Following weeks of hanging flyers and asking for signatures, the freshmen representatives in Duke Student Government have been elected.
The election Tuesday concluded with 831 total votes cast, a decrease from the 862 votes cast last year, said DSG Attorney General Sam Marks, a junior. The votes cast represented 48 percent of the Class of 2016. The freshmen will attend their first DSG meeting as senators Wednesday night.
The 12 newly elected freshmen senators are Prashanth Ciryam and Tori Diggs for academic affairs, Chris Endo and Lavanya Sunder for services, Ife Ayeni and Isabella Kwai for equity and outreach, Nicholas Bosse and Neel Desai for Durham and regional affairs, Banks Anderson for social culture, Brian Hopkins and Abhi Sanka for residential life and Hannah McCracken for facilities and the environment.
“I was so surprised when they called,” Kwai said. “I just feel really grateful. [The other students] were so supportive and really believed in me.”
Flyers were a prevalent form of campaigning during this election period, although each candidate took a slightly different path towards seeking votes.
“I noticed that everyone started campaigning like last Tuesday and hitting the campaign trail hard,” Diggs said. “I waited until later, so I would be the last one they would see—so they would remember.”
Anderson approached the campaigning process with a different mindset.
“I didn’t have a specific campaign strategy,” he added. “I just tried to get to know as many people as possible since O-Week.”
Although the posters for their opponents still linger on Facebook and the bulletin boards of East Campus, the new senators have already begun to look to their futures on DSG.
Diggs hopes to implement an alternative to Duke’s traditional drop/add period. Her goal is to create a “shopping” period at the beginning of each semester in which students are able to test drive different classes before committing to them.
Other senators, like Anderson, are less clear as to what they are aiming to accomplish this year. Anderson said he is waiting until he becomes more acquainted with other DSG members before setting goals.
DSG Executive Vice President Patrick Oathout noted his excitement about the upcoming year.
“I think it is going to be the best Senate ever,” Oathout said.
He added that senate hopefuls that were not elected still have many opportunities to be involved with DSG.
“Defeated candidates can apply for at-large positions on the Senate,” Oathout said. “A lot of our at-large members end up getting positions of leadership.”
DSG President Alex Swain said she was impressed with the enthusiasm of the campaigns and their focus on the big issues on campus. She advised new senators to keep their eyes open.
“Be observant. If there’s anything that strikes you as odd about the University in general and about DSG, don’t be afraid to ask,” Swain said. “Be inquisitive, observant, not afraid to push for things [you] think should be fixed.”