The 2016 BYUSA election votes came in Thursday. Avery Harding and Addie Hulme captured the win by 2.8 percent of the vote.
“It’s been a journey that has changed my life,” Addie said reacting to the news. “The people that I’ve met, the relationships, the inspiration that has been received, has been life changing.”
Avery and Addie are the first women to serve together as the BYUSA president and vice president. The announcement came fittingly at the beginning of Women’s History Month.
Avery and Addie both recognized the significance of their victory for women at BYU. Avery said the responsibility trusted to them as the first female pair means they have “a lot to do,” but she said they’re ready for the work.
“We’re the first ever female president and vice president, and it’s that time. It’s 2016,” Avery said. “I know we are qualified and capable, so why not.”
The pair ran under the campaign title Remember Y. One key strategy to their campaign was the “Y Stories” they shared on social media. The stories featured students across campus remembering why they came to BYU.
“We’ve made leaps and strides with social media,” Addie said.
The team’s Instagram account has around 1,300 followers, according to Addie, and that is “more than anyone has ever had.”
Avery and Addie beat out Matthew and Kennedy by 171 votes, according to the BYUSA official election results.
They attributed their victory to their “vision” of Remember Y and to the many volunteers who helped in their campaign.
“We won because of our volunteers, and we also won because our campaign was about the students and not about us,” Avery said.
Many of the volunteers joined the campaign as strangers to Avery and Addie, but Avery and Addie said they soon grew to be friends.
“People just came out of the woodworks — super awesome people who just wanted to help,” Addie said.
Avery and Addie will be the new BYUSA president and vice president starting spring semester.
They want to start working on the details of their campaign initiatives until then, according to Addie.
“When you’re running a campaign you don’t have time to work out all the details, so we’re doing our research, doing everything we can to take what we learned from the election and put it into place,” Addie said.
Their Remember Y service plan breaks down into three parts: service, leadership and community.
They want to increase “meaningful, face-to-face service opportunities,” according to Avery.
Addie said they also want to improve BYUSA leadership by providing better training to volunteers so volunteers are left with “skills that are going to help them the rest of their lives as leaders.”
Finally the pair said they are focused on building strong relationships with other campus organizations and raise student awareness of the resources available on campus.
“We’re linking arms, and we’re united,” Avery said. ” Day one, we start building relationships with other on-campus groups and to unite campus life so we can be a more resourceful entity for the students.”
Avery and Addie won 3,246 of the 6,321 final votes. The two other teams were Matthew Maddix and Kennedy Bailey, as well as Aidan Reiri and Malorie Black.
Aidan and Malorie fell in the preliminary elections held on Wednesday, Mar. 2.
BYUSA announced Wednesday night only two percent separated Avery and Addie from Matthew and Kennedy, and BYUSA didn’t state which team held the two percent lead. Official results later showed Avery and Addie had that lead.
Students who voted for Aidan and Malorie on Wednesday could recast their vote on Thursday, and students who didn’t vote at all on Wednesday could also vote on Thursday.
Both Avery and Addie expressed their gratitude to all the people who made their victory possible.
“Thank you to everyone who has supported us,” Avery said. “Remember you don’t need to be in a position to make a difference. You can remember your why.”