/Meet the 2024-25 SGA Prez—again  
SGA President Colton Rodano. Photo courtesy of Rodano.

Meet the 2024-25 SGA Prez—again  

By Cady Inabinett, Editor in chief 

Student Government Association representatives for the 2024-25 school year were elected in late March, bringing some new faces into key campus leadership positions. But an SGA veteran is back too, as current SGA President Colton Rodano won reelection. 

Several executive and senate positions were featured on this year’s SGA election ballot, but only two of those races were competitive. In the race for SGA President, Rodano faced off against Mattie Cleckler. Meanwhile, in the race for SGA Vice President, Caleb Jernigan ran against Jack Dahle. Rodano and Jernigan won in their respective races. 

Coming off his reelection win, Rodano said he’s feeling relieved. 

“There was a moment of relief, right? Like, it’s over finally, I don’t have to campaign anymore,” Rodano said, before adding, “And, then, now I’m busy again. So, I’m feeling great, but busy.” 

Rodano described campaigning as, “definitely stressful, but that’s just because I’m trying to work hard at what I do.” 

When asked why he decided to seek reelection, Rodano said, “The reason I ran this year is the same I ran last year. I love this university. I love the students here. Having the honor to represent them has been extremely special, right? And having an impact with faculty and with other peers of mine. Seeing how they are affected by changes that SGA produces made me think that I could do this for another year. And I think I can do a little bit better than I did this year.” 

The SGA president presides over the SGA—chairing the executive cabinet and overseeing SGA events and functions. But Rodano summed up the SGA president’s paramount duty as, “communication with faculty, 100%,” adding, “Because, like, SGA isn’t always going to write legislation to solve a problem because, typically, what can happen is you can talk to faculty about an issue students have, or feedback that students have, and faculty will address it.” 

Going into his next term, though, Rodano’s focus lies on transforming the culture within SGA. Borrowing a term from Vice President-elect Jernigan, Rodano said he would like to foster a culture of efficacy among SGA members. 

“I think that SGA has been in the past—not so much this year, but previously—a system in which people do what they have to do, right? They don’t go above and beyond. They do what’s necessary,” Rodano said. “This year, we got a couple more events than normal, yeah, but I don’t think that’s enough. I think we should constantly be doing our best and trying to do as much as possible through this position. Students elected us to these positions for a reason. It’s our job to make sure that we are as involved as possible, right?” 

When asked what a more involved SGA would look like, Rodano provided an example.  

“Let’s say SGA meeting concludes, right? And the Senate meeting concludes at, let’s say, 5:15, and it starts at 4:30. Let’s say, after that is over, senators group up together and just continue to talk about things, right? Instead of just leaving, right?” Rodano said. 

Rodano also says he hopes to improve SGA’s communication efforts in the upcoming year, mainly by improving the group’s social media presence—something he says SGA hasn’t “done the best job” of. 

“This year, we had a vacant Director of Public Relations spot towards the end of the year, right? So that’s when it kind of fell apart,” Rodano said, adding, “Next year, I want to make sure that the Director of Public Relations sticks around and is passionate about what they do.” 

Recently, there have been some notable lapses in SGA publicity, such as not announcing election results after polls closed. When asked if he felt SGA had a publicity problem, Rodano replied, “I would agree that there is a publicity problem. I don’t believe it’s systemic.” 

“I think the systems are there for it to be effective. We just have to have a Director of Public Relations right on top of it,” he said. 

411 votes were cast in this year’s SGA election. While the number of ballots cast increased from last year’s 194 votes, this means less than a quarter of campus’s population voted in the election.   

When asked about issues with voter turnout, Rodano said, “I would love for everybody on campus to vote, of course, but not everybody’s going to be that involved.” 

“And that’s a pretty high count compared to what we’ve been dealing with recently. So, I would say, if anything, we’re doing a better job,” he added. 

Getting more people involved with SGA is the key to keeping up momentum with student engagement for Rodano, who said, “Just by, like, our web of connections as a social group, we’re gonna have more people involved, so more people know about it just by virtue of that being happening.” 

When asked if he felt the average student cared about SGA, Rodano said, “My intuition says yes, because the people that I know and talk to have said that they care. People I don’t know and don’t talk to say that they care about student representation.” 

Rodano and Jernigan will serve alongside the newly elected SGA Treasurer Hagen Hagood. 

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Cady Inabinett is the editor in chief of The Alabamian. She’s majoring in English and double-minoring in political science and peace and justice studies. She enjoys reading, watching movies, caring for houseplants and generally just being pretentious in her free time.