Thursday, Sept. 29, the College of William and Mary Student Assembly will be holding class elections for two Class of 2023 senators, one Class of 2024 senator, the Class of 2026 president and the four Class of 2026 senators.
Currently, eight candidates are vying for the position of Class of 2026 president.
Jason Zheng ‘26
Jason Zheng ’26 has previously held various leadership positions in high school, including NHS President, Debate Team Captain and SCA Committee Head. Zhang’s committee statement emphasizes his interest in communication with the student body and advocating for change.
“My goal is to be a voice for you in the legislative process by listening to your ideas and advocating for the changes you want to see. I understand the value of having a sense of community, so I’m championing a five-pillar campaign that focuses on inclusion, service, transparency, vision and wellness,” Zheng said.
He intends to serve as a voice for classmates and peers by using his experience in leadership and public speaking to assist with addressing student concerns. Zheng also spoke of his desire to encourage communication with administration in regards to addressing student concerns.
“I think one of the hardest parts moving forward is trying to understand that balance of what we can and cannot do,” Zheng said. “So, I definitely want to be an advocate for the students, because I’ve done debate, mock trial and so on and so forth, so I have public speaking experience and I want to be able to use those experiences in order to advocate for the changes that students want to see.”
One of Zheng’s objectives, if elected, is to offer more cultural showcases for students in underrepresented groups.
“For me, representation has always been a big part. I went to predominantly white institutions ever since elementary school, so I know how powerful it is to see people who look like you, kind of talk like you, who have the same skin tone as you, and that’s definitely one thing I want to push more moving forward, like more events like that,” Zheng said.
Zheng wants to major in public policy, minor in sociology and has an interest in pursuing a legal career as an attorney.
“Ever since fifth grade, I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer,” Zheng said. “I’ve wanted to be a lawyer because I was always surrounded by the news and my dad would always have the news playing, and I just remember seeing things in general, whether it’s protests going on or demonstrations, and sometimes it hurts seeing just how and where the world is, and I think that got worse with the pandemic. I think that feeling has grown ever since.”
Zheng also spoke of his overarching interest in change on a larger scale, particularly through his desire for a legal career.
“During a moot court competition in high school, one judge asked me why I wanted to be a lawyer and I said, ‘I want to be a lawyer because I’m tired of waiting for other people to step up and I want to be a part of that movement forward in order to make some form of change, whatever that is, no matter how long that might take.’”
If elected, Zheng plans to prioritize communication with the student body via emails and town halls, as well as other events to bring the student body together and encourage conversations. Additionally, Zheng acknowledges the distance between different housing complexes for students in the class of 2026 and seeks to help bridge that distance by hosting events that would allow students to meet and strengthen new bonds in a natural setting.
Cameron Scarpati ‘26
Candidate Cameron Scarpati ‘26 is dedicated to addressing student concerns in regards to fees, dining hall hours and Campus fundraising.
Prior to Residence Life’s announcement of the modified lockout fee policy on Sept. 26, Scarpati expressed his desire to amend or to integrate an amnesty policy for lockout fees, thus allowing for students to have a “one-strike” incident before a charge of $40 for a lockout.
“I want to focus on the law and order of the school, some things involving fees: Res-Life fees, such as the lockout fees, losing your tribe card and fees given to students for vandalism,” Scarpatti said.
Scarpati also indicated interest in campus fundraising for specific causes through different events for the student body.
“In terms of general premises, I want to work on fundraising for some important congenital diseases that plague our society in silence,” Scarpati said. “I think we need to raise awareness and raise funding for things like that.”
Additionally, Scarpatti shared his thoughts on advocating for the opening of Commons Dining Hall on the weekends.
“Having some time, not all day but maybe a lunch schedule, would allow people to have more options. Optionality is very important,” Scarpati said.
Scarpati has significant interest in coding and is also on the Club A Tennis Team. During his free time, Scarpati likes to play ping pong and chess and find opportunities to meet new people.
If elected, Scarpati would like to host meet-and-greets and host events where students can voice their opinions and share their thoughts.
“William and Mary, albeit small, can make a really big change if we get enough of our members to work in unison,” Scarpati said.
Reenie Tian ‘26
Candidate Reenie Tian ’26 is running on a platform that promotes community engagement and intends to encourage student involvement and advocate for student issues and concerns.
“I chose to do community engagement, which is more focused on how people can get involved, whether it’s through feedback, or getting people more involved in the Williamsburg community through voter registration,” Tian said. “I wanted to choose a platform that was broad enough that it wasn’t delivering specific promises, because I’ve seen historically a lot of candidates have used platforms that are unrealistic and they haven’t been able to deliver. I’m also very aware that freshmen like me get shorter terms. We only get six months or so to work on getting all our promises fulfilled. Honestly, I just want to be able to make this community tighter knit, and that’s why I’m running on a community engagement.”
