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Monday, February 06, 2023
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UW-Madison senior class office election underway

The election for Senior Class Office officially begins Tuesday at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There are seven candidates, nearly all registered as pairs, running this election season, with the voting window closing Thursday, March 10. 

The Senior Class Officer has two elected positions, President and Vice President. There are also four appointed positions: Communications Director, Events Director, Philanthropy Director and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director. Each of these positions has defined responsibilities and expectations.

Each year, the Senior Class Officers work in partnership with Student Affairs, the Office of the Chancellor, and the Wisconsin Alumni Association & Foundation to create an “unforgettable” Senior Class experience. Duties include the planning of the winter and spring commencement speakers and the selection of the Class Gift as well as events and advocacy for the senior class.

In interviews with The Daily Cardinal, five out of the seven candidates described their reasoning for running and their goals in senior class office. Liam McClean and Margo Wyatt, running together as President and Vice President, respectively, did not respond to requests for comment. 

Senior Class President candidate Gautam Agarwal and his Vice Presidential candidate Girik Soni, both computer science majors from India, are focused on giving back to the community that gave them so much.

“The school did a lot for us and made us a better person. Now it’s time for us to give back. While representing the class, we will reinforce the Wisconsin Idea by serving the society, strengthening cultural understanding and embodying respect for, and commitment to, the ideals of a pluralistic, multiracial, open, and democratic society, all while having fun,” Agarwal said. 

Agarwal and Soni are committed to making the senior experience enjoyable and memorable for the class of 2023. They also listed their joint plans for office to include installing bidets in every washroom and constructing a Culver’s on campus.

“Our class went through a lot of tough times during the pandemic, spending the whole sophomore year online,” Agarwal emphasized. “Making sure our class has an enjoyable time for their senior year is going to be the top priority for us.”

Max Canestraro, an economics and history major from Minnesota, is running for both President and Vice President. Campus involvement is important to him considering COVID-19 disruptions.

“My number one priority if elected is to lessen the effect that COVID has had on our seniors,” said Canestraro. “I plan to organize moderately sized, intimate social events for seniors with similar interests that will allow them to build some of the social connections they may not have had ample opportunity to build during their time here so far.”

Canestraro plans to extend his candidacy promises toward career-focused goals, aiming to prepare Badgers entering the workforce.

“Additionally, I will make it a priority to ensure that the entire Senior Class has the resources they need to craft an achievable plan for their life beyond being a student at UW-Madison,” said Canestraro. “I plan to hold events that give members of the Senior Class the tools and resources they need to build and achieve their life plan. Though there are certainly organizations on this campus that do this already, I believe that a broad, class-wide approach can help those seniors most in need of these career-building resources.”

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PapaCanooche Lewis-Holt is also running for Senior Class Office alongside KJ Singh, a finance major from Minnesota. Lewis-Holt — a Communication Arts and Legal Studies major from Chicago, Ill. — is excited about their candidacy.

“My priorities for my position are to bring back the elements of the university that may have been lost or forgotten because of COVID-19,” Lewis-Holt said. “Socializing is very important to me and I’m looking to bring back the non-alcoholic parties and the silent discos.”

For Lewis-Holt, running for Senior Class Officer is also about fulfilling a childhood dream.

“One thing I love about being a Badger is that I feel I’ve accomplished so many of my childhood dreams that I would have thought were impossible to achieve,” said Holt. “I want my presidential campaign and potential candidacy to inspire people to follow their dreams, and to not feel limited by what their parents may want or what the name of the area of study on your degree says.”

Full candidate profiles can be viewed online. Voting will close at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday. 

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