Elijah Heslop fills in as interim SGA vice president

On Dec. 6, the student senate voted Heslop to be the new interim vice president. Photo courtesy of Butler Stories

LILY O’CONNOR | STAFF REPORTER | lkoconnor@butler.edu 

RYANN BAHNLINE | NEWS CO-EDITOR| rbahnline@butler.edu 

Elijah Heslop, a senior philosophy-psychology major, has stepped into the open position of the Student Government Association (SGA) vice president following former Vice President Suchi Bandaru’s early graduation at the end of the fall 2023 semester. 

Katie Stanley, a senior psychology major and current president of SGA, worked with Bandaru to choose an interim vice president for the spring semester. They had plenty of time to choose the right fit as Bandaru decided to graduate early shortly after the spring 2023 presidential elections in March, when she and Stanley became the presidential elects for the 2023-24 school year. However, a formal announcement was not posted to the Butler SGA Instagram page until Dec. 7 stating that Bandaru would be stepping down. 

“My understanding was sometime after we had been sworn in, then she ultimately made the decision to [graduate early],” Stanley said. 

Stanley said the choice to wait until December to make the announcement of Bandaru leaving was made out of a lack of necessity and urgency. Stanley said that she knew the transition was going to be mainly internal, similar to the vice president role. 

“The vice president’s pretty much [an] internally facing role,” Stanley said. “They can step up when I’m not there and serve as the president or serve as the speaker [of the house]. There was no need to rock the boat or make waves if there was nothing super serious [that was] going to change besides a title.” 

Stanley and Bandaru considered candidates they believed would be a good fit from both inside and outside SGA before deciding on Heslop, who started this school year as the chief of staff. However, along with being selected by the president, it is typical practice that the interim vice president is confirmed and voted on by the student senate. Stanley said that if the vice president position becomes vacant, the president is to appoint a vice president. The role cannot stay vacant. 

“Since Elijah was already privy to much of the projects occurring in the organization, he became the most appropriate pick [for vice president],” Stanley said. “In addition to this, Elijah takes any task given to him very seriously, so managing and maintaining records for the organization was something Suchi and I were both very comfortable and confident in handing over to Elijah.” 

By late November, Stanley made the decision to offer Heslop the position. Heslop said he debated taking the position, because he really enjoyed working as chief of staff, but ultimately accepted the vice president position. 

“It was exciting [when they offered me the position],” Heslop said. “I really like my job as chief of staff, but something about being able to just continue to make a larger impact on the organization and Butler University really excited me, so I accepted the position.” 

At the student senate meeting on Dec. 6, Heslop was unanimously voted on to be the interim vice president. 

The chief of staff position was left empty by Heslop, so Stanley selected Lucy Olmstead, a senior marketing major and former director of public relations of SGA, to fill in. The chief of staff position does not need to be confirmed by the senate because the chief of staff reports directly to the president. 

“Lucy was selected as chief of staff because she is an incredible people and project manager,” Stanley said. “She managed to run a very successful board all the while managing an intense internship and a high-stakes VP position in her sorority.” 

Olmstead is excited for her last semester at Butler and is looking forward to holding a new position after being director of public relations of SGA for over a year. 

“When I was initially offered the position, I took some time to think,” Olmstead said. “I had been serving as the director of PR for over a year at that point, so I thought it would be a great time to let someone else step into that role so I could move on to different avenues and just see the organization from a different perspective as the chief of staff.” 

Olmstead’s former position will be filled by Ellie Hanlon, a senior organizational communication and leadership major. 

This semi-new administration is excited to get started and complete as much as possible before the presidential elections in April. Heslop is hoping to work with Stanley to finish the original goals and promises made by Stanley and Bandaru, such as making the Health and Recreation Center more student-focused. 

“I’m really excited to just continue to make a larger impact and meet so many new people,” Heslop said. “It sounds really mushy, but it’s so cool just to get to talk to people. Vice president is still a pretty internal-facing role, but I can make it so much more if I want to, so I’m going to just continue to work with Katie to be outward-facing and try to be involved everywhere I can.” 

Stanley is confident in the new appointments that have been made in SGA. 

“I think that everyone should know that SGA’s in good hands,” Stanley said. “Elijah is extremely passionate about issues and is a huge believer in accountability and transparency.”


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