Tian also wants to integrate the introduction of ranked-choice voting into the Student Assembly voting process for future elections, as she feels like this allows students to have more of a voice in SA elections. Tian also wants to set up a way of hearing student thoughts and concerns in an accessible format that allows members of the student body a chance to speak.
“One of the first things I think is setting up a way for people to directly say what they want to see in the community, even if all the promises can’t be fulfilled, I want to be able to give every student the option to have a voice and have their voices heard,” Tian said.
Tian also addressed COVID-19 policies on campus, expressing her desire to expand knowledge of resources to the student body.
“I really hope that William and Mary has, whether through the Wellness Center or something else, has a way to let people know that there are infections and have a way to have access to masks and COVID tests and set up some policy to keep our student body safe,” Tian said.
If elected, Tian hopes to gauge student interest in social events, such as a Halloween celebration with a potential costume contest.
“Even if I don’t win, I hope that people can still reach out to me, because I want to make a lot of friends and meet people. So, I’m always an open ear if anyone needs me,” Tian said.
Zuyao “Joey” Zhang ‘26
Zuyao “Joey” Zhang ’26 is passionate about learning about different cultures and getting to know students in the College community.
“My main goal of my policy is to definitely have a better experience for my freshmen class. And by doing so, I hope that my class will understand that I’m really trying to improve the environment and experience they have in college, especially as first year students,” Zhang said.
Zhang mentioned his awareness of the differences between the cultural diversity and representation in China versus the United States—Zhang moved to the United States form China as a child—noting that during his first few weeks on campus, he began to take a more significant interest in cultural representation on campus.
“When I arrived in America, I saw that there’s like a complete different culture, like a different style, compared to China, so that got me interested,” Zhang said. “During my first few weeks on campus, I actually explored around the campus, and I felt like a lot of diversities were kind of lacking. Some of the cultures I didn’t see much, one of them was Chinese. I know that there are clubs that are dedicated to bring out Chinese culture more, but I feel like I need to do something about it.”
Zhang is aware of the limits on budget for the Student Assembly, but if elected, would like to allocate funding particularly for clubs that will host more events for underrepresented cultural groups on campus.
Zhang is also involved in the Gibbs Accounting Society with an intention to major in accounting. He plans on joining more clubs after fully adjusting to the new campus setting.
“I just wanted to say that I am very glad if you would vote for me. I would really appreciate it. I really want to build a stronger relationship when it comes to the Class of 2026. Also, if you guys see me around campus, don’t be afraid to talk to me. I actually really enjoy talking to new people and learning their interests,” Zhang said.
Jack Williams ‘26
Jack Williams ’26 is an out-of-state student from Knoxville, Tennessee and is running with the intention of acting as a representative for fellow peers and assisting in the transition into the College.
“I really want to just act as a person who can represent the freshmen and help all freshmen to get their ideas across in the Student Assembly, because, as a freshman and as someone who is transitioning into college life, I can understand that it can be super stressful and feel unfamiliar,” Williams said.
If elected, Williams wants to serve as a figure students feel comfortable leaning on and representing the student body as a whole.
Currently, Williams does not have any social media accounts associated with his campaign, nor does he have any posters displayed on campus.
“I’ve seen a lot of fliers for other people and I understand why people are posting them, but at the same time I feel like it’s a little wasteful,” Williams said. “I understand that a lot of people just kind of pass by them and see the poster, but it doesn’t affect their opinion in any major way and won’t leave a lasting impact. And so, I just see it as a waste of resources and ink.”
Williams is focused on engaging with the student body through public speaking and other interactions.
“My main goal is to focus on my public speaking and what I want to get across in my speeches rather than just post a bunch of fliers and take a bunch of pictures for my social media page,” Williams said.
If elected, Williams intends to create a social media page and use it as a communicative feature to engage with students and address comments and concerns.
Outside of academics, Williams places tremendous value on his time spent at public speaking events.
“I think it’s an excellent skill to be able to have,” Williams said. “So, sure, there’s the public speaking access of getting up on a stage and delivering a speech, but there’s also public speaking that comes about when you’re just talking to people that you may not know and people that you want to familiarize yourself with. It’s been super beneficial because it’s allowed me to feel more comfortable in situations where a lot of people wouldn’t have felt comfortable in.”
Zoe Wang ‘26
Zoe Wang ‘26 is a Taiwainese-American woman with experience in politics as an intern for Elaine Luria for Congress 2020 and for Jennifer McClellan for Governor. Wang intends to major in International Relations and Public Policy.
Wang’s campaign is centered on two main policies, the first of which is related to the display of menu items on the digital screens in campus dining halls.
“Some policies include redesigning the Center Court dining menu display. Right now, it’s kind of hard to read and they switch between the Hometown and actual menu. So what I would do to change that would be to have the menu displayed all the time, and have ‘Hometown’ or ‘Global’ displayed on the top of the screen,” Wang said.
