Voters’ Guide to Student Council Elections

5416005From February 19-25, the UVa student body will be able to vote in the 2016 Student Elections. Hosted by the University of Virginia’s Board of Elections, the races for Student Council, Judiciary Committee, and Honor Committee Representatives will be open for voting to each student for their school of enrollment. Additionally, University-wide elections are being held for student Council Chairs and two honor constitution amendments. Ballots can be submitted online at To help orient our readers, the staff of WUVAonline has reached out to all candidates running for positions on Student Council to create the 2016 Voters’ Guide. Here, in their own words, is what each candidate believes they will bring to our Student Council.


Presidential Candidates
1831675Abraham Axler
“I’m running to ensure that Council is not an abstract body forcing top-down decision making, but a lively coalition of students dedicated to progress. Student Council’s foremost aim should be solving student concerns. It is the only organization on grounds entirely dedicated to being responsive to the needs of our constituents. In times of crisis and always, I want Student Council to be place where your voice is heard—a place where students can be critical of the status quo and the impetus of reform.”

9447559Emily Lodge
“I am running for office because I want to make Student Council more transparent and effective in addressing student concerns and I genuinely care about the well-being of every student…I value every student’s opinion and want to empower others to make the changes they see fit at the University. I firmly believe Student Council has the potential to positively impact the experience of every student… it just takes the right kind of leadership to make things happen.” – Official Statement of Intent
Vice President for Administration Candidates
7900582Michael Eaton Byrd
“My name is Michael J. Eaton Byrd and I am running for Vice President for Administration. One main issue I want to resolve are to make earlier hours of Safe Ride on the weekends as many students cannot wait until 2:30 Thursday-Sunday as not all students go out and party every weekend.”
4189132Sarah Kenney
“This organization has undergone fundamental change in the last year in regard to our recruitment process and overall attitude of acceptance and community, and I believe that I can bring cohesion, synergy and structure to this reinvigorated key institution…If elected, I would bring a critical eye to the structure of StudCo, as the organization of committees, means of communication and operative tasks of the council have not been sufficiently reevaluated in regard to the transformative recruitment process that was implemented earlier this school year. I aspire to instill a sense of pride and ownership of this representative body within every individual in our community, and to empower them to realize that no matter is too small or too large for us to address, may it arise from the halls of Dillard or Darden.” – Official Statement of Intent
789919Uhunoma Edamwen
“Student Council – and, more broadly, UVA – needs a change for the better. I run out of a sense of empathy with the experiences to be an effective catalyst for change if elected by you…We deserve leaders who will actually stick to their promises, stay in touch with their community, and work tirelessly to promote the greater good. That is what I’ve done this year as a Student Council Representative, and what I will do even more of as VPA. Specifically, I’m running to make Student Council more inclusive, accessible, transparent, diverse, and effective. This plan manifests itself in my ‘UNO’ platform: Unifying Students, Normalizing Transparency, and Organizing Effectively and the initiatives I outlined on my website.”
Vice President for Organizations
3818360MacKenzie Hodgson
“I am running for StudCo VPO because I believe in the importance of the office and in StudCo’s potential to effect positive change. Our diversity and breadth of organizations is one of the reasons UVA is so great; CIOs provide outlets for students’ talents as well as creating essential smaller communities within our large university. As VPO I plan to develop closer relationships to CIOs, with more ongoing communication; I want to be a resource to them as much as possible. Specifically, I plan to address the inefficient use of the existing CIO consultants committee and to work on being able to provide food for CIOs. Additionally, I will work toward a much needed culture change, pushing StudCo towards inclusivity, efficiency and clarity.”
1681036Alex Cutting
“I’m running for VPO because I’m truly passionate about student self-governance and working together with my peers to better UVA for every student. I believe that with my experience on the Appropriations Committee, the StudCo committee overseen by the VPO, and the personal connections I’ve made with CIOs over my years at UVA, I can be a great VPO. If elected, I hope to ensure all CIOs have fair access to the resources of Student Council and to engage students through personal outreach by providing open office hours and a friendly face for voicing concerns.”

