SGA VPs elect new president


Pam Nussbaumer

Ben Nussbaumer, a third-year hotel and restaurant student, is the new Student Government Association president.

Dominic Salacki, Editor-in-Chief

The Student Government Association’s executive board elected its new president in a special election over the summer.

The board held the unusual election because no candidates ran for president last spring when the student body voted for SGA officers.

Third-year hotel and restaurant management student Ben Nussbaumer was the only candidate to come forward over the summer after the spring election, which had put five vice presidents on the SGA board. One vice president slot is still open. 

“Not having a president, in the first place, was very unusual, and then [holding a second] election [for] just the board … was also very unusual,” Abigail Billovits-Hayes, SGA vice president of public relations, said.

Nussbaumer said he wasn’t sure if he wanted to pursue the role of SGA president, so he did not run for it in the spring. But as he became curious about the position, he reached out to last year’s president, Ryan Kim.

Kim “mentioned that this role was open and seeing how much [he] cared about the SGA was what helped me [start] to care about it [too],” Nussbaumer said.

Nussbaumer said the president position sounded like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“I never imagined that I would [become SGA president], but then I thought it would be a fun opportunity to do something [to] give back to the college,” Nussbaumer said. “I started thinking that’s something that I could do. I could step up and fill that role, so I took it up.”

Billovits-Hayes said she feels optimistic about working with Nussbaumer this year.

“The one time I talked to [Nussbaumer], he was very friendly, very nice and seemed like he was very driven,” Billovits-Hayes said. The executive board and I “got an email saying, ‘You should put your schedule here so we can set up time for training and whatnot’ … [and Nussbaumer] did it immediately. … So that’s a good sign [that] he’s on top of things.”

Nussbaumer “coordinated the Zoom meeting that we had [last month], as a president should,” Michael Amwoga, SGA vice president of finance, said. “I think he’ll be good for the position [because] he seems responsible and I think he’s really taking on the task.”

Amwoga, a second-year business administration student, said Nussbaumer made the board’s first virtual gathering entertaining when  it might have been awkward because the officers had not met before.

Nussbaumer said he wants to bring his leadership skills to the SGA.

“I was in the Boy Scouts and I learned a lot of valuable leadership skills through that,” Nussbaumer said. “I also did Taekwondo growing up. When you get to the higher belts, you start having to help teach the younger belts and the younger kids. [I] develop[ed] leadership skills through that.”