Like most Wednesdays on ORU’s campus, students piled into Christ’s Chapel on April 17. However, this service was associated with added excitement as the unknown results for the student body presidential election lingered in the air.
Aleah LaForce and Garrett Maddox sat next to Abby Nusbaum and Karina Salcedo as tension built for the announcement. Students began a drumroll across the chapel. President Dr. William M. Wilson announced that Aleah LaForce and Garrett Maddox won the election.
LaForce and Maddox ran on the slogan of “Let’s Celebrate!” with hopes of promoting diversity, sustainability and life on campus.
“I put ‘Way Maker’ on repeat as I went to bed. The next morning, it was the first song played in chapel. It was a ‘wow’ moment with the Holy Spirit,” LaForce said.
LaForce shared that being elected has been a “good weird,” as people have begun to greet her with “Madam President.” She said that she is filled with gratitude from the support.
Maddox was joyful that campaigning was over.
“It’s really peaceful now that it’s over. Campaigning consumes your life, but everyone was open and honest, which helped us to have a clean campaign,” Maddox said.
LaForce and Maddox won by a margin of 5.4 percent with 700 votes, versus Abby Nusbaum’s and Karina Salcedo’s 629 votes. With the knowledge that both campaigns had a nearly even voting outcome, LaForce hopes to implement some of her opponents’ ideas.
“I think that the ping pong intramurals is a great idea for student recreation,” said LaForce. “The professional clothing drive is really important, especially for students who can’t afford those things.”
Having a diverse support group will be a major help in the long run, LaForce added. While several ethnicities are represented on her team, she is also happy with the diversity in majors, which she believes will be a great help during her presidency.
“We’ve been partnering with sustainability and social work majors and athletes and people who will definitely be able to give us opinions on things that we don’t have a hand in,” LaForce said.
Some of LaForce’s team members plan to continue to help her and Maddox during the presidency.
“With delegation, I think it’s important to realize what you can and cannot handle. There are some people who really thrive in some things, and others who thrive in other areas,” LaForce said.
Throughout their campaign, LaForce and Maddox stated several times that open communication was key in connecting with people. Both wish to build relationships within the student body and to communicate their willingness to put in the hard work to attain those relationships.
“It’s time to solidify relationships between the president’s office and athletics, or anyone else who wants to see us,” said Maddox.
LaForce and Maddox hope to encourage the student body to talk to them about what they want for the incoming year, and they plan to show students what the jurisdiction and duties of the presidency entail.
“I want them to know we are approachable,” said LaForce. “We are also students, but we are here to serve. I want them to also know that some things are out of our jurisdiction or aren’t fiscally possible. But if they have ideas, we’re here for them; they’re not alone.”