Juniors Sarah Mangan and Jorge Martinez de Santiago won the student body election on March 11, but their dedication to serving the student body and leading on campus did not start with their “Reset” campaign this spring.
Mangan and Martinez de Santiago will serve during the 2021-2022 school year as campus leaders, being the student body president and vice president, respectively.
Mangan, a biology education major, currently serves as a Personnel Assistant (PA) on her wing, Third West Olson. Martinez de Santiago, an exercise science major, is also a PA on The Brotherhood. But the pair met before starting their freshman years at Taylor through the Act Six program.
“Coming to Taylor we started unpacking our stories and what does it look like to have cultural competence,” Mangan said. “And part of that was unpacking race and privilege and having difficult conversations as a cadre.”
For Mangan, the initial desire to run for student body president came from this leadership position. The Black Lives Matter and Unity March events that happened on campus this fall only made that desire stronger after she realized that the stance one takes on issues impact other people.
“Going says something as much as not going says something,” Mangan said.
Mangan and Martinez de Santiago were connected as running mates through the Office of Intercultural Programs (OIP) and decided to run together while in the Dashi line.
Though Martinez de Santiago sees himself and Mangan as opposites in a lot of ways — himself tending to be more shy, and Mangan tending to be more outgoing, for one — he felt certain that running alongside Mangan was the right choice.
“Being able to vocalize myself is sort of hard for me, but through Taylor I’ve been able to break my comfort zone and go out a lot more,” Martinez de Santiago said. “Running for vice president is breaking my comfort zone which I’m glad it’s doing because it is a way to challenge myself and at the same time find ways we can better the community.”
Serving the communities of both Taylor and Grant County are priorities for the pair. The three main points of their campaign — practicing proximity, embracing differences and creating a lasting legacy — were rooted in the verses of Romans 5:3-5 and include specific ways to strengthen these communities.
Having both served in the community through programs like ReaLife, Basics Jr. and Red Barn, Mangan and Martinez de Santiago believe in meeting the existing needs of the community.
“Our hope is to reestablish and maybe strengthen our connection with the community,” Martinez de Santiago said. “We know that change won’t happen next year, but our hope is we’d be able to plant that seed to at least be able to be there for the kids. That’s the first step we want to make.”
To do this, the pair has plans to create events like on-campus trick or treating for kids in the community and implementing the ability to use extra Dining Dollars at the end of the semester to buy needed items from the Reade Avenue Market for locals in Grant County.
To strengthen the Taylor community they hope to create a universal calendar where students can see all of the programming happening on campus, and create more direct channels between PAs, Discipleship Assistants (DAs) and other campus leaders such as themselves and the university president.
Mangan said she is enthusiastic about shaping the future of the student body through these structural changes and facilitating the collaboration of different corners of campus.
“Not more events, but thoughtful events,” Mangan said.
For now, Mangan and Martinez de Santiago will finish out their junior years in their current leadership positions, taking time to learn from current student body president and vice president, seniors Emmanuel Terrell and Anna Craig. They are praying for wisdom as they hire their executive cabinet.
Mangan and Martinez de Santiago also thank all the people who helped them with their campaign.
“Many campus leaders collaborated alongside us to support our goals and make this campaign possible,” Mangan said. “Joy Herbkersman: graphic designer, Audrey Summers: instagram designer, Britta Swoboda: photographer, Evan Melloh: videographer.”