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Freshmen Student Elections

Class of 2018 Candidate Statements

Candidates for Student Government Association

(5 elected)

Clementina Davila:

As a new student at Sewanee, whose community is unified and welcoming, I want to give the best of myself at every single level. I want to demonstrate that nothing is impossible if it is approached the right way and teamwork exists. I believe that the best way to learn is through example, and the best way to show results is through actions. As a senator, I want to challenge the society to take out the best as it can be. I could not think of a better way to give back to the community than to help the class of 2018 excel to its ultimate potential.

If elected, I plan to work with my team on issues regarding student life in and out of the classroom as well as student-community interaction to promote things such as environmental education and sustainable living. My goal is to create an environment where everyone is able to be part of something they are passionate about. As a senator of the class of 2018, I will advocate for my peers in every aspect desired, following the standards and values that the University of the South strongly enforces. I will listen, observe, work and learn from the upperclassmen, whose hard work and input are the result of this great community.

Daniel Gabriel:

In writing this statement, a pretty much sad story quickly comes to mind. It is one that happened back in elementary school when I was 9. My twin brother was bullied by a senior student. It was profoundly disheartening to know that I could not do anything to help him at that moment because I was physically weaker. I kept mute, scared to death that by speaking, I might make things worse. I was wrong. On a whim however, I spoke out, with so much confidence, the source of which up till this day I do not understand and my brother was let go. My voice was my stronghold against my apparent physical weakness.

I have grown to realize that with my voice, I can effect tremendous change. For this reason, I intend to serve as a member of the senate of our Class of 2018. With our voices and ideas, we can strategically plan, create and design the best of our years at Sewanee, which I think is something we should definitely utilize. Admittedly, the thrill of having to be part of this somewhat large-scale planning and initiative gives me pleasant chills but more important to me is building a better Sewanee as a whole and making even the tiniest voice heard and taken seriously.

And it is the most beautiful thing to have such awesome people like you all to work through this with.

Together let’s make a difference.


Eliana Perozo:

I am running for Freshmen Senator because I care about the opinions of my classmates and wish to be the bridge that connects their needs and ideas with the Student Government Association. It has only been three short weeks since I came to Sewanee, but I already feel this place is my home. Not only do I want to be an active part of this community, but I also wish to inspire my class to be active.

      I was a member of SGA all four years of high school. I switched positions from Inspirational Leader to Secretary to Vice President because I wanted the opportunity to be well rounded in these different areas of responsibility. However, they all shared one common goal and that was to improve the student body.

If elected, I hope to improve this student body with the help of all my piers. I’ve encountered many different types of people at Sewanee and I believe each and every one of you can contribute to this place.

      I can’t promise you an abundance of coke machines or a ton of free candy, but I can promise you that my efforts are genuine. I do wish to change this place, I will work hard, and I do want to hear what each and every one of you has to say.

      Vote for me because I care about you, about this place, and about making a difference.

Ellen Henthorn:

My name is Ellen Henthorn, and I am running for a Senator position. I want to be in SGA to collaborate with organizations and clubs on promoting events in order to increase student involvement at Sewanee. I will not be posting flyers because I am supporting YSG, so be sure to check out an upcoming Facebook page regarding my campaign. Thanks for your considerations!

German Martinez Rojas:

I'm running for the office of senator for the simple reason of serving Sewanee's student body, and each of you. I have the tools to have a meaningful impact on this community, and want to do so with your support. I believe that an increase in the amount of cooperation within our community is the only way improve it. Therefore, allow me to represent and cooperate with You and your interests. I will fully devote myself to whatever cause the class of 2018 finds to be relevant in order to improve our daily life here on the Mountain. Thank you, vote German Martinez Rojas.

Harry Groce:

JFK once said, “one person can make a difference, and everyone should try.” I want to try and make a difference here at Sewanee, and I think that being an SGA Senator is a way to do that. As Sewanee grows and changes to fit the needs of its students and of the world at large, the voices of the student body are of paramount importance to the process. I want to channel the voice of the Class of 2018 and would be honored to represent y’all on SGA.

Jordan Maia:

Honorable and sincere. These are two words I choose to live by.

-I am interested in quite a few things: music, neuroscience, and film.

When I was younger, I participated in many different leadership positions: the leo club (volunteering), the class committee, environmental awareness club, acapella group, and spanish club.

Why do I want to represent the class of 2018?

I feel that a class representative needs to have the trait of being empathetic in the sense that one is understanding. I promise that I will do just that. I will do my best to get to know, on a personal level, all of my peers and their friend groups to ensure that everyone can be heard. With a drive to be a leader and the skills to work well with others I know our class would benefit. I will also bring in new ideas to the council that I have gained through experiences like spending a year in spain and achieving the Eagle Scout rank in boy scouts. In short, I promise to honor all of your ideas and value them deeply to ensure equality among our class. I truly love participating in these positions because I get the chance to interact with all of my peers and learn about the diversity in which our class holds. We have the potential to do great!

