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Freshman Class Representative candidates have diverse interests

Though the majority of students may be stuck inside the innards of SBU's Melville Library, the rest may have to shape up before midterm rolls around. (NINA LIN / THE STATESMAN)
The seven freshman representative candidates are campaigning hard among the student body for their share of the votes needed to gain office. (NINA LIN / THE STATESMAN)

Each of the seven Freshman Class Representative candidates are working hard on their campaigns this week, as the day to vote is quickly approaching. While they each have different reasons for running, varying goals for the position and different ways they plan to achieve those goals, each candidate expressed their desire to see the freshman class represented well.

Andrew Brems

Andrew Brems is a civil engineering major with plans to add an economics degree. He loves softball and basketball and is working to start a Chess Club on campus, as he was president of the club in his high school.

His main goals are to deal with the cost and quality of food on campus and the state of recreation rooms in residence halls. He said after listening to students’ opinions his first couple of weeks on campus, he realized those two areas need work.

“I just want everyone to get involved, and have a say in what goes on. If there’s only one student talking about what they want changed, nothing can happen. The more people who share their thoughts, the better I can do as a voice of the people.”

Tasnia Islam

Tasnia Islam is a biology major with a love of films planning to conduct scientific research in genetic engineering. She is in the University Scholars program and is the Co-Events Coordinator for Circle K, a club that promotes a better sense of community and leadership.

As freshman rep, she plans to focus on creating programs and activities to unite the freshman class and get them to be more social. She emphasized her past experience as her major asset: “I was a part of the student advisory council in my high school, which was the student government in charge of the class officers. I feel I’m a good liaison between the administration and the students, like USG here, which is why I’d be a good fit for the position.”

Cole (Eui Hyun) Lee

Cole (Eui Hyun) Lee is a volleyball player, political science major and avid attender of member of his building’s hall and quad council. He worked for State Senator Andrew Lanza and Congressman Michael Grimm speaking to constituents about their concerns and feels there is a connection between his work there and the position of Freshman Class Representative.

“I truly love to serve, so the possibilities and the things I could do are endless,” he said. “It doesn’t necessarily have to pertain to freshmen only–I would love it if freshmen can get to know upperclassmen as well, because we’re all one big Seawolves community!”

Omar Naimi

Omar Naimi is a self-professed television addict and biochemistry major, with a minor in creative writing and literature. He writes for “Spoke the Thunder”, the literary magazine on campus, and is a major participant in Model UN.

“My main point for USG is that I’m looking to support the clubs that are cultural,” he said, “because a lot of students who are coming into Stony Brook are coming into a new environment, and usually most people turn to culture when they’re looking to belong somewhere.”

Michelle Olakkengil

Michelle Olakkengil is currently a biology major on the pre-med track, switching to philosophy and psychology with a minor in English. She is the secretary of Baruch Hall Council and takes Tae Kwon Do classes.

“I was that quiet kid the first two years of high school, so I’m trying to make a change in college and put myself out there more,” she said of her reasons for running for Freshman Class Representative.

She wants to create a forum solely for freshman students, making information available to them so they can get involved on campus. “Also, I’m Supergirl, and like Supergirl, I’m the defender of the freshman class,” she said.

Jonathan Rodriguez

Jonathan Rodriguez is majoring in computer engineering, and he is a fervent poet on the side.

He has been involved in student government since his sophomore year of high school, and he loved it so much that he wants to continue being a voice for students. Rodriguez wants to increase the fairness of policies in clubs and in classes.

He said the focus of his campaign is unity. “I think the freshmen should be acknowledged as more than just freshmen, they should be acknowledged as part of the student body and they should be encouraged to be more involved,” he said. “There are a lot of organizations that do encourage this, but I’m hoping that I can help more organizations express this goal.”

Maximillian Shaps

Maximillian Shaps is a politically savvy “Game of Thrones” fan, the Residence Hall Association Senator in Benedict College in H Quad and very involved in Speech and Debate Society.

“I’m a political science major, and speaking with people is what I do best, so I’m totally oriented around communicating to get what I want done,” he said. “That’s the kind of person you need when it comes to something like this, and that’s the kind of person you should elect.”

Shaps said he thinks the position means representing the interests, rights and needs of the freshman class.

Correction: Oct. 14, 2013: An earlier version of this article said that Ryan Wolf could not be reached for comment. He did not respond to an interview request immediately because he had dropped out of the race instead.

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