The Reality of Student Body Co-President Elections

With the 2023-2024 Student Body Co-President Elections currently taking place, students discussed the responsibilities of the Co-President role, reflecting on their experiences voting or participating in the election. 

William Buehler ’24

“You have to be popular for your qualifications to be considered [in the election]. If people don’t like you, they don’t care how qualified you are, and I think that’s a fair point. You don’t want someone dislikeable as your Co-President… Simultaneously, I think as long as you have no issues with a person, you should be able to judge their campaign objectively… [Co-Presidents] rarely achieve much, and we all know that. At the end of the day, it’s just, how likeable is this person, and are their ideas decent enough so that I would be willing to vote for them?” 

Jacob Kaiser ’24 (candidate)

“There’s the forum and there’s the [All-School Meeting debate], but up until those two events, a lot of gaining votes is just based off of networking. It has less to do with what your ideas are, and obviously those are a big part of the process, but I think there are ways of reshaping the election process that could make it less based on popularity and more based on qualification, what they’re bringing to the table, what their ideas are, and how they think they can change the school.” 

Allie Chung ’23

“Upperclassmen, the majority of them, know the people who are running. For the Uppers, for example, all the friend groups of these people rally around their friends… But there’s also this entire subset of this school, mostly underclassmen, that don’t know the pairs well as people, and it’s a big school, so it’s not like every single person has a reputation attached to them… There’s enough of a subset of students who don’t really know the pairs running, so I don’t think the whole thing functions as a popularity contest as much as it [otherwise] would, granted those [underclassmen] vote.”

 Allie Encarnacion ’24 (candidate)

“So much of being Co-President, from what the student body can see…is speeches, is [All-School Meeting], is running the class rep elections and things like that, so being able to conduct yourself with grace and with poise and portray a clear understanding of what it is you’re trying to say is so, so vital to the position. In the past, at least for me, I’ve based, not completely obviously, a large part [of my vote] on how they speak in front of a crowd. Are they able to get everyone excited, or are they able to discuss serious topics with a wide range of people?”

Nadia Choophungart ’24

“The Co-Presidents have brought about some or a good amount of their promises made during the campaign. I think part of the voting process ensures that…part of what people consider when they vote for a certain Co-President pair is whether or not what they’re saying they’re going to do is feasible or not. So I think that has helped people have more realistic expectations, but I think it’s also interesting to consider how much change can the Co-President actually enact within this institution.” 

Sakina Cotton ’24 (Candidate)

“The election process sort of overlooks the fact that a lot of initiatives take a long time. At the end of the day, it’s forcing pairs to try and forcefully make a platform where sometimes ideas can’t be delivered on, but you see a lot of buzzwords being included just to see what students want. But, it doesn’t give a lot of space to talk about the more important aspects of a Co-President pair, which is being able to reach different spaces on campus and being able to talk about specific topics and specific events that might happen on campus, which I think is the main part of being Student Body Co-President.”

Eleanor Dehoog ’24 (Candidate)

“There’s a lot of pressure surrounding the Co-President election going all the way into Lower year, so I wish that before people run for the position that there was a better understanding among the student body of what the roles of being the President of the school entails and genuinely how much work they have to do, because I think that we both have an inside understanding of that through Student Council, but I would say the majority of students don’t understand genuinely how much work it is.”

Graham Hardin ’23

“[Co-Presidents] doing a lot more work than people realize. They have meetings with the Deans, they actually have more of a voice, and they’re actually more valuable in that aspect. I think when someone’s elected, they have more influence in the system than people give them credit for. The amenities and all that, that’s not necessarily what we elect them for. We elect the Co-Presidents who have a strong voice, who are actually intelligent, so they can actually be the voice for the student body and talk to the Deans.”