Old Gold & Black announces Student Government endorsements

Voting begins on April 4 and closes on April 5 through The Link


Maryam Khanum

Hasan Pyarali (left) and Jackson Buttler (right) participate in a presidential election debate.

The following represents the endorsements of the Old Gold & Black’s editorial board, which are conducted by a majority vote based on interviews with the candidates, their respective platforms and their performances at Sunday evening’s executive debate (see the Old Gold & Black’s Twitter feed for live-tweet coverage of the debate). Below, we will list the candidates running for each office, link to their platform or campaign site/media platform and provide an explanation for our endorsements. 


The Old Gold & Black endorses Hasan Pyarali for president. (Maryam Khanum)

Candidates: Jackson Buttler (’24) and Hasan Pyarali (’24)

Old Gold & Black endorses: Hasan Pyarali

Explanation: The Old Gold & Black endorses Hasan Pyarali for student body president. In his interview, Pyarali demonstrated an ability to communicate and connect with his fellow students to work through problems and provide solutions. He sees the role of student body president as being centered on advocacy for his fellow students —  many of whom feel as if they do not have a say in decisions that impact them. 

This past year, Pyarali has served as Student Budget Advisory Committee (SBAC) co-chair for diversity, equity and inclusion. During his sophomore year, he was on the Physical Planning Committee as a senator.

He has continually demonstrated an ability to accomplish goals that benefit students. In the previous academic year, the Wake Forest Counseling Center announced that it would limit counseling sessions available to students. As a senator, Pyarali was instrumental in overturning this decision and reinstating extended counseling for students in need of more comprehensive mental health resources. He did so by reaching out to the student body and presenting their pleas for extended counseling to the administration. Furthermore, during the Weaver Fertilizer fire that occurred in February of last year, Pyarali assisted in formulating a petition calling for the cancellation of classes for the remainder of the week due to the danger posed by the fire — a petition which received more than 5,000 votes and was presented to university administration. Classes were subsequently canceled

Equity on campus is a particularly important issue to Pyarali, as has been repeatedly highlighted by his campaign. In his interview, he noted the disparity between the conditions of on-campus lounges allocated to Greek organizations as compared to those allocated to identity groups such as the Muslim Student Alliance or the Black Student Alliance. As a member of SBAC, he worked with the treasurer to allow for SBAC funding for on-campus lounges. Furthermore, a large campaign objective of Pyarali’s is ending registration holds caused by unpaid parking tickets, as he believes a student’s academics should not be impacted by a charge like that. 

Pyarali has also exhibited a clear understanding of the day-to-day operations of not only Student Government, but of the university administration and of student organizations. He has used this understanding to advocate on behalf of underrepresented groups on campus, providing them with the resources and recognition they deserve. His ability to corral the student body and understand their needs makes him an ideal candidate for the position.

While the Old Gold & Black recognizes and appreciates Jackson Buttler’s commitment to the student body, which he has displayed throughout his career in Student Government, he does not have the same lines of communication and rapport with the student body as Pyarali has developed. 

Speaker of the House

The Old Gold & Black endorses Michael Walsh for speaker. (Maryam Khanum)

Candidate: Michael Walsh (’24)

Old Gold & Black endorses: Michael Walsh

Explanation: The race for speaker of the house is uncontested for the second straight year, so the Old Gold & Black’s role in endorsing a candidate is obviously limited. As such, while we do endorse the lone candidate, Michael Walsh, it may be more appropriate in this space to explain what excites us about Walsh’s candidacy as he prepares to assume his new position.

Walsh emphasized the importance of legislation throughout our interview with him. He hopes to see Student Government pass more legislation and better promote the legislation that is passed. We could not agree more. Students should know what their representatives are working on, and that work should be represented more by bills and resolutions that can be debated in the Senate. 

This approach, in our opinion, should create a more transparent process as the Senate works to address what Walsh believes are the core issues facing the student body: campus health and security, greater diversity and inclusion; and space equity. Walsh also plans to make diversity, equity and inclusion training mandatory for senators so they can be better equipped to tackle these issues and lead inclusively.

However, even armed with training, senators cannot go it alone. These are complex issues that will require hearing many more voices than those within the Student Government Senate. Walsh recognizes this and says he plans to increase student engagement with Student Government through social media and direct communication with students. As with his predecessors, Walsh will face challenges in this (the Student Government Senate has never been a hot ticket on campus), but we believe that if there is any way to increase engagement, savvy use of social media and direct communication is the key. 

However, as it is with all campaigns, the proof will come after Walsh takes his oath. For our part, we are confident that he can make progress for Wake Forest students on these important issues, and maybe, just maybe, increase student body engagement. For this reason, Walsh has our endorsement.


The Old Gold & Black endorses Tim Erday for treasurer. (Maryam Khanum)

Candidates: Tim Erday (’24)

Old Gold & Black endorses: Tim Erday

Explanation: The Old Gold & Black endorses Tim Erday. In our interview with Erday, he emphasized the successes during his time as treasurer and what he wishes to improve upon during his second year as treasurer, if reelected.

 He cited one of his best accomplishments as standardizing the student organization budget guidelines. He analyzed the budget guidelines and decided how the Student Budget Advisory Committee (SBAC) could be more clear, consistent and accessible. 

In his next year, he wants to see student organizations for who they are beyond the numbers and costs. He plans to host office hours again next term for student organization leaders to ask questions. One of his favorite aspects of the job is getting to interact with so many different students who are all passionate about different interests. Erday showed his enthusiasm for managing a team and building relationships with student leaders during his interview, and for that reason, the Old Gold & Black endorses Erday.


The Old Gold & Black endorses Marta Zach for secretary. (Maryam Khanum)

Candidates: Marta Zach (’24)

Old Gold & Black endorses: Marta Zach

Explanation: Marta Zach said in her interview and at Sunday’s debate that she is not the loudest person in the room. As such, she knows what it is like to not have one’s voice heard. She believes this makes her a great candidate for secretary, and we agree.

Zach’s main goals are to make the operation of Student Government smoother, to make Student Government more accessible to students and to ensure all voices within and beyond the Senate are heard. These are all things that will need to happen if any of the lofty goals set by the Student Government presidential candidates are to be achieved. 

One of Zach’s key policies is to have Student Government communicate with student organizations that have historically been ignored or underrepresented. We commend this approach and are excited to see what might come of these efforts.

For these reasons, the Old Gold & Black endorses Marta Zach for secretary.