Following a week of hard campaigning, elections for senatorial and executive positions in the 2018-2019 Wake Forest Student Government came to a close on Wednesday March 20.
Junior Danny Reeves was elected president amongst four candidates and sophomore Maia Kennedy was elected secretary amongst two candidates. Junior Sydney Packard was re-elected for a second term as treasurer and junior Will Hargrove was elected speaker of the house. Both Packard and Hargrove ran unopposed.
President-elect Reeves ran on a platform that stressed increasing diversity and inclusion on campus and in Student Government, creating a conducive environment for mental health and wellness as well as bridging the gap between the student body and the administration. His campaign goals and record as senator and secretary — in which he worked to transition Senate meetings from bi-weekly to weekly and served on the Alcohol Coalition — resonated with a decisive majority of the student body and earned him more than 59 percent of the vote.
Reeves said that he looks forward to meeting with students and administrators and building relationships on campus. “Structural change takes time and needs to be strategically planned,” he said. “Therefore, I will be meeting with multiple administrators and students to ensure that the changes we want to make, like the demographic survey, are implemented the right way.”
As he will not take office until the fall, Reeves indicated that he will spend the remainder of the spring semester laying the groundwork for his administration.
“When we created this campaign, we didn’t want to include things on the platform that were not feasible, so the seeds of these ideas will be planted, if they haven’t already, in the next few days,” Reeves said. “Let’s get to work.”
Finally, he thanked the more than 50 students who were involved in his campaign and his fellow candidates for their contributions.
“I was never interested in solely being elected,” he said. “I love this school and Student Government, and I want to create major reforms in the coming days, weeks and months.”
Junior William Morgan, sophomore Matthew David and junior David Ajamy, who were Reeves’ fellow presidential candidates, shared their hopes for Reeves’ administration and explained how they planned to continue to advocate for policies included in their own platforms.
Two of the central policies in David’s platform included organizational medical amnesty and the availability of expanded course descriptions during registration. David said that he intends to continue to work to put these into action.
“Danny has not spoken much about Student Government culture, but I hope that under his administration it is one dedicated to identifying needs and wants and working towards solutions with relentless effort and energy,” David said.
Morgan, who intends to remain co-chair of the Public Relations Committee, added, “I hope that our new executive officers establish a clear vision and purpose for our government which can be translated directly to practical reforms, both internal and external. I hope that the new executive board makes good on its promises to the student body.”
Morgan emphasized that he intends to enact every aspect of his platform next year, from putting the Listening Campaign and the Committee for Constituent Concerns in the Student Government Constitution to working with the Parking and Transportation Committee to lower parking ticket fees.
Finally, Ajamy expressed support for Reeves but emphasized the role of students in implementing changes on campus and urged them not to solely rely on Student Government.
“Student Government doesn’t innately have the power to change campus or Wake Forest culture,” he said. “We all, as students, have that power and we should trust and believe in ourselves more than the candidates want us to trust and believe in Student Government to do so.”
Junior Will Hargrove, the incoming speaker of the house, said in his interview with the Old Gold & Black that he was ready to shoulder the often-unrecognized internal work involved with the role and to be a tough but empathetic leader. He reiterated this message after the election and added: “My platform and campaign were centered around making Student Government a representative entity that works tirelessly for its student body. To see so many of my friends and fellow students believe in the work I have to offer is such a great feeling.”
As speaker of the house, Hargrove will be responsible for selecting the incoming cabinet members, who serve as co-chairs of each senatorial committee. “When I take office, my first priority will be to collaborate with the rest of [the executive branch] to … select the individuals who we believe will be the most diligent, hard-working people who will work with us to ensure that Student Government works as hard as possible next year,” he said. “The sooner this selection process takes place, the more quickly we will be able to work together to tackle the many ideas and initiatives that all our executive and cabinet members have to offer. We are more than eager to dive into our workload and show this school that we are here to work for them.”
As the incumbent Student Government treasurer, junior Sydney Packard spent her first year in office working to ensure that the student organization budget rules system is fair and understandable and creating how-to guides for tasks such as check reimbursement for club treasurers with different levels of experience.
While she said in her interview with the Old Gold & Black that she seeks to continue to minimize stress, confusion and misinformation, she plans to make some slight changes based on her experience this year. “One of the things I want to do differently is to put new guidelines in place that are more in-line with the missions of different types of groups on campus,” she said. When she resumes office in the fall, one of Packard’s main priorities will be to train representatives to the president, treasurer and Student Budget Advisory Committee (SBAC) in order to ensure a smooth transition.
The incoming Student Government secretary, Maia Kennedy, ran on a platform including diversity and inclusion, safety and creating spaces for on-campus dogs. Although she was a younger candidate, she said that she was ready to move on and use her experience as co-chair of the Public Relations Committee and service on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee on the executive branch. “My first priority in taking office will be to come together with my fellow members of Student Government to shape a positive and meaningful group of individuals dedicated to the continual improvement of Wake Forest University,” she said.
Junior Thomas Kellogg ran against Kennedy for the position of secretary, and said that he intends to continue his involvement in Student Government by seeking a senatorial appointment. Although he said that many aspects of his platform would require the leverage of the secretarial position to implement, he added that he could contribute some of his ideas to Student Government by serving as the co-chair of the Student Organizations Council (SOC). As a former secretary of SOC and one of the more active students on SBAC, he said that he would be uniquely situated to develop closer communication or possibly a merger between the two entities.
In the end, Kellogg offered the incoming administration the following advice: “Strive to optimize. Nobody is perfect and you can always improve on your predecessor’s work.”