Split slate wins highly contested Freshman Class Council elections
In elections running from Tuesday to Wednesday, six slates totaling 30 students ran for office this year, the most in at least five years.
Mike Holtz, elected Freshman Class Council president, said he looks forward to uniting candidates from S.N.A.R.L. and United Slate to hear the concerns of the freshman student body and prioritize from there.
“We’ve all had a chance to get to know each other over the course of campaigning,” Holtz said. “I’m really excited for the year to come. I think we’ve got a great group of people that we’ve put together.”
The newly elected internal vice president, Mukund Murari, joins Holtz from United Slate, while External Vice President Scott Myers, Secretary Lexi Orsky and Treasurer Reid Petty ran with S.N.A.R.L.
The two slates had very different strategies in writing their platforms for campaign week. United Slate created a platform based around specific promises and plans like movie nights on the Swamp, a class Super Bowl party, and motivating and funding the development of a WebSTAC app.
S.N.A.R.L.’s campaign was far more conceptual, with the slate distributing flyers that addressed its philosophy on student government as a “tool for the student body to have their voices heard, ideas turned into action, and wants transformed into reality.” But it was consistent with United Slate in looking to connect with the freshman class and help foster community.
“I know so many more people now than I did before,” Petty said. “I think that’s something that’s incredible about Wash. U.—is that everyone’s really looking to be nice and friendly with each other and make new friends.”
Holtz, who has been heavily involved in student government in the past, said the people he met at the Student Union pre-orientation program, Leading Wash U Style, helped him decide to run for president.
“I love Wash. U. and really wanted to get involved somehow in student government, and [running for Class Council] was a great way to do it,” he said.
Holtz’s goal for the year is to stay true to his campaign: he hopes to create well-attended student events, particularly on the Swamp, and to ensure that the WebSTAC app comes to fruition. He’s also dedicated to ensuring that his council continues to communicate effectively with the class it represents.
“Something that both of our slates had as a priority was finding a way to get student feedback, whether that’s setting up a table in Bear’s Den or student polls,” he said. “That’s definitely something we’re going to focus on.”
Some freshmen expressed doubt that the elections would have a meaningful impact on them, regardless of who was put into office.
“I didn’t really pay attention to the issues,” freshman Garrett Hahn said. “There’s a guy on my floor, Chris Elkins, who was running for Home Slate, so I just voted for them.”
Others were more optimistic.
“It may sound cliche, but there are so many diverse people in our grade with diverse talents and interests,” freshman David Gumins, a Congress of the South 40 assembly representative, told Student Life. “It would be incredible if we could all come together as a group.”