5 students enter race for SBP

As of Tuesday night, five students are in the running for UNC Student Body President.

Though they submitted their paperwork in the early evening, juniors Winston Howes, Manoj Mirchandani, Andrew Powell, Nikita Shamdasani and Emilio Vicente were prohibited from campaigning before midnight.

The campaign season also started for the students seeking to be presidents of the Residence Hall Association, Graduate and Professional School Federation and senior class officers. There are also various seats of Student Congress up for grabs.

The campaign schedule

On Tuesday, five students submitted their candidacy for Student Body President. Candidates are required to meet the necessary deadlines to be eligible:

  • Jan. 25: 1,250 signatures are due to the Board of Elections by 5 p.m.
  • Candidates who do not have the necessary signatures will be given a 24-hour grace period
  • Campaigning will continue for the next two weeks
  • Feb. 11: The election will be held from 12 a.m. until 8 p.m.
  • Feb. 18: If necessary, there will be a runoff election between candidates

To be put on the ballot, candidates for all positions are required to get their designated numbers of signatures by Tuesday at 5 p.m. The election will take place Feb. 11, and students can vote online at the UNC Student Life website.

The candidates have already planned the directions in which they each would like to lead UNC.

“I’ve been really involved in student government over the past two years, and I’ve been frustrated by issues that keep cropping up,” said Shamdasani.

Shamdasani has worked for student body presidents twice before — for Mary Cooper during her freshman year and then again for Will Leimenstoll.

She said her platform commitments include responding to student feedback and empowering students, two issues that have bothered her during previous experiences.

Shamdasani said her campaign is focused on making the election a fun and interactive process.

“We’ve got an online idea generator that students can see the effects of during the campaign,” she said.

Howes, who introduced ConnectCarolina 2.0 early in the school year only to have it blocked by the University, said he is determined to use his candidacy as a means to implement student-focused programs on campus.

“The first (idea) allows any student to edit any part of the UNC infrastructure without any computer science knowledge,” he said.

He gave an example of a policy change that would include the return of ConnectCarolina 2.0, improvements in textbook services and a system allowing students to pay each other to do small jobs like emptying dorm room trashcans.

Vicente, who has been a prominent leader in the “One State, One Rate” campaign for in-state tuition for immigrants without documentation, called for accessibility of the University and administration to all students.

“We’re changing the way student government listens to students,” he said. “My campaign is about hearing from students, not about them.”

Vicente is involved with advocacy on campus as a member of the Student Advisory Committee to the Chancellor, the Provost’s Committee on Inclusive Excellence and Diversity and the Scholars’ Latino Initiative.

He is also an Admissions Ambassador and co-chair of Students United for Immigrant Equality, a committee within the Campus Y.

Mirchandani has served on committees for both UNC Dance Marathon and student government.

He said there are many issues that he would like to tackle if elected, primarily advocating for a longer drop/add period.

Powell said he aims to insert students’ voices into the national conversation on higher education.

“UNC has always been a leader in access and affordability, so who better than UNC students to take a huge part in that (conversation)?” he said.

Powell will make himself available to talk to students at The Daily Grind from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. each day of his campaign.

“Anyone who wants to come ask me anything, please drop by and talk,” he said. “I would love to hear what students think about the ideas we’re putting out there.”

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