Student Government of Seattle University (SGSU) elections wrapped up, and the new representatives have been sworn in, each with their own goals and hopes for the students they represent.
Incoming SGSU Representatives after their first Representative Assembly.
Frances Divinagracia, a journalism and film studies double major, is Seattle U’s new Sophomore Representative. Although she has experience in student government from high school, she was intimidated by the large-scale governance of SGSU and didn’t get involved immediately.
Divinagracia watched SGSU uphold their mission statement of being a voice and advocate for the undergraduate students at Seattle U, and after doing some advocating of her own, serving on the Residence Hall Association Campion Hall Council, she decided her next step would be student government.
This year, Divinagracia hopes to host class-bonding and community-building events for the class of 2020. She thinks it’s important for sophomores to meet people outside of their immediate friend group.
“I want [sophomores] to know they have love and support from everyone all throughout our class,” Divinagracia said.
Second year International Studies major Maitland Hennessey is the new Transfer Student Representative. Having just transferred to Seattle U from Cornell College this year, she knows the challenges that accompany switching schools.
“The process was difficult to manage partially due to insufficient online resources,” Hennessey said. “It is difficult to get in contact with advisors, the financial aid office, admissions and the countless other departments necessary for the transfer process, both over the phone and in person.”
Beyond the transfer process itself, she knows how difficult it can be to make friends part-way through a college career. She hopes to improve the Seattle U transfer web page and to host events where transfer students can socialize with the campus community.
Bridget Benevides, a nursing major from the class of 2021, is the new At-Large Representative. Representing the entire undergraduate student body, the At-Large Representative helps to organize efforts from the other representatives.
Benevides joined SGSU because she is committed to working with the community on behalf of the students. She enjoys meeting and interacting with new people and hopes to continue SGSU’s political efforts.
Louis Thai, a finance major from Class of 2019, is the new International Representative. He is interested in leadership and hopes to build a bridge between international students and the Seattle U community.
As an international student himself, he knows that it’s easy to feel insecure and lonely at Seattle U, which is especially tough when home is so far away. He hopes to encourage more international student events.
Shariah Mae Olomua, a business and law major from the Class of 2021, is the new multicultural representative. She ran for the position to give a voice to students who come from diverse cultural backgrounds. This year she hopes to hear concerns that students have and to make effective change on campus. “I hope this year SGSU as a whole can encourage a more diverse campus culture,” Olomua said.
Molly Sheets, a political science major with specialization in legal studies is the newly elected First Year Representative. She knows that acclimating to college is difficult, and this is especially true for first-years. In order to facilitate a smooth transition, she hopes to educate first-years about the resources available to them.
Laurel Petrik, a political science and english double major is the other newly elected First Year Representative. She decided to run because she wants to advocate for things she’s passionate about on SGSU’s platform.
Petrik is very passionate about starting conversations and finds that taking the time to engage with those who may have different opinions than us can inform our own views. “What I want to accomplish [is] creating a way…for people to share their opinions in a way that benefits both parties,” Petrik said.
Tanish Bhojwani, a finance major in the class of 2018, is the new Vice President for Finance, formally elected in spring of 2017. As the head of the finance committee, Tanish works with appropriations for SU clubs. “When I came here… all the way from Guam… I found my community through clubs,” Bhojwani said.
In the past four years, the number of clubs at Seattle U has doubled to 150, which Tanish says is amazing, but the appropriations amount for clubs has stayed the same. He hopes to take a proactive approach and restructure the process for allotting funds to be able to service all 150 clubs. He also plans to address problems he’s heard while serving for SGSU, like financial literacy events to help students with their taxes.
Kieran Wohlenberg is the new Students with Disabilities Representative. These new representatives make up the 2018 SGSU along with officers and staff. They are available through email for student comment and concerns.
Quinn may be reached at