Newly-elected Student Council President and third-year College student Sarah Kenny and members of the 2017-18 Student Council executive board were sworn March 17 at the grand opening of 1515 University Avenue. Outgoing Student Council leaders took part in the ceremony to hand over their former positions to their successors. Proceedings began with a speech from outgoing vice president for organizations and third-year Engineering student MacKenzie Hodgson, who commented on how much she has grown with and through Student Council. “StudCo has come a long way since I first joined. I felt like I had been dropped in a foreign country without a translator,” Hodgson said. “I’m hoping nobody had this experience this past year.” Hodgson’s speech ended with a hug for her successor, Ty Zirkle, a second-year College student who ran a joint campaign with second-year College student Alex Cintron. Cintron is the newly elected vice president for administration. Zirkle and Cintron commented on the weight and importance of student self-governance in their respective speeches. “Institutions — they matter,” Cintron said. “Student governance can only succeed when students believe in their ability to do good.” In an interview with The Cavalier Daily, Kenny commended the work of the Meriwether Lewis Institute for Citizen Leadership, which is partly responsible for the creation of 1515. “I see no more fitting space to have held our transition for Student Council than 1515, which is a true demonstration of student self-governance,” Kenny said. “I am very excited to use this space as a programing space to make Student Council part of student’s lives in all components, not just on central Grounds.” Previous Student Council President Emily Lodge, a fourth-year Batten student, discussed the role of 1515 in student life after the ceremony. “This is going to be the new home of every student at U.Va. I think,” Lodge said. Over 100 members of the University community turned out for the event, including significant figures such as University President Teresa Sullivan. “It was really meaningful and really special to have not only so many students come but also President Teresa Sullivan came this year, which really meant a lot,” Lodge said. Sullivan briefly spoke with The Cavalier Daily and commented on the importance of the event and its ability to coincide with the opening of 1515. “[It’s an] important event about student government changes, from one class to another,” Sullivan said. “It normally happens where they normally meet, [it’s] nice to take advantage of the new building and have the lunch and the sense of openness.” Maeve Curtin, a third-year College student and the former liaison to the Charlottesville City Council, said she hoped the space could be used to further consider the relationship between the University and the wider community. “I think it’s very fitting that a space that is here to address student concerns and is here to bring people together to collaborate and to enjoy each other’s company, is the perfect place for us to hold this transition,” Curtin said.