Introducing GPSA candidates

Jennifer Johnson runs unopposed for president, Edgerton also uncontested as VP



GPSA President Jennifer Johnson said the grocery subsidy program committee has reviewed about 150 applications so far and received about 100 more in the last week.

MADYSEN MCLAIN, Evergreen roots editor

GPSA candidates for executive, college representative and senator positions shared their vision for next year at the general debate on Monday night. 

Candidates were allowed five minutes to share information about themselves and ideas they would bring to the senate if elected. This was followed by a Q&A session.

Jennifer Johnson is the only GPSA presidential candidate, along with vice president candidate Samantha Edgerton.

After Johnson and Edgerton made remarks, one senator asked what they would do to address mental health concerns in graduate students. 

Edgerton said the university could work on providing more telehealth mental health services to prevent a waitlist of students needing services.

Telehealth services would allow international students to be able to speak with a counselor in their first language, she said.

Edgerton is a history PhD student at WSU. She currently serves as a GPSA senator for the College of Arts and Sciences.  

Before Edgerton moved to Pullman over two years ago, she worked as a manager of disability benefits for a private insurance company. 

Johnson has served as a GPSA senator and a college representative for four years. She stepped in as president at the beginning of this semester. 

The Vice President of Legislative Affairs position also only has one ticket. 

James Dalton, GPSA senator and legislative affairs committee member, said he has worked on policies for veterans but wants to have a broader focus.

“I want to bring to this position more involvement from other people,” Dalton said. “Everybody has their own story.”

He said he wants to make the legislative affairs committee more diverse by showing legislators in Olympia a handout with stories from graduate students alongside their photo. 

The idea of tabling on the Terrell Mall was also discussed. Dalton said it would grow campus engagement.

Two candidates are vying for the College of Education representative position. 

Rachel Wong currently serves as the College of Education representative and holds the programming chair position. 

She said she would be able to empathize with international students, as well as take what she learned from this year to make next year better.

“As an international student myself, I can attest to the struggles they face,” Wong said. 

GPSA events have not always been family-friendly, she said, but she would work to make them more inclusive.

Samuel Aina, another candidate, is a third-year PhD student. He said he has noticed that graduate students focus a lot on their research.

Aina said he would encourage students to go out and explore WSU’s campus.

“I want to come to GPSA to serve, I always look for opportunities to serve,” he said.

There were two other candidates running unopposed as college representatives who also presented. 

Five college representative positions do not have candidates. There are also 16 senator positions without candidates. 

Ana Vishnevskaya, GPSA internal affairs chair, said a special election will be held at a later date for the open positions. 

Voting opened for the general election at 8 p.m. Monday and will close at 11:59 p.m. on Friday. Graduate students can vote here.