Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

December 9, 2023

SGA Speaker leaving senate

Sam DeForest-Davis answers administrative panel’s question on how to encourage students’ use of the Reading and Writing Center on campus during a student and administrator roundtable discussion held in Larson Hall. Photo by LuAnna Gerdemann

Samantha DeForest-Davis has served Augustana’s Student Government Association as the Speaker of the Senate for almost a year and half but will be leaving SGA behind following the fifth week of Winter Term to spend the last half of her senior year in Washington DC.
Her intense involvement and massive role in SGA makes this opportunity both very important to DeForest-Davis but also very difficult.
“SGA has definitely helped me know how to frame messages and know how to work with others and find common ground and compromise. That’s something hopefully that I can take with me in the future when I’m out in DC,” DeForest-Davis said. 
DeForest Davis will be working four of the five weekdays every week at an internship with one day spent in class to finish her graduation requirements for her Augustana graduation in May.
DeForest-Davis has hopes to get a job in DC following her graduation, and she believes that SGA has helped prepare her for a career in politics, but she also is saddened about leaving SGA behind.
Referencing the new Diversity Taskforce that the SGA Executive Board has recently launched, DeForest-Davis said, “It is something I’ve been working really hard on with the Exec Board and with the other senators. I’m sad to not be able to see all the fruits of that labor.”
DeForest-Davis’s fellow Executive Board members Sarah Funke (Vice President) and Charlie Bentley (President) both commented on DeForest-Davis’s departure saying that they are proud of what she has done and what she will be doing in DC, but that they are not very concerned about filling her absence.
“Charlie and I actually see this as an opportunity for a senator to be able to take on a bigger role, and become more heavily involved on the day to day tasks of Student Government,” Funke said.
DeForest-Davis herself said she did not have many fears about SGA continuing without her.
“I am concerned about me leaving and adding a new person in and how that will kind of change the dynamic of the Exec Board, but I’m not nervous about how SGA or how the senators will do,” DeForest-Davis said.
DeForest-Davis said that the Executive Board became very close-knit this year and that her greatest concern was how her replacement would affect that environment. Bentley mentioned that he and DeForest-Davis have had a close friendship and that he would miss her dearly but that the Senate has a plethora of leaders to elect.
Bentley said he is “excited to see which one of those Senators step up and take on her role in her departure.”
The senate will elect a new Speaker in Week Four of Winter Term with nominations made Week Three. DeForest-Davis is still a member of the Senate until after Week Five so she will get a vote in the election of her replacement. DeForest-Davis said she would be looking for someone who has no fear in calling out and challenging their fellow senators. “I’d really just like to see someone who’s been really involved in SGA during their whole time they’ve been on the Senate and someone who’s really taken initiative,” DeForest-Davis said.
The new Speaker will come directly from the Senate, making a switch in their roles obviously drastic, but Funke thinks that it might have a good effect to transition someone directly from a working role to a leading one.
“Perhaps someone who recently transitioned out of the senate will have a better gauge on where the senators passions and interests are,” Funke said.
The Executive Board will be working with the newly elected Speaker over Winter Break to help ease the transition for all parts of SGA, including the Senate. However hard the transition will be, Bentley, Funke, and DeForest-Davis all believe that SGA will survive and thrive under its new leadership.
“The Executive Board has been honored to work with Speaker Samantha De Forest-Davis, her amazing energy and positive attitude will be missed,” Bentley said. “But, we will continue to do the great work that we have started thus far, and I am excited to see who will be joining us come Week 6.”
DeForest Davis’s last SGA meeting will be held on Dec. 15.

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SGA Speaker leaving senate