Tuesday was a night of firsts and lasts for UT's Student Government Association as the newly elected student senate took their seats for the first time in the body's last meeting of the school year.
Serving senate executives were called on to pass the torch to a new crop of student leaders who were nominated and elected Tuesday to serve during 2013-2014.
Student Services Director Grant Davis faced no opposition from the floor as he presented his nominations to head up the various student services committees which work closely with the Senate.
Similarly, SGA President Jake Baker appointed his executive team without objection from the senators.
However, when the floor opened to student body vice president Paige Atchley, things got more complicated.
Atchley made her nomination for the seat of SGA Senate Chair, and was promptly countered by three nominations from the floor.
Ultimately, after meticulous discussion and two votes, Dante Arnwine, a sophomore in political science and business administration, was chosen by his peers as their leader for the upcoming year, instead of Atchley's nominee.
"I loved that there was some really good debate," Atchley, a junior in marketing, said. "I'm a little disappointed that my appointment didn't get in, but I'm really excited with who the senate chose. I think that they're going to represent us so well."
Arnwine, former senate parliamentarian, expressed confidence in his ability to take on the large leadership role of senate chair.
"I think the transition from Parliamentarian to senate chair will be smooth," Arnwine said. "I have had the fortunate pleasure of working with former Senate Chair Christian Powers on numerous occasions. He has educated me about the duties and responsibilities of the position."
The eagerness to serve was apparent in Arnwine's demeanor as he spoke before the senate prior to voting.
"(UT) didn't have to send me a letter of admission," Arnwine said. "But, when I got that letter, I realized that UT saw potential in me to come here and get an education and go out in the world and represent the university as a proud alumnus. I just feel it's my duty to give back to those who are giving me opportunities in life to be successful, which Tennessee is one."
Though newly appointed, Arnwine already has big plans to steer the senate in a more involved direction.
"I'm really passionate about senate," he said. "I want senate to be more involved in the community, whether if it's reaching out to high school students, picking up trash in the community, or working with the Boys & Girls clubs."
The remaining senate executive positions were filled relatively easily following Arnwine's election. Elected as Senate Secretary was Alicia Purcell, Sargent at Arms went to Austin Arrowood and Parliamentarian was voted to Rob Graham.
Though the new senate is a mix of representatives from three different campaigns, Atchley believes it's an SGA that will be able to work together for the students of the university.
"I'm really excited," she said. "I think that senate is going to do some really big things, especially with all different kinds of ideas coming in. I just think we're going to be way more progressive and productive than we have been in years past."