Five students compete for Second Year Council president

All five candidates involved in respective dormitory’s Association Council or First Year Council

ns-2021Logo-CourtesyU.Va.AlumniAssociation

Five candidates are running to be Second Year Class Council President

Courtesy U.Va. Alumni Association

With one student having dropped out from the preliminary list of candidates, there will be five contenders running for Second Year Council president and three for vice president. The students may start campaigning Friday, and voting runs from Feb. 21 to 23.

Casey Schmidt, a fourth-year College student and chair of the University Board of Elections, said that five first-year students running to be second-year president follows the previous election pattern and comes as no surprise.

“There were 12 people [running] for the first-year president in the fall. Now, half that number runs for second-year [president] in the spring semester,” Schmidt said. “Half as many. It falls into the pattern of being less competitive as times goes on with fewer and fewer people challenging the race.” 

All five candidates joined the race with some new platforms they hope will benefit the Class of 2021. First-year College student Omar Metwally, who currently serves as the social chair for the First Year Council, said he decided to run for second-year president with the intention of increasing council’s accountability. 

“As an elected representative, you are supposed to be voting on things,” Metwally said. “There are very rare times that we vote on anything within the First Year Council ... I just think there are lots of things that can be fixed within the First Year Council.”

Metwally pointed to the importance of fundraising, citing his goal to raise money to host more meaningful social events.   

“There are millions of different things, such as being more creative and doing things that surprise the second-year class,” Metwally said. “I believe I can do what is needed to be done to get us somewhere better and to make sure everybody is well-represented.” 

First-year College student Jason Anderson, a presidential candidate who serves as the First Year Council academic wellness chair, said he is mostly concerned about the council’s communication gap. 

“As for our class right now, the communication between the executive board, the council and to the class isn’t too effective,” Anderson said. “We currently have an Instagram page with 250 followers — for a class of 3,000 to 4,000 students there are definitely gaps. I would like to fill the gap.” 

Anderson also said he hopes to ensure that minority groups are well-represented and expects the class council to increase diversity.

“I think we should really work on increasing the different kinds of people who come to our events,” Anderson said. “Inclusion is very important but is slightly overlooked.”

First-year College student Anna Yee, who currently serves as Kellogg dormitory’s Association Council president, said she joined the presidential race with three core values — voice, transparency and inclusivity.

“I am running because I want to create a class identity that is cohesive and everyone is unified under one name,” Yee said. “One thing I really want to work on is communication with the class.”

First Year president Tyler Windsor said he decided to run for second-year president to continue the work he has started in year one. Having created the Diversity and Outreach Committee, Windsor said he expects to make the Class of 2021 an open place for everybody. 

“My main reason for running for the first time was to create an open and supportive environment for everyone at U.Va., especially after the event in August,” Windsor said. “I want to bring people close together from different backgrounds so they can know each other better.” 

Mckenzie Fischer, who is the current Gooch dormitory’s Association Council president, said she expects to bring the feeling of home to everybody in the Class of 2021 if elected president.  

“We will be living in apartments, and some will be living in houses,” Fischer said. “But I want to make sure that we can still come together and feel the sense of home that originally drew us here.”

The candidates indicated they consider the competitiveness of the election as a promising sign that students care and want to work as a team for the sake of their class.

“I think all [five] of us are running because we have a vision for our class and what we want our class to get as a second year,” Yee said. “We are working towards the same goal to have a successful second year.”

Daniel Wang, a first-year Engineering student and former presidential candidate, said in an email to The Cavalier Daily that he decided to drop out of the race due to anticipated time commitments in the upcoming semester.

Clifford Cleveland, first-year College student and candidate for second-year vice president, said he believes that this year’s competitiveness stems from students’ determination and passion to improve the council and better serve the class. 

“I don’t think that people are running for office solely to oust each other from office,” Cleveland said, “but because each candidate is determined to make the council better.”

Taylor Thompson, first-year College student and candidate for second-year vice president, said he is delighted by the enthusiasm surrounding the election.

“Every council has its own personality, and it really isn’t a question of fixing something,” Thompson said. “Each year is a new year with new opportunities. We learn from what we try … I think it is fabulous to see this much energy surrounding the Second Year Council election.”

First-year College student Kristin Myers, co-chair of the Diversity and Outreach Committee and candidate for second-year vice president, said she wants to improve upon the communication within the council as well as between the class council and the Class of 2021.

“I want to make sure that members of the council don’t feel like they are behind closed doors, or feel like they are inadequately informed about what the council is doing,” Myers said. “I want to let everyone feel involved in the most productive way. I also want to make sure that important information is conveyed to the class in an appropriate and timely manner.”

Candidates have focused on conducting endorsement interviews and preparing for the final race. Following the voting period, UBE will announce the final result Feb. 23.

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