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Newly-elected First-year Council leaders share hopes for Class of 2027

Roughly 30 percent of the first-year class voted in the election

Sleadd and Thiruvengadam are working on plans for a first-year formal and hope to promote diversity and wellness initiatives.
Sleadd and Thiruvengadam are working on plans for a first-year formal and hope to promote diversity and wellness initiatives.

First-year College students Jackson Sleadd and Harini Thiruvengadam were recently elected as President and Vice President, respectively, of the First-Year Council for the academic year. Following intense campaigning efforts, the pair hopes to build a strong, open connection with the first years as well as with various organizations across Grounds. 

Elections were held this month through the University Board of Elections, with results released Oct. 12. In the ranked choice format, students do not just vote for one candidate, but rather rank each candidate in the order of their preference. 

Sleadd and Thiruvengadam are working on plans for a first-year formal and hope to promote diversity and wellness initiatives.

“The main goals that we had are to build relationships with [Contracted Independent Organizations] and also the Multicultural Student Center to foster class events,” Thiruvengadam said. “We also want to plan events that first-years can use as a way to get to know each other.”

FYC is the representative body for first-year students at the University. The Council is responsible for fostering connections and organizing events for first-years to participate in. 

Of 4,021 students in the first-year class, roughly 30 percent of the class voted in each election, with the 1,555 students voting for FYC president position. This is a similar turnout to last year, when about 34 percent of first-year students voted.

Sleadd was elected by 714 votes and Thiruvengadam by 686. 

Sleadd and Thiruvengadam chose to run jointly due to their shared vision for the Class of 2027. The pair thought their stances on the importance of transparency and openness matched well and that they would be able to work together effectively for their class. 

“We wanted a very open Council where we take a lot of effort to plan events and resources that first-years really want to see,” Thiruvengadam said.  “So just the goal of really running a council that is for the first-years.” 

During the campaigning process, candidates established a social media presence and chalking to increase their visibility to first-year voters. 

Sleadd said the campaign was demanding and required consistent effort from candidates. 

“We were up until probably 2 a.m. every night doing something related to the campaign,” Sleadd said. “[We were] trying to make sure we had our names and faces out there.” 

With close to 350 followers on Instagram, as well as through efforts like chalking and talking directly with first years, Sleadd and Thiruvengadam aimed to reach a wide audience. 

These campaigning efforts paid off. First-year College student Lisa DeGroot said that the visibility of Sleadd and Thiruvendagam’s campaign played a large role in her eventually voting for them during the election. 

“Seeing a name on the ballot that you recognize, it's like ‘Oh, I know them, so I vote for them’,” DeGroot said. “I think that just getting themselves known to the public definitely played a huge role.” 

Though the FYC has selected their leaders, its work has just begun. Following this election, Sleadd and Thiruvengadam will work together to select the general body of the First-year Council. 

The FYC will share events and initiatives with their peers via their instagram page.

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