Class of 2022 elections underway, seven compete for class president

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Class of 2022 presidential candidates and their posters in Campus Center. MADELINE MONROE / THE FLAT HAT

Next week, the College of William and Mary’s Student Assembly will welcome five new elected representatives from the class of 2022. Freshmen will vote Thursday, Oct. 4 for four class senators and one class president.

This fall, there are a total of seven candidates running for class president and 11 candidates running for four senator positions. Once elected, the new representatives will be responsible for weekly senate and committee meetings as well as working on long-term projects with SA secretaries and undersecretaries.

One candidate for class president, Suhas Suddala ’22, said he is running for the position because he developed a passion for student government in high school and is hoping to use a leadership position to make others feel safe discussing their problems with him.

“I did a lot of student government when I was at my old school and I loved the fact that it’s along the lines of making a difference, but it’s the satisfaction of seeing your plans come through,” Suddala said. “But that’s a minor reason. The main reason is that being in a leadership position puts you in a place where people can come to you more easily with their problems. … I feel like as long as I am open, I can connect and reach out to a lot of people while doing student government.”

“I did a lot of student government when I was at my old school and I loved the fact that it’s along the lines of making a difference, but it’s the satisfaction of seeing your plans come through,” Suddala said. “But that’s a minor reason. The main reason is that being in a leadership position puts you in a place where people can come to you more easily with their problems. … I feel like as long as I am open, I can connect and reach out to a lot of people while doing student government.”

Once these candidates decided to run, they were given under two weeks to campaign. Candidates have created websites, social media pages, visited residence halls and posted flyers to announce their candidacies. Henry Philpott ’22, who is running for class president, has tried to use his sense of humor to attract voters.

“I’ve been posting a lot of flyers that are kind of funny to catch people’s attention,” Philpott said. “I have a [humorous] side, I love being able to connect with people on that level. … I’ve been encouraging people to just check out what I believe in and what I stand for as a candidate. If I don’t fit what they desire as a presidential candidate, I want them to be open to voting for who [they think] will represent the school best as president.”

Central issues in the upcoming election vary. For some candidates, what matters in their platform is their personality. For others, a specific issue is at the heart of their platforms.

Tom Plant ’22, who is also running, identifies as a timid person and sees this as something that will help him connect with other students if he were elected. For Plant, his main issue is ensuring what he calls a “diversity of voice,” a campus where everyone feels comfortable speaking.

“The main issue would be … having the school be a safe place for people so they can find it easy to be courageous,” Plant said. “If you have such an open and loving environment, people will be more confident in speaking their minds, when they won’t be considered an outsider for it.”

To achieve this, Plant said he’d like to see SA host more group discussions for students on controversial topics.

Philpott said the most important issue in his platform is improving class registration. He said he is inspired by systems like one in place at Northwestern University, where students are assigned a certain amount of points that they can use to secure spots in classes needed for their major. He said he would also like to help create a database that would match students with student organizations based on their interests.

Suddala said that he has met with current SA President Brendan Boylan ’19 to discuss what issues are relevant to the student body. He said that Boylan identified mental health issues and the student stress culture as two things that Suddala should pay attention to.

“One of the main issues [for me] is outreach and being able to form a closer community,” Suddala said. “… I think there is still that stress culture that needs to be fixed. One part of my platform is making it easier for people to get help and having a closer and safer environment for people to be open to sharing their problems.”

“One of the main issues [for me] is outreach and being able to form a closer community,” Suddala said. “… I think there is still that stress culture that needs to be fixed. One part of my platform is making it easier for people to get help and having a closer and safer environment for people to be open to sharing their problems.”

Suddala said that one event he would like to plan is a mixer where each student would be matched with three other students in the hopes of helping them make friends.

Philpott, Plant and Suddala are joined in the race by Sana Slotbloom ’22, Philip Andoh ’22, William Weston ’22 and Litzy Morales ’22. Stephanie Son ’22, Jared Rose ’22, Ansh Patel ’22, Ben Marcus ’22, Meghana Boojala ’22, Suzanne Cole ’22, Mark Smith ’22, Jack Thomas ’22, Jahnavi Prabhala ’22, Victoria Morales ’22 and Emilio Cuebas ’22 are all campaigning for a seat in the senate.

Voting will begin in the morning of Oct. 4. Students will vote via electronic ballots, and results will be announced later that night.