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Five candidates compete for Second Year Council president

One of the most contested student elections of 2016

With five candidates, the race for Second Year Council president is one of the most contested on the ballot this spring.

First-year College students Anant Das, Galen Green, Zane Homsi and Eddie Lin, and first-year Engineering student Ahmad Shawwal are running for the position.

Historically, these two races have always had a high volume of candidates, Shawwal, the current First Year Council president, said.

"If you look at the [University Board of Elections] votes, the first-year elections and the spring elections for the first-years tend to be the most contested just because you’re new to the University,” Shawwal said. “You’re coming in with a lot of energy and with a lot of passion, and I think that’s a great thing.”

Lin said the race may be contested due to the character of the the first-year class.

"We have a lot of strong leaders in our class, and I think each of us kind of have a different style of leadership that we believe would bring the most effective change to our Class Council," Lin said.

All five of the candidates for second-year president are currently serving on First Year Council. This may also be contributing to the number of candidates, Homsi said.

"Every person running for office has served on First Year Council in some capacity," Homsi said in an email statement. "I believe that all five of us have a very good understanding of both the accolades and pitfalls of First Year Council and are running to turn those pitfalls into points of growth for Second Year Council."

Das said candidates’ experiences on First Year Council may have encouraged the students to run for office.

“I think the race... is one of the most contested because the First Year Leadership Experience attracted a lot of leaders to First Year Council,” Das said in an email statement. “And so many of us have loved our time in FYC and are very passionate about how we want to see Second Year Council run.”

Green said the competitive election is a “true testament” to the Class of 2019.

“I would be proud to have not just anyone running, but anyone in the class as a president,” she said in an email statement.

Shawwal said he would focus on diversifying the Second Year Council to reflect the whole University community if elected.

"At Commencement, [University] President Teresa Sullivan said we have 84 different countries represented in our first-year class and I want to make sure that our student body, or our Council, at least in some ways, represents that diversity," Shawwal said.

Green said she wants to provide more professional development resources.

"Second year is the year we start to decide our major and get internships — I want to help my class with that,” Green said. “As class president, I want to make the great resources we have available to us easily accessible to all of us.”

Green also said she wants to create programs for transfer students “to not just meet other transfer students, but to meet every student.”

If elected, Homsi said he plans to focusing making the council more accessible and responsive to the students it serves.

“Students should have a right to not only see the inner workings of the [council] but be able to comment on how the [council] handles business," Homsi said. "I will… [make] sure the programming, actions and publications that Second Year Council creates reflects exactly what the class desires.”

As president, Das said his primary area of focus would be creating a wider variety of more inclusive events.

"I want SYC events to be events that welcome everyone and tailor to the needs of students and minority groups, so that all students feel part of the 2019 community," Das said. "Moreover, I want a greater variety of events to be organized by [S]YC, including more frequent social, athletic, and mental wellness events as well as having several career advising events."

Lin said he hopes to connect the Second Year Council and the second-year class more closely.

"Right now a lot of people in our class overall don’t know what’s going on with First Year Council and I believe we need to have more outreach in letting people know what we’re doing," Lin said.

Opening the Class Council up to all members of the class and letting them vote through polls and more avenues for suggestions may be a way to get more members of the Class of 2019 involved, Lin said.

More candidates are running for Second Year Council president this year than in recent years. There were four candidates in 2015 and one candidate in 2014.