Tyler Van Herzele was elected as the next Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union president and CEO with 55.25 per cent of the vote Thursday night.
Polls closed at 8 p.m. Thursday. At 11:30 p.m., chief governing officer Colin Aitchison and assistant chief returning officer Bianca Anderson announced the successful candidates for Senate, board of governors, FOSSA, Students’ Union board of directors and Students’ Union president, in addition to referenda questions.
“Overwhelmed, I mean, just seeing that room and seeing everyone how passionate they are regardless of who they were supporting or what they were there for,” said Van Herzele after the announcement.
After celebrating with family, friends and supporters, Van Herzele, the first Students’ Union president from Laurier Brantford told The Cord he already has plans the next day to start in his new position. According to Olivia Matthews, Van Herzele’s training will begin on Friday at noon.
“We’re working out alternate schedules to get all the [vice-president] packages and stuff figured out so the logistics behind,” he said.
Despite the win, Van Herzele said he’s very proud of his competitor, and friend, Tyler Murdock and what he accomplished during the campaign period.
“Honestly, it was just so amazing to see all of the things he’s accomplished in his time and he’s a good friend of mine, I’m very proud of him.”
Along with feeling excited and ready to take on the role of president, Van Herzele noted how proud he was of everyone who came out to support Murdock and himself. A packed Wilf’s crowd exploded with the news.
“Just knowing exactly how proud everyone in that room was and how proud I am of everyone in that room is really what I’m feeling right now,” Van Herzele said, who took a moment when he was elected to thank everyone from the stage and hug all members of his team, Murdock and members of the Students’ Union.
After the announcement, Murdock described his feelings as “a mixture of like relief, disappointment and confusion.”
“I put a lot of work into this, and it’s kind of sad that it’s not going to come to fruition, but either way I’m kind of happy it’s all the same,” he said.
When asked if there was anything he would have done differently, Murdock said it’s hard to look back with regrets. He said he’s “really satisfied” both candidates ran a clean race. As for Van Herzele, Murdock said he should be satisfied with his accomplishment and hopes the best for him.
“[Van Herzele’s] been dreaming of this for over a couple years now, he was talking about this a year ago, so breathe it all in [and] be happy that all your work paid off.”
The board of directors were also elected.The successful board of directors candidates were Jonathan Ricci, Nick DeSumma, Hubert Lee, Tarique Plummer, Faraz Iftekharuddin, Genelle Martin, Kevin Jang, Matt DeSumma, Ryan Price, Stephanie Bellotto, Shannon Kelly and Nick Molkoski.
New director Molkoski credits past elections for helping him run a successful campaign this year.
“It was totally new to me, it was new to a lot of people running. It started slow and I realized what was working, what was effective, but I learned a lot from past campaigns. I think it went good overall,” he said.
Molkoski later released his plans to run for vice-chair of the board of directors.
Kelly said she was pleased with the amount of female directors elected to the board this year, which amounts to three — an increase from one this past year.
“It’s fantastic. There’s three girls on the board this year — it’s so great to see because we only have one this year so it’s great to see even more girls this year.”
Returning director Ricci, the top-ranked candidate for the board of directors voting, described the announcement as “just a mix of emotions.”
“I didn’t know what place I was going to come in, and the minute Colin [Aitchison] mentioned number one … the people around me erupted and I almost burst into tears,” he said.
While the race to the board is over, Ricci said he will now focus on running for the role of chair of the board along with returning member Nick DeSumma.
“This was the most stressful campaign I’ve done. but the most enjoyable for sure.”
Dana Toameh, Hubert Lee were announced as the successful Senate candidates. Plummer was the elected to the board of governors.
Christie MacLeod was elected as FOSSA president.
All six referenda questions passed.
26.15 per cent of students cast their ballots this year.
–With files from Kaitlyn Severin, Lena Yang and Maddy Cutts