Election Week’s change didn’t limit itself to the national political scape as the Dixie State University Student Association’s vice president of academics resigned, opening up the position midway through the semester.
VP of Academics D’Andre Mathews resigned Nov. 3, and the announcement of his successor, Communication Sen. Samantha Tommer, a senior interdisciplinary studies major from La Habra, California, came Friday. Tommer’s year and a half in the student senate and willingness to take a larger role in its progression made her an obvious choice, said Student Body President Gregory J. Layton, a senior English major from Cottonwood Heights.
Layton said to earn the position, Tommer filled out an application, submitted a resume and went through an interview process to ultimately best seven other candidates. Replacing a major figure in DSUSA near the semester’s midpoint would always present some difficulties, Layton said, but with Tommer, the senate should become more effective than up to this point in the academic year.
“It’s a bummer we had to switch, but the senate wasn’t working to its full potential,” he said. “Samantha’s new [role in senate] will create the spark that it’s needed this year.”
Tommer said the “spark” she can bring as vice president of academics includes more interaction with students and larger student initiatives. She said the senate is preparing an initiative about cheating on campus that will provide DSU students with information they need about what constitutes academic dishonesty and cheating’s consequences.
Tommer said prior experience on the senate helped as she contemplated running for the position and being able to create change quickly as Mathew’s replacement.
“I’ve been on senate for a while already, and so I already know how it runs and how it’s structured,” she said. “With a position open, I was just like, ‘OK, it’s a no-brainer; I need to apply.’ I have the experience and the passion.”
The senate’s largest endeavor with Tommer at the helm, however, centers around what she said is a basic but crucial goal: raising students’ awareness of the senate and how it benefits students.
“We’re the only branch on student government that directly gives students money for their academics, so it’s really awesome to work with students and be able to fund something that will help their college experience,” Tommer said.
To inform students of the senate’s purpose, Tommer said future DSUSA events include more “Meet Your Senator” breakfasts and another Department Legislation Day. By creating ties through face-to-face communication with students, she said the senate can expand and impact DSU’s progression like student senates at larger Utah universities.
Tommer’s new role on the executive council opened up the position of communication senator. Layton said students interested in applying should fill out the application at orgsync.com/35438/forms/126186. Applications became available Monday, and the last day to fill one out is Nov. 30.
Both Layton and Tommer said students interested in networking opportunities and working with students should considering applying. Layton said students from all disciplines can apply.
“The networking and the friendships and the bonds that I’ve made with faculty and the students have been amazing,” Tommer said. “If you’re passionate about helping students and helping the [communication] department succeed, then it’s a great position for you.”