Presidential Candidates 
6914821Anant Das
“My campaign is focused around Variety, Inclusivity, and Accountability. My vision includes more variety in events by hosting academic and career-related events (major advising, networking workshops, resume-building) and more frequent smaller-scale events. More inclusivity in that all second year students should feel part of the 2019 community through widespread marketing efforts and the co-programming of events with CIOs and minority groups to help serve and understand the needs of all students in our class. Lastly, restructure council to be more efficient by adding accountability to smaller, more focused committees.”
9231473Galen Green
“To me, second year is a lot about finding yourself; we have to declare a major, get internships, and start planning our lives, so one big plan I have for next year is making the great resources we have available to us through career services even more accessible to the student body. Furthermore, I know we will be getting a lot of transfer students this year, and I want them all to feel just at home and happy here on grounds as I do, which can be accomplished by having more mixers between transfer students and other students. Finally, I want this year to be fun, which means having events people are interested in, and I want to accomplish this by having a diverse and innovative group of students serving as SYC members.”
9140721Eddie Lin
“I’m running for Class President to create a more effective class council that better represents and serves our class a whole. I believe our class council needs to improve its transparency and also increase opportunities for accepting input and ideas from students by creating an online forum system open to our entire class. I will work tirelessly for you every day in making a class council that everybody can be proud of.”

Other Candidates
: Ahmad Shawwal
Vice Presidential Candidates
6004067Floyd Black
“Coming from inner-city Los Angeles, I feel like I have a better understanding than most candidates on how to deal with a diverse group of people. I want to involve everyone through initiatives aimed at hearing every view in the class, as it is often through these individuals that our greatest feats our produced. I want to stand for and involve everyone because if the class council is not representative of every member of this class, then we fail. “
4579137Stephanie Soh
“I am running to help better the Class of 2019’s understanding of one another. I want to embrace our diversity, identities, skills and backgrounds to enhance the appreciation of our overall community. In doing so, I hope to bring greater unity to the legacy of our bicentennial class.”
Other Candidates: Ronnie Kuriakose

Presidential Candidates 
8896975Anna Ellis
6133876Malcolm Stewart
Vice Presidential Candidates
8040384Juliana McCormick
“As Third Year Council Vice President, I will create opportunities for communication between Class Council and third year students, enabling our organization to better address the needs of our class. I will implement community office hours, wherein all classmates can meet their representatives and voice their concerns, ideas, and more. I will create an online forum for providing feedback on Class Council events and suggesting future ones, ensuring that we plan events that appeal to all class members—not just Council members. I will make myself very available to my classmates, gladly meeting with any student who wishes to be heard. I love talking to people and making new friends, and I hope to be a friend to all Class of 2018 members.” – Official Statement
7547609Diane D’Costa
“I am running for Third Year Council Vice President because I love class council! And, I want to see it reach its fullest potential. These past two years I have gotten to see what makes class council special- we have the opportunity to bring different communities of our class together in order to create a collective identity and share experiences that will make our time here at UVA the best it can be. Class Council has such a unique role and so many resources to do amazing things for our class. We have so much potential, and I want to make the endless possibilities a reality.”
20533Pak-Hin Luu
“My intentions are simple! I love my home at UVA. I’ve been able to make a difference for the Class of 2018 these past two years and I would love to continue to do so our Third Year as Class of 2018 Vice President.”

Presidential Candidates
6837741Patrick Rice
“Serving as Vice President of the Class of 2017 for the past year, I have spearheaded efforts to tackle key issues in the class with the purpose of creating a more complete, inclusive class identity. I hope to carry that success to the position of Fourth Year Trustees President, since the office holds serious command over how we shape our affiliation with UVA – we have a responsibility to define our contributions to the University in a way that represents all corners of the class, and I plan to do just that.”
9369683Samantha Westrum
“As a three-year committee chair on Class Council, I have grown incredibly passionate about the work our organization does and the capacity I believe we have to make a difference in the lives of our classmates. From inclusive community service, to useful mental health resources, to relevant career services, I believe my goals for the Class of 2017 will meaningfully impact the lives of my classmates, and that excites me to run for Trustees President.”
Vice Presidential Candidates
8692813Josh Leidy
“Serving on the Class of 2017 Class Council for three years has shown me that Council is special in that it has the ability to do so much real good for so many people, but our previous officers only led us to scratch the surface of our potential. I am running for Trustees Vice President because I believe that I can lead our council to truly have a great impact on the entire class.”
8275808Ngan Pham
“I want to be the Vice President of the Class of 2017 to further my dedication to the Class and to ensure that the years to come are the ones to truly remember. I strive to deliver fond memories, while enacting reasonable change to better address the evolving needs of our diverse class.”
All photographs courtesy of the candidates’ campaign ads


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