Michael Grosch and three of his friends nervously gathered around a laptop in an apartment on campus around noon on Friday, April 13. When the four of them saw on the screen what they had been hoping for, relief and excitement came over them. They were part of the campaign for Grosch to become the 2012-2013 Student Government Association (SGA) president, and he won.
“There was a lot of yelling, a lot of jumping up and down, and a lot of hugs. It was good and we were really excited,” Grosh, sophomore international relations and speech communications double major, said.
Grosch was one of three candidates running for the office of SGA president. He won with a total of 225 votes out of 471 ballots cast. Last week, all three candidates campaigned heavily for the spot. Grosch had friends help with his campaign. Eight people comprised different teams to promote him. There was a creative team, a social media team and a political strategy team. They planned events and came up with ideas to get his name out. They created a viral video, which featured around 20 student leaders voicing their thoughts about Grosch. Mikey Medwin, of the student band 431, wrote a song about him. Grosch put up fliers and handed out stickers that said “I Like Mike” and met with student groups. He also played Quidditch with the Webster Quidditch team.
Last Thursday, he and four friends on his campaign team walked around campus and handed out ice cream sandwiches to students, and gave students more information about Grosch. Grosch said while he was out telling people about the election and promoting himself, he still was unsure of what the outcome would be.
“I’d like to say, ‘Oh, I was active, going around meeting people, shaking hands, kissing babies,’ but, at the same time, so were (the other candidates),” Grosch said. “Up until Thursday night when it was over, everyone on my team was still so unsure. It was a huge amount of mystery.”
The campaign wasn’t competitive just for the presidential position, but also for vice president. Christopher Whitmore, sophomore political science major, said he was setting up decorations in the gym for the international festival when he was told he won the office of vice president.
“That was nice to hear, but once it was mentioned that I won only by four points, that’s when I was shocked,” Whitmore said. “I kind of froze. It was a great moment; a surprising moment.”
Whitmore won with 207 votes; his competition Katie Maxwell had 203 votes. They both campaigned over the course of last week. Whitmore said he doesn’t know what it was that allowed him to win the position over Maxwell.
“She’s a really great person and a really strong candidate… She’s very well known on campus as a leader,” Whitmore said. “I have to give myself the same credits based on the things I’ve done on campus, but it came down to the wire.”
Whitmore ran for vice president in association with Conrad Mbaziira, who ran for SGA president. Whitmore and Mbaziira campaigned and promoted one another. Whitmore said it was difficult hearing his friend did not win with him, but he’s still positive about SGA.
“I’m trying to bring the best interest for the students at Webster, so I had to go beyond my personal bias,” Whitmore said. “Conrad would have been a terrific representative for Webster students, but they decided on Michael and I’m very excited to see the ideas that he will bring to SGA.”
Kris Parsons, senior human rights major, worked as Grosch’s campaign manager. She said she knew at the beginning of this semester that Grosch would be the candidate she would support because of his passion and ability to think creatively. Grosch and Whitmore have similar ideas of what they’d like to accomplish in next academic year, and those ideas are to be more accessible and closer to the student body.
“(Grosch) wasn’t really happy with the fact that student government was really a student bank,” Parsons said. “We talked a lot about how we can do more student advocacy work rather than just funding. There’s a lot of issues students talk about on a regular basis and those issues get pigeonholed in the top five twice a year: Delegates’ Agenda. We want student government to advocate year round.”
Whitmore’s campaign slogan was “Bring a new day to SGA” because he wanted to create a new standard for SGA and have new roles for officials.
“I want to get back into the community and be one with the students because we’re all students ourselves,” Whitmore said.