Meet the new student body president


Photo by: Madison Sharrock

(Left to right) Gabrielle Ryder, new Student Government Association president; Claudia Bornholdt, co-adviser of SGA; Kenzie Skidmore, Chief of staff . SGA officers consult their adviser during their Jan. 30 meeting after a change in leadership.

Sophomore Gabrielle Ryder may be new to the position as Student Government Association president, but student leadership is nothing new to her.

Previously as SGA’s executive vice president, Ryder led SGA meetings and built rapport for herself with the senators individually.

Student Government Association President Gabrielle Ryder served
her first meeting Jan. 30 in the role. Ryder swore in freshman senator Elisabeth Feichter as one of her first duties as president. (Photo by Madison Sharrock)

“I think everyone’s really ready to continue moving forward and to kind of just pick up where we left off and see what bigger and better things we could do,” she said regarding the future of the organization after the impeachment.

Ryder is studying forensic psychology with a minor in Spanish. She is from Smithsburg, Maryland, and decided to attend Coastal because she was offered the best financial aid packet and a position in the honors program.

Since the eighth grade, Ryder said she has found a passion for advocacy, which she believes sets her apart from previous presidents. When she was a senior in high school, she held a number of student government leadership positions.

Ryder said college student government has helped her grow. Her work as a CCU leader differs from her roles in middle and high school when all she had to worry about was Homecoming and spirit week.

“SGA has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember,” she said. “I think a lot of it is just my love of people and that spills over to wanting to make sure that people are being taken care of in best way possible.”

She said her freshman year of high school is when she developed a passion to advocate for mental health awareness. She created a non-profit organization “Stop Stigma.” Ryder ran the organization throughout her years in high school.

“Once I became a senior in high school, I was appointed by Maryland’s governor to the Governor’s Commission on suicide prevention,” she said. “So, I was the only student who worked on a commission filled with other mental health professionals, state officials and just people who were really knowledgeable in the in the field.”

Moving forward, Ryder hopes to do “boots on the ground work” by making SGA’s presence known. She said student complaints can be turned into changes if they make their voices heard. Her ultimate goal is to fill student senate seats.

Photo by Madison Sharrock

“I know that even outside of SGA there are so many students who have a passion for wanting to make change, but don’t necessarily know the avenues that they can go,” Ryder said.

Some future projects for SGA include partnerships with multiple clubs and organizations on campus including Coastal Activities Board, Chant411 and Teal and Bronze Society. She wants to encourage the senators to initiate these partnerships as well.

Elections will be held as normal toward the middle of this semester. Ryder said she plans to run for a position but is unsure about which one because her responsibilities as executive vice president and student body president are vastly different.