Meet the 2017-2018 BYUSA candidates

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BYUSA presidential election campaigns are in full swing.  The six candidates for president and executive vice president are actively campaigning in preparation for election day on March 1. Each team of candidates has a different personality, campaign strategy and slogan to bring to BYU if elected.

Ryan Hernandez and Makenzie McCoy — “Become.”

Ryan Hernandez, a junior from Sacramento, California, studying finance, said he always knew he wanted to run for BYUSA president.

“From the time I was young, I was always taught that in any situation you can’t improve your life if you are not trying actively to improve the lives of everyone else around you,” Hernandez said.

BYUSA Presidency candidates
Ryan Hernandez and Makenzie McCoy are running on the platform “become,” which encourages students to be themselves and become who they want to be at BYU. (Gianluca Cuestas)

This family motto has shaped him and pushed him to run for BYUSA president, according to Hernandez.

The choice to run with Mackenzie McCoy as his executive vice president was an easy one because she demonstrates Christ-like leadership and builds people up like nobody else he has ever met, Hernandez said.

McCoy, a junior from Las Vegas, studying news media, said she is happy to run with Hernandez.

“It was just a perfect opportunity to run, and it just felt so right,” McCoy said. “I have always just wanted to serve at a greater capacity, and so this is a perfect opportunity to do that and reach a lot of BYU students.”

“What we want to do if elected is very simple. We just want to help every student become the student that Heavenly Father wants them to become,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez said he and McCoy are confident they have already been given the way to help students become who they need to become from the six suggestions made by President Gordon B. Hinckley in the talk, “A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer.
“Our platform is making those ‘Six B’s’ of be grateful, be smart, be clean, be pure, be humble, be prayerful a campus goal and also a personal goal,” Hernandez said.
“We have a desire to serve, and we want others on campus to have that desire,” McCoy said. “We will provide opportunities for people to serve, not just leave with a diploma, but with friends and connection that will help them be a better person.”
More details about Hernandez and McCoy’s campaign are on their website.
Dillon Ostlund and Katelyn Strobel — “BeYoU.” 
Dillon Ostlund and Katelyn Strobel’s platform is “BeYoU,” which motivates students to find themselves at BYU and get involved. (Maddi Driggs)

Ostlund, a junior English major from South Jordan, Utah, said he is excited to run for BYUSA president after three years of service in BYUSA.

Strobel, Ostlund’s running mate, is from Idaho Falls, Idaho, and studies business management. She said it took some time to decide to run as his executive vice president.

“It’s a big task to run for BYUSA office and a big responsibility,” Strobel said. “It takes a lot of commitment, and I wanted to be 100% committed to this cause.”

Ostlund had the idea for their platform when reflecting on his own experience at BYU.

“A lot of my friends feel like they have to fit a mold, or they had to conform to some kind of standard at BYU,” Ostlund said. “But in reality every student has a really fulfilling experience and makes BYU a great place when they are true to who they are and find what makes them passionate.  This idea of BeYoU came from that.”

Stobel said coming to a campus with over 30,000 students can make any student feel overwhelmed. What this team wants to do is help take that feeling of anxiety away and show students all the different ways they can contribute to BYU.

Along with the “BeYoU” slogan, Ostlund and Strobel have adopted the phase “You’re meant to be you and you’re meant to be here.”

“What makes BYU awesome is that students have come with diverse backgrounds, hobbies, interests diverse talents, abilities and backgrounds,” Ostlund said. “We really want to involve a broader network of students and see how BYUSA can serve on a broader scale.”

Ostlund and Strobel plan to do this through a campus connections council where student representatives from major BYU organizations can talk about involvement opportunities and projects on campus.

More details about Ostlund and Strobel’s campaign are on their website.

 Matt Youngberg and Alex Gosch’s — “Be a Light.”
Youngberg, a junior studying economics, from Payette, Idaho, is running for BYUSA president. He said he is all about getting things done and helping to improve BYU.
Ari Davis
Left to Right: Matt Youngberg and Alex Gosch’s campaign focuses on helping others be a light by helping students strengthen, protect and share their light. (Ari Davis)
“In my experience at BYUSA there have been a lot of times I’ve seen stuff that is awesome, but there are also things that I wanted to improve,” Youngberg said. “This position (as BYUSA President) is a very good spot to make those kind of changes and make those improvements happen.”
Gosch, who is from Austin, Texas, studies genetics and biotechnology, and is running as Youngberg’s executive vice president. He said that Youngberg is very vision and detail oriented.
Building on BYU President Kevin Worthen’s devotional given in August 2016, where he shared that students need to let the Y light them, Youngberg and Gosch have divided their “Be a Light” campaign into three categories: Share Your Light, Protect Your Light and Strengthen Your Light.
Youngberg said Sharing Your Light is all about providing service for students. He and Gosch said they want to share students’ stories so people can see BYU as individuals.
They will keep running Y Wishes, which focuses on serving students with specific needs.
“Protecting Your Light is all about protecting yourself mentally. There are a lot of resources that we have on campus to help mental health, and we want students to know and use these resources,” Gosch said.
“Strengthen Your Light is all about the light of Christ. The vision of BYUSA is to make sure that there is no spiritually poor among us,” Youngberg said. “BYUSA doesn’t have a direct gospel-related program right now, and we want to create that.”
More details about Youngberg and Gosch’s campaign are on their website.