Written by Abby Williams // Photo provided by Ella Duryea
Juniors Ella Duryea and Luke Ziegler won the majority of the student body’s vote last week, becoming next year’s new Student Association (SA) president and vice president, as announced on April 13 in chapel.
Duryea, a communication sciences and disorders major, said she wants to work toward positive change within Harding.
“I think the SA is a really special thing, especially in the place we’re at right now in administration,” Duryea said. “It’s like we’re on the same page as them, and we’ve got a lot of momentum. I think somebody needed to step in who really cares about this place, and I really care about this place, to continue that momentum and work with them toward positive change. They’re doing really great things already, and they just need someone to partner with them and represent the students well.”
Duryea said many of her initiatives are geared toward helping students feel included and providing resources they need to thrive.
“I am excited because I feel like everything students bring to me, I’m gonna take it to heart and listen to it well and try to make this place the best it can be for everyone,” Duryea said.
Ziegler, a history major, said he wants to make sure students feel like their voices are heard.
“Something I’m really committed to is the culture and traditions of Harding and [to] serve Harding’s legacy in its 100th year but also to advocate for the change necessary for the students,” Ziegler said. “I really want to continue the SA theme for next year, which is ‘At The Table.’ I want to make sure every student feels like they have a space at the table and that their voice can be heard.”
Ziegler said he is also advocating for more transparency between the administration and the students at the University, adding that students know little about Harding’s board.
““I think that the board is reasonable and have students’ best interest at heart, but we don’t know anything about them,” Ziegler said. “They make such important decisions about our lives and the state of the University that affect our lives and the future so much. I’m not trying to change any of that, and I think they’re doing a great job, and I support them, but I would like to know who’s making the decisions — more about their lives and stories and the rationale behind the decisions.”
Duryea said her campaign, “At The Table,” was inspired by a family tradition.
“Something special I got to enjoy throughout my whole childhood was that my family ate dinner together every single night,” Duryea said. “Some days we would have our best stories, and some days I would be crying my eyes out, and some days we wouldn’t say anything at all. It’s like we lived our whole lives; the whole range of human emotions can be seen by us sitting around the table.”
Duryea added that she wants students to feel that they can experience life together.
“I want to experience all the good parts and the bad parts of life with you all, and I want everyone to feel like there’s space to do that together,” Duryea said.
Logan Light, assistant dean of Campus Life and chapel programs, said he enjoys working with the SA and other student organizations, helping to incorporate them into chapel. He added that he loves working with self-motivated students to create.
“I really like Ella,” Light said. “I like her theme for the year. It’s something that I’ve heard Dr. [Mike] Williams share in his vision, and I think she embodies this genuineness and generosity about herself, and I’m really excited for what the student body can experience through her this year.”