UMD Student Association freshman elections end Sept. 19


Student Association elections for freshman president and freshman representatives take place Sept. 18-19. Here is some information about each of the candidates running for freshman president.

Ayah Jailene Abuserrieh

Major: philosophy

What kinds of qualities and ideas will you bring to the table if elected as freshman president of Student Association?

“Since I was in 6th grade, I knew from a young age I found myself to be this confident and outspoken individual. I realized then the many strong qualities I have about myself when it comes to being a voice for the voiceless or simply advocating the majority interest. I thought it was selfish of me to hold in passionate and caring qualities about myself and not share it with the people. I also found joy in bringing out the best in others; it makes me so happy to see growth in students which is something I'll work so hard for. I allow for my actions to speak for myself. No matter who you are, where you come from, what your interests include, I promise to always represent what the majority want. I'll take careful consideration of the wants and needs of my peers. If I'm elected, some of my ideas I plan to include is to try and change the dining hall hours and have it start an hour later. I also want to try and push dining dollars to be used at the UMD stores, however I'm always open to more ideas! I've always been the type to put others before myself so I won't be satisfied until I know I've done the best and hardest work possible for my fellow freshies. But I am more than just a leader who wants to see the best in my classmates, I am your listener, I am your reliever, I'm your number one fan/hype man, I am your friend!”


Neal Bhakta

Major: English

What kinds of qualities and ideas will you bring to the table if elected as freshman president of Student Association?

“Last year in high school I took and was a part of many leadership clubs and classes, I took part in GLO (Great Leadership Opportunities), GLOmies (a club that helped build a bridge between Special Education students and the rest of the high school), Link Crew, LEAD( Leaders in Education and Diversity), and CAPS (Center for Advanced Professional Studies). Each one of these classes helped me develop specific skills in becoming a leader. Link Crew helped me learn how to connect with my peers, while GLO helped me learn how to lead a group of people who were not always willing to follow you. In GLOmies I learned how to work with 2 separate groups of people at the same time to reach compromises on how to get things done. CAPS helped me develop my public speaking and professional skills such as, collaboration, time management, and integrity. Overall I believe I posses some leadership skills but If elected I would like to continue to develop and advance these skills. One thing that I’m very passionate about is creating a united school where your background, class, and personality don’t count you out of anything. Participating in Glomies and Special Olympics Minnesota during my senior year of high school has really inspired me to make everywhere I go unified. If elected as Freshman President I want to find ways we can make the students on our campus more unified.”


Boyd Billman

Major: Criminology

What kinds of qualities and ideas will you bring to the table if elected as freshman president of Student Association?

“If elected Freshman President I will bring my core values of honesty, respect, and strategy to the UMD Student Association. I will be honest as your Freshman President by staying true to my classmates’ best interests. If a new idea or conflict comes before me, I will always act in the best interest of all parties involved. I will be respectful throughout my term, if elected, by always striving for inclusion of all people. I believe that by promoting inclusion within any organization, we can create an environment that fosters growth and produce more quality ideas. I will also be strategic by looking at ideas and conflicts with different lenses. I will weigh all options and create compromises by using different strategies. One idea I would like to look at is finding a better solution for parking on campus. Overall, I hope to serve the Freshmen Class as their President, and I kindly ask for their support with their vote.”


Seth Schweiger

Major: Undeclared

What kinds of qualities and ideas will you bring to the table if elected as freshman president of Student Association?

“If I were elected as Freshman President of Student Association I would bring a fresh new energy to the table. I am very charismatic and have so many great ideas about making our freshman year one to remember. I would like to organize a monthly get together with different themes such as carnival, or Hawaiian! I've talked to a few classmates and many of them liked the activities that took place during welcome week, but they all seem to think that these activities will not continue throughout the rest of our freshman year. I feel it would be great to keep the excitement of welcome week going during our stay here as a Bulldog. I am always open to new ideas and I am very outgoing, and easy to get along with. I love meeting new people and I feel like I could be a great voice for the Freshman class of 2021.”


Sam Shepherd

Major: Political Science and Criminology

 What kinds of qualities and ideas will you bring to the table if elected as freshman president of Student Association?

“I always bring an unselfish attitude in anything I do along with always showing an act of kindness. I was a captain in high school for the cross country and track teams because of my ability to lead my peers and be the guy they turn to for anything. I also bring more political knowledge than anyone else in this election, which is important to be president. What I want to bring as freshman president, if elected, would be to make this the most fun year ever. I have met many musically gifted people here, so I think organizing an open mic night would be a fun event for us freshman. I would also love to organize any other ideas or events that are wanted. Along with bringing fun, I would take full responsibility in making sure the freshman class is well represented in our school at the Student Association meetings, and that the freshman won’t be viewed as inferior.”


Shawna Shirley Spiry

Major: Biology

What kinds of qualities and ideas will you bring to the table if elected as freshman president of Student Association?

“If I get the honor of being elected to be the Student Association Freshman President, my goal is to make the changes I hear from actual students and be the advocate to making those changes happen. I have always been very passionate about my ability to lead. I feel like I am able to bring a new perspective and drive to try new things within our school. Other than being involved in Student Association, I am a part of Navigators, hammocking and hiking club, and coloring club. As a 4’10 freshman I have learned how important it is to stay involved and be noticed, through this thinking I plan to advocate to make club, sport, theatre, and organization information more accessible to students. I promise to do all that I can to make UMD students feel involved, respected, and valued. If you wish to contact me for any questions or concerns you have, please feel free to email me at Thank you for your consideration.”


Cameron Strand

Major: Industrial Engineering

What kinds of qualities and ideas will you bring to the table if elected as freshman president of Student Association?

“Even though I have only been in school for a few weeks, I can already tell this incoming freshman class is one of the best. As freshman president, I don't just want to be someone who has a title, I want to be someone that is approachable and dedicated. I want to make sure that the freshman class here at UMD is heard. I want everyone to know that I will always be open to ideas and suggestions. I will always make sure my focus is on the freshman class. I want to make everyone's first year at UMD one of their best. As freshman president, I would like to plan social events that can help us all become closer together. A few events that I have in mind currently are; movie nights, dances, or game nights. If you have any further ideas I am open to suggestions! Do not hesitate to contact me, I am here to represent you and your ideas. I thank you for your time and I hope to see you around!”

NewsKevin Ott