With the Western Student Association presidential and vice presidential elections now over, it is time to meet the winners.
After an extended process of two voting sessions, Abby Wallace and Connor Smith were named the new president and vice president. The pair won by eight WSA senate votes. The voting total came to be 42 in favor of the Wallace-Smith campaign and 34 for the Molly Cahill-Katie Walker campaign.
“I think we’re both honored to be in the positions,” Wallace said. “We’re excited to hit the ground running. Our campaign really is what we stand by and what we want to do.”
The Wallace-Smith campaign is named “Best for the West,” and in order to get the best, Wallace and Smith believe in attaining accountability, insightful initiatives and renewing relationships. The pair wants their administration to be as transparent, outreaching and open to students as possible.
Their first step toward achieving their goals is to fill open WSA Cabinet positions. According to Smith, when the pair won the student vote, they opened the application for all students. They already have a couple of replies, but now that the results are official, promotion is key.
Wallace said that she also wants to reach out to Registered Student Organizations. Both Wallace and Smith want to create a diverse cabinet that can work as a cohesive team. Their goal is to attempt to represent as much as the student body possible in the 16 allotted seats.
Smith added that they are striving to make the cabinet transition as smooth as possible. They hope that by keeping their cabinet informed and getting the basics covered, their administration can hit the ground running.
The applications for cabinet positions can be found on their website, bestforthewest.com
After their cabinet is filled, Wallace and Smith want to shift their focus on renewing relations.
“We want to get our faces out there for student and faculty awareness,” Wallace said. “This is about doing our best to make all students’ lives easier.”
However, last year, Wallace made a decision that may be an obstacle for her new administration. She said that she did not vote in favor of a resolution, which burned bridges with many of the aviation students.
Wallace said that she was for, and is for, the pro-equity and transportation movement, but she did not want the cost to be put on all students. Wallace plans on meeting with aviation organizations and explaining this to them.
“I personally want to extend an olive branch to the aviation students,” Wallace said. “I want to represent all students so that everyone can get a better outcome. I really whole-heartedly want to work with them.”
According to Smith, they want to shed light on the aviation students to the campus because they are a big point of campus pride.
“We are going to work with the students, that’s what we’re here for,” Smith said. “We need students to talk to us and to come to us and the WSA. If we don’t know about problems on campus, we can’t change it. Let us act as liaisons to the faculty.”
According to Wallace and Smith, student outreach is huge. Many students are unaware of the WSA and what it does. In order to help remedy this, the pair is going to send out newsletter emails that will sum up everything the WSA is doing, as well as offer helpful dates and events for students.
Wallace and Smith are planning other things for student outreach as well. Over the summer, they are planning involvement zones for student recruitment. They want to have a wide representation for WSA at these events.
When asked what differences they will bring to WSA under their administration, Wallace said “heart.”
“We really want to make sure we are actively connecting to administration to make sure all student voices are heard,” Wallace said. “The newsletter is a good start to show our support of the student body.”
Wallace and Smith also offered their feelings on their competitors’ actions to appeal against the student vote. The reason for the re-vote was the Elections Control Board misfeasance toward Cahill-Walker’s slate. According to Justin Sharphorn, a member of the Judicial Council, the ECB was also found guilty of not acting in the election to represent both campaigns.
Therefore, the Senate acted upon their right to elect a president and vice president if the student body failed to. The student vote had been overturned to the Senate.
“[Molly and Katie] felt they had been done a disservice by the ECB and the Judicial Council found in their favor,” Wallace said. “I understand, if we had been in that situation, we would have reacted in a similar way.”
Wallace said she admired the opposing campaign’s passion and commitment to the campus. Wallace also said that they all share the same goal in improving the WSA and the university.
“Abby and I encouraged them to run for our cabinet,” Smith added. “They are great student leaders and having them would play a part in having a diverse cabinet.”
Wallace reiterated that her and Smith are working for the students. She wants to make it so students are comfortable with approaching them and the WSA with their problems.
“We really want to bring them what is best for the west,” Wallace said.