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'A place where we build community': Campus Y elects new co-presidents

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Newly-elected Campus Y co-presidents Sari Melitte Ghirmay-Morgan (left) and Anant Malpani (right) stand in front of the Campus Y building on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly listed Sari Melitte Ghirmay-Morgan's last name. The article has since been updated. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for this error.

Sari Melitte Ghirmay-Morgan and Anant Malpani said they were both with friends when they heard the news that the UNC Campus Y had elected them as its 2024-25 co-presidents on Saturday.

The Campus Y is a collaborative space that aims to unite students and student organizations related to social justice initiatives. Ghirmay-Morgan, a senior, said they and junior Malpani view the Campus Y as a student union that can protect and provide for students.

"The Y is a place where we build community," they said.

During their campaign, Ghirmay-Morgan and Malpani emphasized prioritizing community, acknowledging and building upon history, amplifying marginalized voices and showing resilience during times of uncertainty. Malpani said he's noticed that after the COVID-19 pandemic, the Campus Y became a gathering space for students on campus, especially those from marginalized communities.

For the past two years, Malpani has been serving as the co-director of finance for the Campus Y. Ghirmay-Morgan has been serving as the director of cabinet and co-chair for Sanaa & Soul, a Campus Y program offering an after-school education program focusing on Black, Latiné and Indigenous visual art and artists, according to their website.

Ghirmay-Morgan said they were both members of the first-year council, where they were able to gain experience collaborating with the executive board.

“I think Sari and Anant have been really instrumental in Campus Y exec for as long as I’ve had the opportunity and privilege to see them grow as leaders,” current Campus Y Co-President Karina Vasudeva said.

Malpani said he and Ghirmay-Morgan want to expand on efforts of the current co-presidents Imani Rankins and Vasudeva to increase mutual aid within the Campus Y by offering material goods, safety and prioritizing students’ emotional well-being.

“We want to continue with that and expand on that, through revitalizing the Hope Gardens initiative and expanding what we provide to our community in terms of produce, bedding and other such supplies,” Malpani said.

Campus Y’s Hope Gardens is a student-run initiative that aims to address food insecurity on campus and in the Chapel Hill–Carrboro area. It is one of more than 30 committees under the Campus Y.

Ghirmay-Morgan said that their involvement in grassroots organizing in high school, as well as their awareness and understanding of social justice from a very young age, has influenced their view of leadership and hierarchy.

During their sophomore year, Ghirmay-Morgan helped create the Campus Y’s Disorientation Booklet, an effort to highlight UNC’s past with segregation and white supremacy.

The guide serves as a resource for UNC students to grow their knowledge of the history of marginalized groups at the University, contributions of enslaved people to the University, accessibility, housing issues and hate speech.

“That was a really important start for me in the work of making sure that people are able to be aware of UNC’s history and how we as UNC students intersect with our responsibility to ensure that we are aware and actively fighting in order to protect our community,” Ghirmay-Morgan said.

Another priority for the co-president elects is to build connections between students and faculty, which Malpani said is sometimes difficult. He said they hope to start a social justice research journal to promote intersectionality and foster intellectualism within the Campus Y. The two also hope to open the Anne Queen Faculty Commons, which is reserved for faculty, for students to host events and have a quiet space.

"We really want to advocate for expanding our autonomy as an organization, both physically in the space that we are able to occupy and also financially," Malpani said.

The co-president elects will assume their positions tentatively in March, although this timeline is subject to change, Ghirmay-Morgan said in an email. 

“We are both very excited," Ghirmay-Morgan said in an email. "We anticipate a lot of tumult in the coming year due to elections, and we are preparing for that as well as other potential issues."

@cormacbaxter

@dailytarheeluniversity@dailytarheel.com

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