Junior Nick Owen walked into St. Mary’s student lounge Wednesday night wearing his white lab coat and sporting a pair of red circles around his eyes from his recently removed lab goggles. He had just come from his evening lab where he serves as a TA. Junior Olivia Mitchell ran in shortly after, out of breath from running from Franz Hall, and immediately embraced Owen.
“We did it,” she said.
On Wednesday night, Owen and Mitchell were elected ASUP president and vice president, respectively, for the 2019-2020 school year. They ran unopposed, and received 93.23 percent of the vote. Both served as ASUP junior class senators for the 2018-2019 academic year.
According to Director of Communications Kathleen Burks, 1,104 students voted in the election, which is 29.73 percent of all eligible voters at UP.
“We’re doing it because we want to do a good job and so with the gratitude that comes from hearing that we won, also comes the responsibility of knowing we have a busy year ahead of us and I think that’s really important,” Owen said.
The election for Director of Finance — which was the only contested ASUP executive board position in this election — is heading to an instant run-off race between freshman Joey Paumier, who served as freshman senator for the 2018-2019 academic year, and junior Brendon Wexted Hand. The run-off will take place April 2-3 starting at 7 a.m. on Tuesday and ending at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
According to the ASUP Constitution, candidates must receive a majority of the vote to be elected— about 51 percent. The election will enter a run-off because neither candidate received the majority vote. Paumier received 36.35 percent of the vote and Wexted Hand received 35.18 percent of the vote. Sophomore Annael Mejia also ran for the position and received 27.49 percent of the vote.
Owen and Mitchell’s slogan was “raise the bar” and they ran on a platform that focused on three main points: campus surroundings, scholarships and student life.
In their speeches last Thursday night, they laid out initiatives they want to work on next year like getting a new student center on campus, having gender pronouns put on student IDs, encouraging interdisciplinary capstones and making facilities on campus more accessible to students with disabilities.
“I think that the ideas that we have for projects are going to be really fun for us to do just because they’re stuff that we’re already really passionate about,” Mitchell said. “I’m really excited for fall to come.”
Owen and Mitchell emphasized that they want the student body to get involved and hold them accountable as leaders of UP.
“We want students to have high expectations for us,” Owen said. “I want people to know that they are empowered to and I think should feel entitled to take ownership of their time at UP. It’s my belief that it’s ASUP’s job to facilitate that, to offer advocacy and support in any possible way, to advance their interests.”
The other candidates for the ASUP executive board, including director of communications and CPB director, ran unopposed for their positions.
Sophomore Ryan Thoms was elected director of communications with 92.99 percent of the vote. Although he has not been an elected member of ASUP in the past, Thoms has been an active member of the communications committee. According to his speech delivered on Speech Night, Thoms hopes to provide more spaces for underrepresented groups on campus and confront the long wait times for appointments at the Health and Counseling Center.
Junior Victoria Beccar Varela was elected Campus Program Board director with 96.4 percent of the vote. She has been working with CPB for the last two years. As director, Beccar Varela hopes to continue to make CPB events like Rock the Bluff and Dance of the Decades memorable and exciting for students.
The Speaker of the Senate, a member of the ASUP executive board, will be determined Saturday, March 30 at an ASUP meeting and must receive a two-thirds vote in the ASUP senate.
Below is a complete list of the newly elected senators:
Kila Ung, Sophomore Class
Connor Heffernan, Sophomore Class
Jordyn Mayer, Junior Class
Sage Taylor, Junior Class
Elizabeth Tripp, Senior Class
David Mudd, Senior Class
Ashley Martinez, College of Arts & Sciences
Zachary Sessa, College of Arts & Sciences
Michael Rewers, Pamplin School of Business
Joe Crowley, Pamplin School of Business
Daniel Sloan, School of Education
Kavya Mandla, Shiley School of Engineering
Kyle O’Connell, Shiley School of Engineering
Monica Millett, School of Nursing
Abby Meyer, School of Nursing
Madison Pfeifer is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.