Senate structure, student belonging among things student senate candidates hope to address

The 110th SMU Student Senate elections are underway. Reshaping SMU’s campus environment to make it more inclusive is among the top initiatives for SMU Student Body president candidates.

Student body officer candidates will debate tonight at 7 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Auditorium. Alex Alarcon, Hope Heiden and Tulsi Lohani are the candidates running for student body president.

Alarcon is a junior majoring in history and political science. He currently holds a position as the vice president of student senate. His main initiative if he is elected focuses on restructuring student senate.

“I believe that the structure of Senate is old and outdated, and that’s what’s preventing our senators from accomplishing more things, and truly working on what students really care about,” Alarcon said.

Alex Alarcon, Student Body President candidate, is a junior majoring in history and political science.
Alex Alarcon, student body president candidate (Photo credit: Sara Hummadi)

Another initiative Alarcon plans to address is parking by working to install sensors in parking garages to alert students about how many spots are left. He also plans to increase scholarships for transfer students and expand funding for textbooks.

Students and faculty need a better way to reach their representatives, said Tulsi Lohani, a sophomore majoring in political communication and journalism who is also seeking the president’s post.

He plans to launch “MeetSMU,” a platform that will allow students and faculty to reach student senators or executive members to address their issues. He also plans to nominate at least 25 student directors to navigate this.

Tulsi Lohani, student body president candidate
Tulsi Lohani, student body president candidate (Photo credit: Sara Hummadi)

When I was thinking about these past two years at SMU and my next two years,” said Lohani, the senate’s current parliamentarian. I realized that the narrative in senate needs to change.”

Freshman students need a better sense of belonging on SMU’s campus, said Hope Heiden, a junior majoring in political science and international relations. She plans to create a committee that focuses on students as they enter SMU. Heiden draws from personal experiences with this initiative.

Hope Heiden, student body president candidate
Hope Heiden, student body president candidate (Photo credit: Sara Hummadi)

“When I first got here, I felt out of touch with the university,” Heiden said. “It was hard for me to get involved right away.”

There will be a meet and greet with candidates tonight at 6:30 p.m. prior to the debate. Elections will be held on April 5 at 9 a.m. through April 6 at noon. Students can vote on Connect.

Full list of candidates:


  • Alex Alarcon
  • Hope Heiden
  • Tulsi Lohani

Vice President:

  • Faith Bombito
  • Joey Grey
  • Krish Madhura


  • Clayton Meyer
  • Mir Shah


  • Dylan Caputo
  • Michael Castle

Featured photo contributed by SMU Student Senate.