Elliott Echols elected Student Association President

By Jacqueline Evans and Danny Cozzi

DeKALB | After two days of voting throughout the campus, the results are in for the 2011-12 Student Association and Campus Activities Board elections.

This year, a total of 1,189 students voted in the SA and CAB election. The turnout was lower than last year, in which more than 1,600 students voted. In 2009, 1,050 students voted and in 2008, 681 students voted in SA and CAB elections.

Elliot Echols won the SA presidency with 866 votes. Echols said he was very excited about the victory and looks forward to a change at NIU.

“I promise I will bring a change and a new focus to a campus that is a sleeping giant,” Echols said.

Echols’ opponent, Derek Koegel, said he was disappointed in the low voter turnout.

“The low turnout, in my opinion, means it wasn’t really an overall mandate for either candidate,” Koegel said, who collected 248 votes. Koegel added that his campaign was low-key, and therefore it could have been worse.

Jen Johnsen ran unopposed for the SA vice presidency. She said she has big plans for the future.

“I am very honored and excited about my new position, and I want to make the organizational expo bigger and better next year, as well as increasing student involvement at Northern,” Johnsen said.

SA Treasurer Jermey Sanchez also ran unopposed for his position. Sanchez was appointed Tuesday to finish out former SA Treasurer Darrell Nelson’s term. Nelson stepped down after being arrested Sunday for a DUI. Sanchez thanked all the students who voted for him.

“I am ecstatic that all the work my ticket and I had put through the last six weeks has paid off,” he said.

Jaemin Robertson, current SA vice president, was elected to student trustee. He said he was humbled by the vote and excited by the opportunity. Robertson received 815 votes while his opponent, Nora Lindvall, received 304 votes.

“Getting the opportunity to meet new faces and reach out to various student groups will allow me to better represent the student body on my various committee assignments,” Lindvall said.

In addition to voting for SA and CAB positions, NIU students were also able to give their opinion about the possible plus/minus grading system. 707 NIU students voted against the system while 217 students voted in favor of implementing the system, and 140 students were undecided.

“I voted for the plus/minus system,” said Jennifer Schmitt, a freshman physical therapy major. “I want to have an impact on how the grading would work.”

If approved, the new grading system would allow a student’s GPA to be affected by a plus or minus grade.


Rickey Layfield, the newly-elected CAB president, said he is excited about his plans for the campus next year.

“I feel like a dream has come true; I really wanted this,” Layfield said. “I plan on getting more students involved and to execute programs that will appeal to the whole campus.”  

Cameron Lythberg said he was excited about his win for vice president of administration for CAB.

“I just got the news, and I’m excited,” Lythberg said. “I couldn’t be happier.”

Brianna Dark said she is excited and eager to start her new position as the vice president of programming for CAB.

“I am happy to see that my hard work paid off, and I’m ready to work,” said Dark.

The newly-elected vice president for finance, Demetrius Strong said he was happy about the students’ decision.

“I’m really glad and surprised to have won,” Strong said. “I was going against a great candidate, and I’m happy I’m the one the student body cast their vote for.”


Freshman biology major Kenny Wang said he also encourages the significance of voting.

“Voting is an exercised democratic feature,” Wang said, “It’s a system our country is founded on.”

There are, however, students who disagree with the voting process. Senior history major Dan Godlewski said he wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about the elections held this week.

“I don’t care to vote since I feel that the SA is a petty and unimportant organization anyways,” Godlewski said. “Only you can represent you.”

SA Senator Brian Troutman said he believes that it’s important for all students to have their voices heard through the ballot system. He said though many don’t realize it, the elected members of the SA and CAB do affect students’ lives.

“The SA decides what groups get funded and the CAB is responsible for a lot of the events on campus,” Troutman said. “When you consider that, who your student leaders are does affect your life.”