Devyn Kelly elected Students’ Union president and CEO with 1872 votes

The Wilfrid Laurier Students’ Union election season came to a close Thursday night as Devyn Kelly was announced the incoming Students’ Union 2020-2021 president and CEO.

Kelly received 69.02 per cent of the vote with 1,872 student votes and Leah Xuereb received 30.98 per cent of the vote with a total of 855 votes.

Voter turnout was lower than last year’s 4,330 votes, with just 2,727 out of a potential 18,589 students who voted.

Despite the decrease in student voters, the current chair of the Students’ Union board of directors Owen Bourrie is pleased with how the campaign period went.

“I think given all the circumstances voting went extremely well. We had a really good on the ground campaign, so this year we switched over from doing “floats to vote” to a “donut forget to vote” with Krispy Kreme donuts and we found that people were extremely receptive and responsive to that which was absolutely awesome,” Bourrie said.

“One of our elections volunteers, Robert, was absolutely phenomenal. He was kinda buzzing around the concourse, up in the 24, everywhere getting people to vote which was absolutely awesome. Our big focus during the voting days [was] to get people engaged on the ground, we also rely on the candidates to ensure that they’re doing their part to get people out. So overall I’m happy with how it went.”

As for the board of directors, all 12 candidates were acclaimed, with eight of the elected directors being new to the board.

Newly elected president Devyn Kelly is ready to relax after a busy election season and is grateful for the support she received while campaigning.

“[I am feeling] so, so happy … relaxed, I feel like I can sleep — finally,” Kelly said.

“This was the craziest two-and-a-half weeks of my life. It feels like six months. It has been a blur. But meeting different people on the campus has been the coolest thing.”

“I want to acknowledge Brooke Abbott and Rachel Bishop. The two of them pretty much ran my whole life, and they have run my whole life since March. And then [the] 170 volunteers that have … had to wear orange shirts for the last two weeks,” she said.

The 2020 election season has been particularly monumental for the presidential candidates, and it’s something that Kelly hopes will encourage more women to run for student government.

“This whole process hasn’t felt real, but my biggest takeaway from this is that this [has been] a historical year,” Kelly said.

“To have two female [candidates] running — it was the first time in history — and to see a female now win, that hasn’t happened in my four years. So, hopefully, this is a trend that continues. I’d love to see that.”

Andrew Dang, one of the four returning board of director members, is also excited for the year ahead.

“I will say this: I am ecstatic and quite overwhelmed,” Dang said

Dang is looking forward to working with the budget especially.

“I think the first thing, foremost, is [that] I’m going to work on maintaining the student budget. I’m the chair of the finance committee this year and I think that’s the foremost thing moving onto next fiscal year now that the Student Choice Initiative is done,” Dang said.

“The next thing is really want to work on is really critiquing her platform, because she did make a lot of promises, as does every president and CEO every single year, and I think it’s only fair enough and respective of my role to see what is plausible and not plausible in the restraints of the constitutions and policies of the school as well as the budget.”

First-time members of the board of directors Akshat Shah and Lauren Rutherford are looking forward to the possibilities that being on the board will provide as well.

“I’m feeling good about getting on the Board of Directors … and I’m honestly a little bit relieved that I have more time because I want to focus more on being the vice-chair and handling those responsibilities, so I feel like that will allow me to put more time into that,” Shah said.

“[I want to] make sure that students have access to the board … have access to the meeting minutes and board agendas so that they can be a whole lot more informed about what’s going on.”

“I think there’s a lot of new people coming in, which is exciting … we’re getting a fresh start,” Rutherford said.

Moving forward, Rutherford is dedicated to promoting transparency.

“We all — on our platforms — talked a lot about transparency, and I know everyone says that [but] I feel with this diverse group that we’re going to get that outreach,” Rutherford said.

“We’re in such an interesting time right now with university affairs — with OUSA and OSAP being up in the air with the Ford government — that this is kind of the time that we really need to have the students’ voice [as] number one.”

With files from Emily Waitson, Editor-in-Chief; Sophia Cole, News Editor; Alyssa Di Sabatino, Arts and Life Editor; Victoria Marshall, Senior Copy Editor and Aaron Waitson, President and Publisher. 

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