Four students launch campaigns for DSG president, executive vice president positions

Teddy Hur (top left), Heather Raslan (top right), Emily Yagoda (bottom left) and Akhilesh Shivaramakrishnan (bottom right). Photos courtesy of the candidates.
Teddy Hur (top left), Heather Raslan (top right), Emily Yagoda (bottom left) and Akhilesh Shivaramakrishnan (bottom right). Photos courtesy of the candidates.

Candidates for Duke Student Government’s upcoming elections announced their campaigns Wednesday. Juniors Teddy Hur, Heather Raslan and Emily Yagoda are running for DSG president, while junior Akhilesh Shivaramakrishnan is running for the executive vice president position.

The voting period will run from Wednesday, March 27 at noon to Thursday, March 28 at noon.

Presidential candidates

As a member of Duke LIFE’s executive board, Pi Kappa Alpha brother and an active member of the Duke Catholic Center, Hur hopes to draw from his various experiences to help “bridge the gap” between DSG and the larger student body. A former senator on the sustainability and services committee, Hur believes that his limited DSG experience can be viewed in another light as an “abundance of Duke experience.” 

Hur’s platform focuses on three pillars: supporting Duke’s first-generation low-income community by working with Duke LIFE, creating a safer social scene for Greek Life organizations and selective living groups by advocating for an on-campus social scene, and making DSG more accountable, accessible and dynamic. 

Hur wrote in an email to The Chronicle that he hopes to foster a “culture of humility” in DSG. 

“I don’t want to be a politician that comes in with lofty election promises and inevitably falls short of them,” he wrote. “... From a culture of accessibility, inclusivity and humility, not only are better ideas created, but a greater willingness to act upon them.”

The campaign’s official Instagram account is @teddyhurley1.

Raslan, a neuroscience major, is the only presidential candidate who has three years of experience in DSG and the organization’s current vice president of academic affairs who co-founded the Blue Devil Bridges program. Outside of DSG, she works on a Bass Connections team researching global health, facilitates a house course and volunteers with FEMMES+.

“... I care about students having the ability to see changes they want on campus actualized, and DSG is meant to serve as a resource to support them through that,” she wrote in an email to The Chronicle. “We are so much stronger when we work together, and I believe that my knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of DSG can help continue to open up the organization to all students.”

Her platform’s three pillars hope to build on community project work, engage with and empower student groups and improve DSG’s internal structure. She wants to advocate for “projects with tangible benefits,” such as turning what used to be Central Campus into a space for student organizations and creating a Durham High Schooler Board.

Raslan  hopes to require that senators “see how their projects can involve collaboration from student organizations” and build more communication channels between DSG and student organizations. She also aims to assign pilot projects to new senators and build stronger mentorship systems within DSG. 

The campaign’s official Instagram account is @heather.raslan.

Yagoda, who is majoring in biomedical and mechanical engineering, serves as the Class of 2025’s president and Engineering Student Government’s vice president of campus outreach. She is also involved on campus as a co-lab student manager, Duke softball manager and bullpen catcher and executive board member on the Debate Team and CHANCE tutoring. 

In an email to The Chronicle, Yagoda wrote that she hopes to make “concrete enhancements that resonate with student life.” Her platform is built around three pillars — connect, empower and transform. 

Yagoda hopes to “demystify” DSG by opening conversations up to student affinity groups “when needed” and add representatives from the Pratt School of Engineering, Duke Kunshan University and athletics. If elected, she plans to push for course credits for experiential learning experiences to help students “recognize the value of experiential learning and its impact on personal and professional growth.” 

“The most important aspect to [me] is connecting with students. [I believe] that what separates a good candidate from a great one is their ability to listen, inspire and lead,” she wrote.

The campaign’s official Instagram account is @emilyfordsg.

Executive vice president candidate

Shivaramakrishnan, a global health and public policy major, is the current DSG outreach coordinator and former associate vice president of Durham and community affairs. He also serves as Duke Diya co-president, a member of the Healthy Hands Initiative and a tour guide. 

He hopes to achieve the broader goal of “building a better DSG” — for first-year students, student groups and Durham and Duke’s community partners. 

As EVP, Shivaramakrishnan plans to build an environment where “diverse ideas for project work are welcomed, built upon and developed” and make DSG more accessible and engaging for first-year senators. He aims to build stronger ties with student groups by “engaging with identity group leaders and their support networks on campus” and work with service and civics groups on campus to create more opportunities for students. 

“I’m running for DSG EVP because I am passionate about the project work that DSG does to engage with Duke and the greater Durham community,” he wrote in an email to The Chronicle. 

“I hope to continue to build on the work that DSG already does while creating a better experience for students, especially first-years and student groups, that want to be involved in the work DSG is doing,” 

The campaign’s official Instagram account is @akhilesh4dsg.

Audrey Wang profile
Audrey Wang | Data Editor

Audrey Wang is a Trinity junior and data editor of The Chronicle's 120th volume. She was previously editor-in-chief for Volume 119.


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