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University students to vote on Class Council representatives

Second Year race highly contested, Trustee candidates consider future beyond graduation

<p>After graduation, Fourth Year Trustees will continue to work with the University in their positions for five years.</p>

After graduation, Fourth Year Trustees will continue to work with the University in their positions for five years.

In the upcoming weeks, University second, third and fourth years will elect the presidents and vice presidents for their respective Class Councils. The presidents and vice presidents will then be responsible for selecting the rest of the members of the Council.

Second Year Class Council

The elections for both president and vice president are heavily contested with, four students running for president and five students running for vice president. The incumbents for both positions — first-year College students Erik Roberts and Pak-Hin Luu, respectively — are both running for reelection.

Roberts said he would like another term to build upon the progress he and the Council have made in the past year.

“I think that my vice president and I and the rest of the Council [have] done a pretty good job thus far of creating that experience,” Roberts said. “I think that another year with that continuity we can really take it to the next level.”

If elected for another year, Roberts said he would like to see greater outreach to the students in the Class of 2018 as well as interaction with the incoming class.

“One thing I also want to do for the incoming Class of 2019 is really give them the greatest opportunities to succeed,” Roberts said.

Challenging Roberts are first-year College students Uhunoma Edamwen, Malcolm Stewart and Ryan Hindle.

Stewart, a first-year College student and current First Year Council member, said he would like to see more community-building programs, such as Lighting of the Lawn. He said he is running so he can “effect positive change” around Grounds.

“Having been on First Year Council this year, it’s been something where I’ve seen we have a lot of ability to do a lot for the class and the school as a whole and I want to be a part of that in a larger scale than I have been this year,” Stewart said.

Luu said his experience planning programs this year warrants his reelection. He cited the success of the events the Council planned as reasons he should receive a second term.

Those challenging Luu are first-year College students Jacob Genda, Diane D’Costa, Danny Niez and Brett Curtis.

D’Costa said she is running on the pillars of “LEAD”: legacy, engagement, ambition and delegation. She said she was concerned the Council did not have enough impact around the University.

“I feel like Class Council isn’t present right now,” D’Costa said. “I feel like there’s a disconnect between the student body and Class Council, [and I want to] bridge that gap and get people involved.”

Niez said he would draw upon both his leadership experiences in high school as well as in his first year in order to be an effective vice president. He said his leadership qualities would create a more effective Class Council.

“As vice president I’d be able to make a more organized Class Council that would be more effective and efficient in our dealings therefore having more programs that would reach a wider audience that are not currently being reached,” Niez said.

Third Year Class Council

Third Year Council does not have any incumbent officers running, but presidential candidate Lital Firestone, a second-year College student, has served as the Class of 2017 vice president for the past two years.

Firestone cited her experience as a Multiculturalism Committee member, resident advisor and co-founder of Pulse, a subgroup of Sustained Dialogue focused on diversity in conversation.

“I do a lot of work ... to ensure that we’re listening to different people’s views on what they’re missing in their experience as a U.Va. student so that they can feel included and welcome at our school,” Firestone said.

Firestone is running against Samantha Westrum, a second-year College student. Westrum said her experience as the chair of the Outreach Committee during her first and second years will help her improve the current environment of Class Council, which she described in an e-mail as having “a consistent pattern of miscommunication, lack of transparency and inapproachability.”

Second-year Education student Joshua Leidy and second-year Engineering student Patrick Rice are running for Third Year Council vice president.

“I believe that Class Councils have so much potential to do so much good for their students — but I also believe that our Class Council has yet to to even breach the surface of what we are capable of,” Leidy said in an email.

Rice said in an e-mail his experience as programming and events coordinator for his first-year dorm, a member of the Council’s Outreach Committee and a chair of the Rodman Council qualify him to be vice president of Third Year Council. If elected Rice said he hopes to select a Class Council that best represents the Class of 2017.

Fourth Year Trustees

Third-year College students Jack Vallar and Parisa Sadeghi — the current president and vice president for Third Year Council, respectively — are running for reelection this year in contested races.

Vallar said his three previous years of experience on Class Council as committee chairs and as president make him qualified to maintain his position as president. He said he hopes to continue to broaden the impact of Class Council if elected for next year.

Running against Vallar is third-year College student Andrew Kwon. Kwon said in an e-mail he wants to bring a sense of unity to the Class of 2016 through events next year and beyond graduation. Kwon served as the president of the Class of 2016 in his first and second year.

Sadeghi said in an e-mail she hopes to bring the Class of 2016 together and increase communication with Trustees to determine what is best for the class.

Sadeghi is on the ballot against third-year Commerce student Vicky Abiola and third-year Batten student Donald Fryar.

Abiola said in an email she is running on the ideals of transparency, inclusion, diversity and communication.

Fryar said in an e-mail he feels he is a qualified candidate based on his position on Class Council for the past two years.