Lynn Whitfield:

My name is Lynn Whitfield and I am running for a spot as a senator in the Student Government Association. I would like to be on the Senate because I want to help organize events and be involved with student organizations around campus. I am a good choice for this position because of my past experience with Student Government in high school. With my strong work ethic and past experience, I think I am a great fit for the position. I would love to have the chance to represent the Class of 2018, so vote for me to represent you in the Student Senate. YSR!

Matt Clendenen:

I will represent the Class of 2018 as an active and communicative leader. We all have ideas to make our school a better place to live, but most people ignore those ideas and move on with their day. I believe we should take those ideas and implement them to maximize our possibilities as a class and as a school. If we are able to come together as a community and discuss current and future issues, we will be able to make this place, our home, the best it can be for us as well as posterity. Being given the opportunity to make a change in our community is something I will not take lightly. If given this opportunity to represent my fellow classmates, I will be open and willing to meet with each and every individual to discuss any issue one may have no matter how trivial it may seem to others. I will be sure your voice is heard and that a necessary change be made in any given situation for the betterment of us all.

Steph Collins:

My name is Steph Collins and I am running for a spot as an SGA Senator for the class of 2018. I spent three years on student council at my high school serving as Student Class Rep, Student Council treasurer and finally Student Body President. I consider myself a very welcoming and open-minded person and I believe I could be a great voice for our class. I am open to many ideas and excited to hear what you all have to say. I have experience in event planning which I believe could be very useful on SGA. I want to bring a innovative and creative ideas to Sewanee and show the many different perspectives of the class of 2018.  I am hoping you will vote for me so I can help bring my ideas to campus.

Tariro Kandemiri:

As a freshman, it has been an honor to be part of the Sewanee community and get to know my fellow classmates. Our school is filled with both bright students and faculty, and I am filled with great pride whenever I tell someone I am a Tiger. If I am selected as an SGA Senator, I will represent the whole student body, even the smallest voices, and make sure everyone has a chance to be heard and each unique idea be explored.

The Sewanee community is filled with many fantastic people and opportunities, and I’d like to be part of continuing to show the value of our connections throughout the campus. I am a team player and can handle pressure very well, along with being very respectful towards my colleagues and superiors. Also, I have excellent communication skills, both written and oral, making me approachable in all forms for those who need to get in touch with me. Currently, I write for Inside Lacrosse Magazine and have worked with companies such as STX and Under Armour, and am well-equipped to deliver in times of need. I would love to represent the class of 2018 on our SGA, and be a crucial part of leaving our mark on the domain.

Candidates for Honor Council

(1 Elected)

Amir Kamrani:

It’s a responsibility, something we have to stand for, it’s about our honor and dignity. It’s about trust when one can leave his/her bicycle out without locking it and finding it the same place next day. It’s about the value of our word, something that makes us believe one another and trust each other’s word. A code that lets Professors walk out of the class during a test and know that cheating does not occur as we are under the Honor Code. And yes, I write Honor Code with capitol H and C on purpose. Because something that important should be written like that. More than executing the Honor Code we need to honor it, and by that I mean we have to prefer living an honorable life in which violating the Honor Code in it becomes as bitter to our minds as the poison of a rattle snake.  That’s why I am running for this seat. To honor The Honor Code. In the name of honor, dignity, and trust, let us unite and show the world an exemplary system in which honor gets honored. I’m not running for myself, I’m not running for you, I’m running for us all. YSR!

   Sincerely your Freshman Honor council candidate

               Amir Kamrani

Cici Lekakos:

Within our small community, the honor code entrusts each student with the duty to respect one another. I intend to preserve the distinct sense of trust and academic integrity that is traditional of Sewanee.

Christopher Cooper:

The Honor Code embodies arguably the most important tradition at the University of the South. It states an important set of values that we as students can seek to follow not only during our four years at Sewanee, but for the rest of our lives. The enforcement of the three basic principles that one should not lie, cheat, or steal, while seemingly intuitive,ensure that these values are incorporated into every day life so that students may live as honorably on a Monday morning as they do on a Saturday night. Sewanee’s Honor Code provides security to each and every student; knowing that one is able to keep their dorm open and their car unlocked. Beyond enforcing honor in the traditional sense of stealing physical belongings, the Honor Code prevents the stealing of more abstract belongings, such as ideas and work. Consequently, all students are on a level playing field where no unfair advantages are granted. By voting for me, I will ensure that these values and traditions are continuously upheld to the highest possible standard. As your representative, I guarantee that the class of 2018 will not only continue the tradition of honor on the Mountain but will collectively lead future generations of Sewanee students to maintain Sewanee’s Honor Code to the highest degree. Vote for me: I would be humbled to represent the class of 2018 on the University of the South’s Honor Council, understanding that this is not a position to be taken lightly.

Eleanor Jurgensen:

I am passionate about preserving the open and trusting atmosphere of Sewanee. The honor code acts as the core structure that sustains the tradition of complete trust. Students must be able to trust the members of the Honor Council to ensure that violations brought to the attention of the council will be thoroughly investigated so that misunderstandings can be differentiated from valid violations. The Honor Code should never be feared, but rather, followed out of respect and love for Sewanee, its professors, and its students. When examining a case as part of the Honor Council, I will always review the case with an unassuming attitude, unbiased perspective, and commitment to fairness. I will always invest the time, energy, and focus necessary to reach the most rational conclusion. Additionally, I will treat each student and case with the respect and consideration that each member of the Sewanee family deserves.

