Junior John LaBoda emerged as the victor of a tough race for the Students? Association President Wednesday night.
LaBoda, who received a total of 477 out of the total 1,184 votes cast, eclipsed runner-up Mindy Fountain by 207 votes.
?I?m definitely very excited. Actually, very excited would be an understatement,? LaBoda said. ?I?m looking forward to doing a good job for the university next year.?
Out of 3,900 undergraduates, approximately 30 percent participated in the elections this year. This was roughly a 5 percent increase in turnout at the polls as compared to last year.
?I was very happy with the voter turnout this year,? election committee chair Joe Cacciola said. ?I think that?s a good sign ? higher student turnout is a positive sign for student government as students are becoming more active.?
LaBoda, who has experience as both a Hill Court and Fraternity Quad Senator, plans to make changes during his administration.
In the near future, he intends to advertise and interview for a competent and dedicated chief of staff. He also envisions a cabinet consisting of responsible and devoted members, as well as ?the representative cabinet that everyone talks about,? he said.
?I definitely want to bring in a new management style and work on better communication with the two branches. We should be bound by the goal of university improvement,? LaBoda said.
Additionally, LaBoda encourages open minds and communication among the student body and administration.
?I want to let students know that they shouldn?t feel afraid to come present ideas to the president or senate,? he said.
Cacciola felt that the race was very tough and all of the candidates fought hard for the position.
?I honestly didn?t know who was going to win, and I was very surprised by the totals,? he said.
LaBoda agreed. ?I was really impressed by the candidates this year. I thought they were really great people, and it was a tough race,? he said.
Incumbent Meng Wang received the third-highest number of votes at 182. He had garnered 201 votes in last year?s presidential primary, in which 25 percent of the student body voted.
?I liked the general attitude of the race better this year. I thought all the candidates put on a great showing, a lot of heart by everybody, especially Mindy,? he said. ?It?s undeniable that all the candidates have a lot of love for this campus, and I personally hope that none of them will drop out of the scene because I think they have a lot to contribute.?
Despite the fact that he is disappointed over his loss, Wang strongly supports LaBoda.
?He will do a fabulous job, and I would be glad to help him out whenever I can,? Wang said.
In the meantime, Wang hopes to take advantage of other activities on campus away from the political scene, such as a cappella singing and acting.
Fountain received 270 votes. The last official candidate, Samay Gheewala, received 140 votes.
Fountain and Gheewala could not be reached for comment.
The Who Cares? Guy comic strip character drawn by Byron Au-Yeung also received a small number of votes as a write-in candidate for the second year in a row.
Of the 98 write-in votes, the comic got 45 votes, almost doubling last year?s 26.
LaBoda feels that the government is well set-up for the year to come and is very optimistic.
His long-term goals include coordinating different activities with other universities and dealing with problems relating to diversity on campus.
Moreover, he intends to help fight for the installation of the long-awaited pub in Wilson Commons and would like to work with the administration on dining plans in order to promote more satisfaction among all the students.
?I feel that I have a good background and working experience behind me, and I really want to test myself to the student body to see if we can make a difference,? he said.