Wang also discussed her desire to expand transportation policies, particularly for subsidized coverage for students’ transportation to airports via airport shuttles for their Thanksgiving and Spring breaks.
“So, it’s a $25 subsidy for the first 75 riders to sign up for Thanksgiving Break and $25 for the first 50 riders to sign up for Spring Break, and that’s how much Student Assembly is subsidizing, so I want to expand that to also include Winter Break as well as expand the number of students who are given the subsidy spending on need, because I know that we have a lot of in-state students,” Wang said.
Wang is also interested in reimbursement of student transportation fees for rides to local destinations in James and York County.
Communication with administration is another large part of Wang’s campaign, as she intends to speak on behalf of the class of 2026 in regards to any concerns or issues they may have if elected.
“Another part of my platform is to hold office hours,” Wang said. “If elected, I’ll hold office hours every week, either in Swem Read and Relax or another location and that’s just time for, if someone has an issue they want to talk to me about, I’ll be there for them to contact me. And I’ll always be available via email or Instagram, so if anyone has any issues, even now, if anyone has any concerns that they want their class president to represent and communicate to admin, I’m willing to take those suggestions down and bring them up if I become president.”
Wang is involved with the Model United Nations and the International Relations Club on campus and is also a part of the Women’s Club Varsity Crew team as a coxswain. She is also a part of the Asian American Student Initiative and Chinese Student Organization .
“I’m just a candidate who will commit 100%, who is super hard-working, and who will do my best to represent the class of 2026 to the best of my ability,” Wang said.
Mac Mueller ‘26
Mac Mueller ’26 is a resident of Green and Gold Village who is running with a campaign platform that prioritizes student comfort and safety.
One such concern is extended towards the integration of higher quality toilet tissue in bathroom stalls on campus.
“My big push is Charmin Ultra Soft toilet paper in every stall and then some other small things, like I want to put string lights in the outdoor passageways,” Mueller said.
Additionally, Mueller would like to prioritize insect extermination in dorm buildings such as GGV.
Mueller has been running alongside Class of 2026 Senatorial candidate Kunal Chauhan. If elected, Mueller and Chauhan intend to host town halls on a regular basis to engage students in discussion and communicate about any needs or concerns.
“So, it’s kind of a joint idea, but in an ideal world, we’d have town halls once every couple of weeks or once a month to allow the student body to talk to the student assembly and share feedback, whether it’s possible or negative,” Mueller said.
Mueller considers himself a dedicated music fan who attends a variety of concerts in his free time. He also plays the drums alongside fellow student musicians and enjoys making friends.
“Honestly, I think my best quality is that I’m very approachable and easy to talk to. I think most of my hallmates would agree with that. I’m pretty extroverted, but I’m also a good listener, so if anyone wants to talk about something or just come up to me, I think I’m pretty approachable,” Mueller said.
Peerawut Ruangsawasdi ‘26
Peerawut Ruangsawasdi ‘26 intends to assist freshmen to have a more fluid transition into their time on campus.
“My friends and I want to lead that effort to facilitate a smooth college transition together,” Ruangsawasdi wrote in his campaign platform premise. “Throughout the coming days, we want to hear from you. We want to listen to your needs and suggestions. That is the only way that we can accomplish this — by tackling the issues head-on, together. We need principled leadership and we need pragmatic solutions.”
Ruangsawasdi noted that the administration and student body have room for growth in terms of communicating to their fullest extent.
“I think when it comes to large-scale issues like that, the thing that the Student Assembly can do is mitigate them by advocating on behalf of the students to the William and Mary administration—the people who can make real change,” Ruangsawasdi said.
Transparency and communication are important to Ruangsawasdi, who intends to promote communication with the student body either online or in-person.
Ruangsawasdi also mentioned his thoughts on COVID-19 policies and accessibility for testing.
“In terms of COVID, I think it might be too relaxed. Obviously, charging $15 for COVID tests may be too much. Obviously, I think that the Student Assembly should subsidize COVID tests. Currently, the Williamsburg library offers free COVID tests, and I think that should be advertised more to students to spread awareness,” Ruangsawasdi said.
Ruangsawasdi is also the president of the Botetourt Complex Community Council and has been working with communicating with students on online platforms like GroupMe and Instagram, but also expresses his desire to engage with the community on a regular basis through potential weekly town halls.
“I’m looking to do something like a weekly town hall, but obviously, every student has a different schedule, so the times may vary, but that is something that I’d definitely love to do. I think we should be, as candidates and elected officials, openly accessible to all students,” Ruangsawasdi said.
Ruangsawasdi is also a member of the Nerf Club and the Salsa Club, and he has an interest in student journalism.
“Since I’ve been on campus, I’ve noticed the sense of community here. And I think that’s why a lot of people chose William and Mary, not just for upperclassmen, but also for fellow freshmen,” Ruangsawasdi said.