Thursday, Sept. 30, the College of William and Mary’s Student Assembly held its annual elections for class president and the four class senator positions for the class of 2025. For the first time since the onslaught of the pandemic, celebrations welcoming the new 2025 SA members took place in-person.
In highly competitive races with seven candidates for the presidency and 12 candidates for senatorship, Yannie Chang ’25 was elected as class of 2025 president, while Sean Nguyen ’25, Hashir Aqeel ’25, Regina Chaillo ’25 and Matthew Hwang ’25 became the four newly elected class of 2025 senators.
Chang ran on a variety of different policies from increased cultural representation, women’s health and better accommodations for LGBTQ+ students.
“I’ve met so many of you guys in the past few days and I’ve loved getting to know more about you, especially hearing about your different cultural backgrounds and how you’ve felt about the representation at W&M,” Chang wrote in an Instagram post. “… As someone who is Chinese, Hispanic, and American I understand how important representation is in creating a sense of belonging and would like to see more of it.”
There were 1,693 eligible voters for the 2025 election and a total of 826 students cast a vote in the presidential election.
Overall, Chang received 253 or 30.62% of the vote, while runner-up Mateo Huerta ’25 lost by 78 votes to receive 21.18% of the vote. Katelyn Oxer ’25, Caleb Fulford ’25, Terra Stearns ’25, Matthew Rodenberg ’25, Elijah Osvaldo Poetzinger ’25 received 19%, 13.19%, 8.71%, 5.81% and 1.45% of the vote respectively.
For the senate race, Nguyen received the largest number of votes cast with 423 or 14.67% of the vote. Aqeel, Chaillo and Hwang followed with 319 (11.06%), 308 (10.68%), and 259 (8.98%) votes each.
Maria Soly ’25 lost the senator position by only eight votes, resulting in a total of 8.7% of the votes cast for Soly. Terra Sloane ’25 received 8.08% of the vote, Blaze Banks received 8.01% of the vote, Sam Passman ’25 received 7.25% of the vote, Jo Mutell ’25 received 6.34% of the vote, Elias Adrian Rivera received 6.17% of the vote, Jacob Herthel received 5.27% of the vote and Sarah Devendorf received 4.71% of the vote.
Each of the newly elected senators centered around similar policy points related to adapting to the new stage of the pandemic, promoting an inclusive campus environment and destigmatizing mental health.
Hwang highlighted how the toll of the pandemic and the return to more normal in-person activities require better campus discussions around mental health for students, especially for freshmen who are also adapting to the new lifestyle that comes with starting college.
“Adapting to a new environment while functioning as a hectic student can take a great mental toll on anyone,” Hwang wrote in an Instagram post. “The topic of mental health is extremely important when discussing student life. The stigmatization of mental health is such a prevalent issue today and one of the greatest ways to counter this is to talk and create discussions, and expose the importance of these topics.”
Other senators, like Aqeel, expressed thanks to the class of 2025 for using their voices in the election and promised to best represent the class.
“Thank you to every single member of the Class of 2025, whether you voted for me or not, it is an absolute privilege to serve as your Senator for our freshman year.” Aqeel wrote in an Instagram post. “I promise to do my absolute best every single day to make sure your voices are heard within the Student Assembly.”
The newly elected SA members will attend their first senate meeting Tuesday, Oct. 5.