SGA inauguration 2020

The 33rd administration of the University of Georgia Student Government Administration was sworn in Monday over Zoom due to COVID-19. SGA also live streamed the event on Facebook. (Screenshot by Megan Mittelhammer)

The online inauguration of the 33rd University of Georgia Student Government Association administration was filled with mute signs and smiles.

President Asim Ahmed, Vice President Cheryl Kwapong, Treasurer Carson Kuck and 41 senators were sworn into office at 6 p.m. Monday.

“It’s definitely not the venue that we expected, but we are, we’re still here together,” Vice President of Student Affairs Victor Wilson said. “We always say you can’t keep a good, good Bulldog down.”

Senators-elect, student government advisers and current and former executive cabinet members joined the virtual meeting. Wilson thanked the SGA members for all that they’re doing to support students in the greater UGA community.

In his inaugural address, Ahmed said he, Kwapong and Kuck are excited to build off the hard work of the past year and continue to move forward.

“As we reflect back on this long journey, months ago we had a vision to unite this campus,” Ahmed said. “As I look around the Zoom chat, we're excited to work with every facet of the university and Athens-Clarke County community to accomplish exactly that.”

Unite won the historic executive ticket election on Feb. 28 after a runoff against the Forward ticket. Unite garnered 56.8% of the votes and 6,394 total votes in the runoff election. The trio ran on a platform of accountability, sustainability and visibility.

A total of 11,324 votes were submitted for an executive ticket in the runoff election period, surpassing the general election’s 10,223 votes for the highest turnout in SGA history.

Voter participation increased by 70% compared to last year’s election cycle, now-former Attorney General Ethan Pender said.

“This was a particularly competitive and active election cycle, and winning election, especially in this cycle, is something to be proud of as well,” Pender said.

Now-former President Rachel Byers reflected on her time as SGA president and thanked former Vice President Melissa Hevener and former Treasurer Nav Singh, who have become “each other's siblings,” Byers said.

Byers highlighted executive programs such as the transfer student T-shirt swap, the Georgia Way student values statement, the Professional Clothing Closet and mental health initiatives, such as mental wellness week.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that 48 senators were sworn into office. There were 41 senators sworn in. The Red & Black regrets this error and it has since been corrected.

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