In light of the upcoming 2016-17 academic term, the winners of the elected executive positions for Student Government Association (SGA) primary elections were decided over the mid-semester break.

Due to a tie between two last standing presidential candidates, juniors Cole Mizel and Martha Hoang, a runoff voting session occurred March 2-3. Mizel won the runoff election. He currently serves as an Honors College RA in Engstrom Hall and Multi-Ethnic Leadership Scholar. He was also a Discipleship Leader in South Africa.

Mizel emphasized the importance of putting Jesus first to accomplish goals both on campus and elsewhere. He is eager to make improvements to departments on campus by implementing God’s teachings into every aspect of the institution.

“Ultimately, I desire to see APU reach its greatest ambition: equipping students to pursue four cornerstones—Christ, Scholarship, Community and Service—as a means to carry out the Great Commission, to make disciples, while following the greatest commandment, to love God and to love others,” Mizel said.

Mizel said this cannot be accomplished by compartmentalizing each cornerstone. “It’s Jesus first, Jesus most, then scholarship, community and service. Everything flows from and through faith,” Mizel said. “Otherwise, APU risks losing its Christian distinction and Christian heritage.”

While Mizel said APU is doing a tremendous job in reflecting this ambition, he is wary that some areas within the community are suffering from “mission drift.”

“We need Christ Himself injected into every department at every level in practical ways with the authority of biblical wisdom guiding policy and relationships between staff and students,” he said.

Mizel said he is concerned that more graduates of APU are leaving the institution with their faith weakened.

“It breaks my heart. While doubt is a natural occurrence in a Christian’s life and should be expected, I worry in some spaces APU actually encourages uncertainty,” he said.

He went on to share his own experience with peers who have undergone faith “deconstruction without reconstruction,” leaving them confused and less confident about what they believe without any resources to rebuild.

“Simply put, from a purely Biblical standpoint, this should not be happening on campus,” Mizel said. “I’m passionate about investigating this and further working collaboratively with staff and students towards making improvements. The spiritual climate on our campus is the wellspring of life from which every other area of APU will either succeed or fail.”

Along with these changes, Mizel is also excited to further the conversation of diversity on campus. He said he wants to encourage APU to work in recruiting and admitting diverse students and creating a more inclusive school culture. One of his goals as SGA president is to further support the institution’s efforts to evolve into a model community of Biblical diversity.

“I am committed, as is our university, to racial reconciliation, increased cultural competency and biblical justice,” Mizel said. “During my time as a Multi-Ethnic Leadership Scholar, having academically studied and personally seen the heartbreaking effects of systemic racism today, I have become fiercely passionate about this cause.”

He said it is not enough to be not racist, but to be anti-racist. Mizel said he believes the body of Christ should be empowered to celebrate rather than suppress differences.

Jordyn Ivey, junior English major, was elected Vice President. Ivey is an Honors College RA in Engstrom Hall.

“The role of the VP is to listen, serve and empower the student body as well as the members of SGA,” Ivey said. “I plan to fulfill the changes SGA proposes to make by pouring all that I have into the executive team, senators, representatives and the students we are serving. My job is to engage, encourage and empower so that is exactly what I plan on doing.”

Ivey said she strives to make APU a better place that effectively makes its students better people.

“My vision is that 6,500 undergrad students are seen, heard and served in ways that make us strive to be better—better for ourselves, better for the God we serve and better for the world we plan on impacting after we leave APU,” Ivey said.

One of her goals is to work with SGA to create an environment of active listening between the students and the administration. Ivey shed light on how she would effectively impact APU and the goals she is determined to pursue.

“Just imagine how much we can do if we all decide to make a small commitment to change,” Ivey said. “Instead of being indifferent to the people and dreams on this campus, I decided to run for VP in the hope of creating a larger commitment to change.”

According to Ivey, her major focus is for students’ voices to be heard.

“I think I was worthy of winning because I truly believe in the student body and what we can do with our voices and our actions when given the chance to use them,” Ivey said. “My goal is not to accomplish a certain agenda that I have, but rather to empower students to accomplish what they want to see happen on campus.”

Junior Austin Swift ran unopposed and will serve as SGA controller for the 2016-17 school year alongside Mizel and Ivey. As the primary elections conclude, the Senate elections will run from March 15-18.