Board of Elections Holds Contested SU Elections For the First Time in Three Years

Reflections on the first SU election in three years, along with Amanda Cissé and Fin Ying’s plans for the upcoming year.

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By Anson Shi

For the first time in three years, Stuyvesant had a Student Union (SU) election. Junior Amanda Cissé and sophomore Fin Ying were elected President and Vice-President, respectively, for the 2023-2024 school year. Cissé and Ying have had multiple leadership experiences, both within and outside of the SU. Currently, Cissé is Vice President of the SU, Vice President of the Black Students League, and the student coordinator for Respect For All, and has been in the SU since freshman year, also having served as the former Sophomore Caucus Co-President. Ying is the current Sophomore Caucus Co-President, holds minor leadership roles in other clubs and a tutoring organization, and was formerly the Freshman Caucus Co-President.

This year was the first time in three years that two tickets competed for the SU positions, and allowing the student body to vote seemed to have a generally positive impact on students. “It’s a symbol of democracy, and to have a democratic election is really important,” junior and Board of Elections Co-Chair Vanessa Chen said.

Cissé and Ying also explained their contentment with having another ticket run against them. “I think it’s always good for it to be contested. I wasn’t expecting [another ticket], but it turned out well. I think it makes it so that you’ve actually earned your spot as president instead of inheriting it,” Cissé said. “I like to think that we were actually elected and earned our position.”

Cissé and Ying described the origins of their passion for student government, explaining that their passion sprouted from the encouragement of their peers. “There was a senior in the Black Students League who encouraged me to join the Student Union, and she was one of my role models,” Cissé said.

Ying stated that their inspiration came directly from the first time they stepped foot in Stuyvesant. “[In Camp Stuy,] usually the Student Union President and Vice President get up on the stage and give a speech, and I thought that the way the President spoke was so inspiring, and she was such a charismatic person. I really wanted to be someone like that: being able to give advice to other people and being a good role model to all the incoming freshmen and [the] school as a whole,” Ying said.

Cissé and Ying believe that their experience as previous caucus Co-Presidents helped them during the election process. “One unique thing [about our ticket] is not just us having experience, but both of us having been co-presidents before. I feel like being in caucus puts you in a position where you know what it’s like to have a lot of freedom,” Cissé said. “You know your limitations, but you’re not afraid to experiment.”

Ying reaffirms that their collective prior experience will provide them with a unique skill set, allowing them to run the student government more efficiently. “The experience of working in student government already exposes you to a lot of the different aspects of policies, implementation, and event planning. You just know the processes behind everything, which makes running for student government smoother throughout the years,” Ying said.

Despite their success, Cissé and Ying reveal that there were many difficulties during the process of running, including a lack of organization with a few aspects within their campaign. “We had a document of a bunch of ideas that we had for the year, but a lot of it was internal and informally written, so we were trying to fix that up into a platform, but there was so much stuff that could be included,” Cissé said. “Something we could have done differently is making a more comprehensive campaign document with all of the policies that we wanted to do written on there.”

In addition, Cissé and Ying mentioned the time crunch that their whole team was under. “The timing of the campaign was placed in during AP season, and it was just really hectic for a lot of people, [including] our campaign team,” Ying said. “A lot of our managers were taking very big exams and were studying for them, so it was mostly just a time management issue.”

Despite these challenges, Cissé and Ying already have many goals that they are expecting to fulfill next year, mainly targeted toward achieving an increase in school spirit and entertainment as well as a decrease in academic stress. “This year, there were not many events. I'd like to have a lot of concrete events and would really like to decrease the academic stress,” Cissé said. “I feel like both of us going through campaign season and AP season at the same time speaks to that. We would use our platform for test corrections, test dropping, and some academic policy with the student leadership team soon.”