. He emphasized community, even in a pandemic, where he was able to communicate with a large portion of students on and off-campus and listen to their needs. 

“[The students] are the ones who want to make this campus a better place,” he said.

Drew St. Charles also learned about his win for Commerce and Business Administration sitting on the couch with his roommates, campaign staff and manager. When the ballots were counted, St. Charles said, “I’ve never seen my phone blow up so much after the results came out.” 

He said he wishes he could have had a “true watch party, but if you were to ask [him] the first people to pick to be in that room, it would have been them.” 

The Law School had no candidates running to fill its two available seats. John Hemmings was announced as the winner for one seat, and a runoff between Bailey Bowling, Blaize Naman, Clay Martinson and Emily Ellis will take place on March 4 to fill the second seat.

2021-2022 SGA Executive Cabinet

President: Jill Fields

Executive Vice President: Sam Rickert

VP for Academic Affairs: Amanda Allen 

VP for External Affairs: Madeline Martin 

VP for Financial Affairs: Sullivan Irvine 

VP for Student Affairs: Jack Steinmetz

VP for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Lauren Gilonske

Executive Secretary: Colin Marcum

2021-2022 SGA Senators

College of Arts and Sciences

John Dodd

Mary Kate Grossman

Porter Lawrence O’Doherty 

Darius Thomas

Taryn Geiger 

Ruthanne Carter

Ella Canalizo Kutner

Will Goodloe

Luke Schroeder

Jordan Antonio Jones

John Richardson


College of Commerce and Business Administration

CJ Pearson 

Lauryn Parker

Collier Dobbs

Benner Page 

Grayson Shook 

Hope Rider

Mitch Azar

John McLendon 

Sims Johnson

Andrew Tanner Bregman 

Drew St. Charles 


College of Communication and Information Sciences 

Sarah Beth Corona

Jenna Elizabeth Berkower

Alison Gaston

Katie Morris


College of Education 

Abigail Ratliff

Izzy Talbert


College of Engineering

Deborah Oberkor

Cameron Doyle

Charlie Crouse

Jacob Gifford

Luke Dille

Grant Haidu

Wyatt Brunette

Charlie Parse

Nate Fulmer 


College of Human Environmental Sciences 

Sarah Mason Avery 

Paige Victoria Hoss

Grace Federico 


Law School

John Hemmings 

Runoff between: Bailey Bowling, Blaize Naman, Clay Martinson and Emily Ellis 


College of Nursing 

Henry Boyle

Rachel Cordry 


School of Social work 

Lauren Rouse

Hallie Foster



Rebecca Rose Lutonsky

Jennifer Baggett

Runoff for 2 seats: Anna Claire Toxey, Benjamin Jones, Cameron Luke Ratliff and James Anthony