By Melanie Woods, March 9 2017 —
After a lively two-week campaign period, Students’ Union chief returning officers Nolan Hill and Dianne Honorio announced the winners of the 2017 SU election at the Den on March 9.
Candidates and their supporters packed the dance floor at the Den to find out who will compose the 75th Students’ Legislative Council.
To a raucous crowd, Hill and Honorio announced that current SU vice-president operations and finance Branden Cave will be next year’s SU president. In a tight race, Cave won 36 per cent of the vote. Graham Duff came in second with 33 per cent and third-place Steeven Toor took 31 per cent.
“This campaign was so close, it wasn’t until we got to the last moments that it really started to feel real,” Cave said. “I’m so excited to get another year to help students on campus.”
Outgoing SU president Stephan Guscott said he’s proud to pass on the mantle to someone who’s sat beside him on SLC all year.
“It feels really good,” Guscott said. “Branden’s work [was] amazing this year and I think he’ll make an amazing president just by the sheer amount of work he’s done this year.”
In the race for vice-president external, Shubir Shaikh edged out Kendra Toth, taking 56 per cent of the vote.
“I’ve put in so much work,” Shaikh said. “I’m so glad it paid off.”
Next year’s vice-president operations and finance will be Ryan Wallace, who earned 70 per cent of the vote. Wallace came out on top over Briana Stallcup.
“I’m just so blessed to have an amazing campaign team,” Wallace said. “I’ve had an amazing time running in this election and I’m looking forward to next year.”
In the three-candidate race for vice-president academic, Tina Miller came out on top with 61 per cent of the vote. Courtney LeBlanc earned 25 per cent and Romina Soudavari earned 14 per cent.
Three candidates were also vying for the vice-president student life position. In the end, Hilary Jahelka won with 46 per cent of the vote over Matt Abalos with 27 per cent and Arshmin Kang with 27 per cent.
“I’m feeling ecstatic, overwhelming but awesome,” Jahelka said. “Honestly, I’m looking forward to working with all the students on campus — to represent them on all of the committees I sit on. I just wanted to be an activist in this position.”
Sam Siriani will be next year’s student-at-large for the SU on the University of Calgary Board of Governors. Siriani won with 57 per cent of the vote, topping Alicia Lunz.
Julie Le will return to sit on the U of C Senate with 39 per cent. Alisha Gordon will join her with 35 per cent of the vote.
Over 6,000 undergraduate U of C students voted in total in this year’s election — a 25.1 per cent voter turnout.
“I think with our high voter turnout compared to other campuses of our size, I think it shows a really high level of engagement from our students,” Guscott said of the turnout.
The incoming faculty representatives were also announced.
In a seven-candidate field, Frank Finley, Sumaira Islam, Nabila Farid and Puncham Judge were named as next year’s arts representatives.
Kevin Dang, Kayla Huggard and Omer Mansoor were elected as science representatives.
Sagar Grewal will return as kinesiology representative, gaining 77 per cent of the vote.
Nik Golob and Lucas Ocampo will be next year’s Haskayne School of Business representatives, while Chinmoy Ayachit and Manpreet Deol will represent the Shulich School of Engineering. Gurleen Brar and Sarah Park will represent the Cumming School of Medicine.
Only three positions were acclaimed. Bassam Saifeddine will be next year’s law representative, Brenna Forde will be veterinary medicine representative and Jessica Revington will continue as nursing representative.
Two positions were not contested by any candidates — education representative and social work representative. A to-be-announced by-election will determine who represents those faculties.