Kurt Delay:
Sewanee isn’t your run-of-the-mill university. Our Domain is rich with academic excellence, diverse backgrounds, and sincere interest in learning. But above all of the pressed collars and well-written essays, Sewanee students posses some incommunicable trait, some aura of awareness that is as unnamable as it is unforgettable. Though we may never be able to completely delineate every facet of what makes Sewanee unique, I can confidently say that I believe one of the strongest aspects of Sewanee life is the Honor Code. But the contract isn’t nearly as important as those who embody it. The code itself is no more human or real than any other document. The Honor Code clearly sets boundaries, but it takes Sewanee students to fill the space inside of them. And what matters more than what isn’t done at Sewanee is what is done. Every needless act of kindness or thoughtfulness adds to the collective heartbeat of the student body. Every tender word or firm encouragement propels us towards greatness, and I want to do anything and everything within my means to encourage this kind of fellowship and cooperation. I will take the disciplinary aspect of this position very seriously, but what I think I can bring in addition is a strong and enthusiastic commitment to the cultivation of positive energy and action among the study body. My goal is that twenty years from now, when visitors are left speechless by the enigmatic bond here, we can still simply say, “It’s a Sewanee thing.”

Maria Baker:

Hi everyone! My name is Maria Baker. I’m a Floridian who happened upon Sewanee and quickly fell in love. While here, I hope to major in English, and my ultimate career goal is to practice law in the state of Florida, and eventually become a judge. I’m currently in the running for a chance to represent you all, the Class of 2018, on this year’s Honor Council. As for my qualifications,

1) I spent most of my high school years in student government, making people’s ideas into a reality.

2) I was a charter member of the school’s Mock Trial Team. On that team, I developed a strong sense of justice. Even before coming to Sewanee, I understood the importance of living by the rules that create the foundations of a community.

3) My experience extends into government, as I took classes on parliamentary procedure, as well as state and federal law my junior year when my peers chose me to participate in Girls State. My enthusiasm for justice grew in those nine days when we took over Tallahassee.

4) I am an extremely passionate person, and I fully devote myself to everything I participate in.

Having the chance to represent the Class of 2018 would not only give me practice in being discerning in complicated situations, it would also keep me in touch with the needs of our community. If elected, I hope to help make Sewanee, this place that I already adore, a more honorable place to live.

Mary Hannah Giddens:

Hi, my name is Mary Hannah Giddens and I am running for Honor Council. I have always deemed honor and respect as a very vital part of my academics and served on my high school's Honor Council for three years. The Honor Code here is taken very seriously. It instills trust, keeps students safe, and builds a strong community. Upon election, I will represent the class of 2018 in hearings regarding the Sewanee's Honor System and interpret the Code. I personally pledge, if elected, to uphold the Honor Code and represent my class to the fullest of my ability.

Shiro Burnette:

Ecce Quam Bonum. We have been trained to yell “Together” when hearing this phrase. This is not just to keep us awake during long Choices 101 sessions, but also to emphasize the value of community here at Sewanee. As many of us realized on our first visit, Sewanee’s environment is vastly different from other institutions. Passing hellos, unlocked doors, and abandoned backpacks are all a common occurrence on the mountain. This is because of the trust that exists between the students and faculty of the school. This respect can only be retained if the rules of The Honor Code are followed. It is this environment that I wish to help maintain. By being a member of The Honor Council it would be my duty to help instill these values of honor and integrity among the student population in hope that these traits will extend beyond one’s time at Sewanee.

Wright Griffith:

Hello Class of 2018,

During my senior year of high school, I served on the Honor Council with seven other peers. It was on this council that I hade to make some very tough decisions. Each decision was met with very serious contemplation and moral thought as to what should happen to the student in question. That being said, I know from experience what it is like to serve on a Honor Council. I know that it is not fun, and that the practice of upholding the values of the Honor Code is a very demanding and important task. I am running because I know what it is like to have to make the honorable decision in such difficult and thought provoking times. If I were to be elected, I would try my very best to uphold the honor code in my every day life, as well as while I serve on the Honor Council. I would ensure that each student in question of the honor code would have a fair and equal hearing. Finally, I would do my very best to ensure the ideals and history of the honor code at Sewanee is upheld and followed.

Thanks, Wright Griffith

William Burton-Edwards:

I don't steal.

If someone's stuff is out, I ain't finna mess.

I don't cheat.

Honestly, I've never cheated. Not on a test, not on a quiz, not on a girl, not ever. I realize you probably won't believe me, but this brings me to my next point.

I ain't lion, and I ain't gonna.

I might not be the best person for the job. But, if I am elected, I will do my best to uphold the honor of this school, trying fairly all who come before me. I will uphold my own standards of honor as I uphold those of this university.

My slogan will be:

Where there's a Will, there's a way!


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Sewanee: The University of the South735 University Ave, Sewanee, TN 37383931.598.100035.204826-85.921674