The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Meet the candidates: Freshman class president

Photo by Abbey Santoro

The John J. Koldus Building on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022.

With one-third of the semester completed, it’s time for the freshman class to elect their class president to represent them.

The Class of 2026 can vote here for the freshman class president from Thursday, Sept. 29 at 9 a.m. to Friday, Sept. 30 at 12 p.m.

There are 15 candidates on the ballot, but students can also vote for “write-in” candidates by manually inputting their name. Information about the class president’s responsibilities and eligibility requirements can be found here.

Editor’s Note: All candidates were contacted and invited to comment. For those who did not respond, information from their campaign accounts was provided, when available. 

Briani Plancarte-Saenz

Briani Plancarte-Saenz is a forensic investigative sciences major who said she hopes to promote diversity, class unity and traditions. In addition, Plancarte-Saenz said she plans to implement fundraising and profit shares to raise money for the Class of 2026.

“I want to expand class unity throughout all freshmen because freshman year can be your hardest year physically and mentally because you need to adjust to this new life,” Plancarte-Saenz said. “You should just have someone at least to trust or talk to that is going through the same thing.”

Ciara Anderson

Ciara Anderson is a telecommunications major involved in Excellence uniting Culture, Education, and Leadership, or ExCEL and Century Scholars. Anderson said their main goals as president would be to make the freshmen class feel they belong on campus through mentorship programs or increasing access to campus resources.

“I just want to be a representative for the students,” Anderson said. “I’m not doing this for the sake of the title. I’m doing this to selflessly serve my fellow Aggies and uphold the Aggie Core Values so that I can uplift and benefit and do what I can to make a change and make a difference for the freshman class.”

Editor’s Note: Prior to beginning her campaign, Ciara Anderson was commissioned to create artwork for The Battalion, but has stepped away from her position, and will not return if elected.

Colton Whisenant

Colton Whisenant is an agribusiness major who is a member of the Corps of Cadets. Whisenant said as president, he would encourage participation in traditions, unite the class through class mixers and increase service involvement. Whether it’s through hosting class service events or open houses for service organizations, Whisenant said he wants to encourage students to serve the community.

“I’m a third-generation Aggie and I really believe in the traditions and values that A&M upholds,” Whisenant said. “I’d really like to have a positive impact on people. I’m willing to put in the time and effort that it takes to be a good class president, and I want to represent everyone here in Aggieland.” 

Daniel Gardiner

Daniel Gardiner is a political science major.

Demetri Zoutis

Demetri Zoutis is a forensic investigation sciences major with a law emphasis and is a member of the Corps. Zoutis said he hopes to encourage class unification and excellence as president while promoting volunteer work.

“I understand that upholding the tradition of togetherness is the only way to get the full Aggie experience here at Texas A&M,” Zoutis said. “Students will be able to reach out to me for any concerns. A vote for me means guaranteed equal representation.”

Erica Jantz

Erica Jantz is a history and political science major who wants to foster tradition and unity. Jantz said they hope to create a program called “Fresh Support” to connect freshmen, according to @ericajantz on Instagram.

Jorden Gabriel Hernandez

Jorden Hernandez is an engineering major. 

Jorgia Watson

Jorgia Watson is a business major who said she hopes to serve the freshman class by uniting them through the Aggie Core Values, according to @join_with_jorgia on Instagram.

Kathryn Carter

Kathryn Carter is an engineering major and is a new member of Chi Omega. Carter said her biggest goal as president would be to support student involvement and promote events on social media.

“I’m a second generation Aggie,” Carter said. “I always grew up going to football games and participating in all the traditions, and I’ve fallen in love with it. A&M has become like a family for me, and I just want everyone to get to experience that and get involved.”

Lucas Wheeler-Irizarry

Lucas Wheeler-Irizarry is an accounting and business honors major involved in the Muster Committee, the Diversity Commission and Ags Reach. Wheeler-Irizarry said he wants to connect the freshmen class through campus events and sporting events. He also wants to help students get involved in organizations and embrace diversity.

“A lot of freshmen are struggling to find their place and their community and their belonging,” Wheeler-Irizarry said. “My biggest goal as president is to help advocate for help finding the resources of organizations and help them find their place here.”

Manan Khandelwal

Manan Khandelwal is an engineering major who hopes to pursue computer science. Khandelwal said he hopes to increase class unity, reimagine Fish Fest and provide more resources such as newsletters.

At A&M, Khandelwal works as director of finance and registration for Leadership Education for APIDA Development, or LEAD, and participates in intramural sports. He also is a chair for the Houston Area Model United Nations conference.

“I love meeting new people and talking to them, but more than that, I value my ability to understand hardships in someone’s life, and I tend to do everything in my power to help them,” Khandelwal said. “I understand that checking up on every single student is extremely unviable, but I can’t consider myself a good leader if I don’t try and fight to get as close as possible. Also, I am a firm believer in equal opportunity for everyone.”

Robert Hargrove

Elementary education major Robert Hargrove said he wants to serve his campus and community. He hopes to start a class service project and class social event, different from the annual Big Event and Fish Fest.

Hargrove participates in Ags Reach and the School of Education and Human Development Student Council.

“I’m just someone who wants to make a difference in the community and on campus,” Hargrove said. “I want to benefit people, and I’m hoping to make a change within our culture so everyone is accepted. Every voice is heard and I want to best lead our class so that we can all be successful.”

Rushil Jayant

Rushil Jayant is an engineering major.

Thomas Cannon

Business major Thomas Cannon said he wants to be a leader in his community. He hopes to uphold the traditions and Core Values while increasing student engagement.

In high school, Cannon was involved in Student Council, Academic Decathlon, Varsity Football and a Texas Boys State Delegate. At A&M, he’s involved in Greek Life, and plans to pursue law school after graduation.

“Students should vote for me because I am a trustworthy, honest and hard-working individual,” Cannon said. “I am also an effective leader. I know how to get the job done and get it done in a way that is going to please those above me while also keeping my team’s morale high. I am not afraid to face adversity head on and no matter the leadership position someone is in, adversity is going to strike. It is up to the leader to handle that adversity and still be able to lead his team.”

Yusuf Ozgel

Engineering major Yusuf Ozgel said he wants to make the campus more inclusive while increasing academic and extracurricular achievement.

Ozgel said he wants to improve quality of life on campus such as tents at ticket pulling and increase accessibility to traditions, extracurriculars and career opportunities through online access and more communication

“I am running [to serve the freshmen class],” Ozgel said. “I will do anything in my power to make tangible changes for the needs of the student body.”
Editor’s Note: The Battalion does not endorse candidates in any elections, on or off-campus.

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