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Newcomers campaign for open Student Assembly positions

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March 14, 2016

11:54 PM

Campaigning for the 2016-2017 session of the Student Assembly began Monday, March 15. While all 15 remaining members of this session’s senate are running either for re-election in their current positions or for election in a different position, some newcomers to the Student Assembly have decided to put their hat in the ring.

Of the three pairs are campaigning for SA president and SA Vice President, two of the presidential candidates, Sen. Eboni Brown ’17 and Class of 2017 President Katherine Ambrose ’17, are current senators.

One outside ticket is also running. Justin Canakis ’17 is running for president with A.J. Scalia ’17 as his vice presidential running mate. Neither Canakis nor Scalia has ever held a role in the Student Assembly — but Canakis is leveraging his experience with philanthropy events in his fraternity, Sigma Chi, to bolster his bid.

“I feel that there are many issues at William and Mary that need to be addressed for the SA,” Canakis said.

Canakis said he is running for SA president because he wants to further mental health initiatives on campus and use his work with philanthropy to increase school-wide service.

“I feel that there are many issues at William and Mary that need to be addressed for the SA,” Canakis said. “For example, as president I will take a strong stance advocating for mental health. I stand for cohesiveness, healthy relationships, and plan to bridge the gap between student government and student body.”

Canakis, who pointed to a stint as secretary of his high school’s student government for evidence of leadership experience, works in the Molecular and Cardiovascular Physiology laboratory and is a Monroe Scholar. He also is a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity. Canakis and Scalia said they admire Sigma Chi’s philanthropy and want to expand schoolwide philanthropy events. They also want to increase SA transparency and increase communication between the Counseling Center and the student body.

“Sometimes, a fresh face with newer perspectives or ways of doing things brings something extra to a team,” Berry said in an email. “That’s what I believe this will be — a team effort.”

The other newcomer in the class of 2017 is E’Driana Berry ’17. She is running for the position of senator. She said she believes that at this point in her time at the College, she is ready to commit to SA and wants to use her role to further diversity on campus. She hopes that providing a fresh face will add to the conversation.

“Sometimes, a fresh face with newer perspectives or ways of doing things brings something extra to a team,” Berry said in an email. “That’s what I believe this will be — a team effort. I don’t have plans of coming in and turning anything upside down; I just plan on coming and representing the addition of other voices.”

Three new faces are running for election in Class of 2019 positions. Emmanuel Ayeni ’19 is running against current Class of 2019 President Jonah Yesowitz ’19.  Ben Lambert ’19 and Taylor Brooks ’19 are also running for Class of 2019 senate positions.

Brooks transferred to the College this semester and wants to focus on the College’s shortcomings in food, the Campus Recreation Center and parking. According to Brooks, she is better than other candidates because her time at another Virginia university exposed her to another student government and gave her many ideas.

“I have talked to many students about the meal plan system here and they have echoed my wish that students could either choose an extremely reduced meal plan or even choose not to purchase a meal plan at all,” Brooks said. “I think this would be my number one policy goal as well as working with Sodexo to increase healthy options. I would also like to allocate more funding to the Rec to upgrade cardio equipment and offer more group fitness classes.”

Joining the five current Class of 2018 senate members in campaigning are Charlie Crane ’18 and Nathaniel Sutherland ’18. Campaigning for the election started at midnight on March 14 and will extend through this week.

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Sarah Smith

News Editor Sarah Smith '19 is an undeclared major from Ashburn, VA. She formerly served as Associate News Editor.