Elections chapel: a glimpse of the candidates

Students learned about the 2020 SMU and SGA candidates, as well as commemorated Biola’s Day of Prayer.

Lacey Patrick, Deputy News Editor

Students crowded into Sutherland Auditorium for this morning’s election chapel to gain a better understanding of the Student Government Association and Student Missionary Union candidates, as well as honor Biola’s Day of Prayer. Voting opened today and closes tomorrow, and the winner will be announced Tuesday night. Political science professor Scott Waller gave a quick message on individualism, followed by a call to prayer by President Barry Corey.


SMU’s only presidential candidate this year is junior communication studies major Bobbi Thompson. For SMU, Thompson said her priorities are sustainability and diversity. She reminded students that the goal of missions is not the experience or destination, instead she said it’s about serving those in need. Thompson also apologized on behalf of SMU for the lack of diverse representation and said she hopes to pursue reconciliation as president.

“SMU hasn’t always had the best history of having good global student or student of color representation,” Thompson said. “If you’re a global student or a student of color, I want to apologize to you because it’s not one year or two years, it’s just been a history and we’ve gotten comfortable with the way things are.” 


SGA presidential candidate Keren Godwin and vice presidential candidate Gretchen Ferguson argued that giving students a voice on campus is of utmost importance, in addition to creating an environment where students feel comfortable bringing requests to SGA. If elected, Godwin and Ferguson said they would institute a town hall and create a podcast where students can voice their opinions.

“We want to be voices for you whether we’re elected or not,” Ferguson said. 

Presidential candidate Timothy Houlihan and vice presidential candidate Ryan Arnaiz explained that they believe students have an untapped genius that is valuable to SGA and they hope to implement a relational approach to student interaction. They aim to extend open hours, implement more hymns in chapel, partner with Residence Life and Spiritual Development to improve students’ mental and physical health, and ask the library to sell books back to students instead of disposing of them to other organizations. 

“True [leadership] is servanthood and we want to be servant leaders like Christ,” Houlihan said.


Waller’s address urged students and candidates to practice self-denial, especially in a society that is hyper-individualistic. Waller reminded Christians that they are to not follow these ideals, but instead to remember they were bought with a price and do not belong to themselves.

“This is the idea of the reign of autonomous individuals,” Waller explained. “One who answers to no one or nothing higher than himself, one who refuses to answer anything higher, particularly if that higher [power] involves a standard under which an individual is called to submit or be accountable to.”

Corey then concluded the chapel by encouraging students to find time to stop and pray. 

“Share your gratitude to God for what he has done in your life, what he is doing, what he has done, what he will do,” Corey said. “Search your hearts on this day of prayer to think about those things that the Holy Spirit is trying to say to you.”

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