Meet the 2018-2019 BYUSA Presidency candidates

Savannah Hopkinson
Jayne Edwards Presidential Candidate for BYUSA 2018-2019. (Savannah Hopkinson)

Jayne Edwards

Major: Public Relations

 Hometown: North Salt Lake

Favorite Superhero: Wonder Woman, because she is capable of doing the job herself but chooses to delegate to others

Fun Fact: Speaks Japanese and loves Abraham Lincoln

Platform: BYUNITE

Edwards’ running mate Kendra Muller said, “(Jayne) is a powerful, beautiful woman. I absolutely adore her. She’s taught me so much. She’s a great example of what a Christlike leader should be.”

Kendra Muller, Vice Presidential Candidate for BYUSA 2018-2019 (Savannah Hopkinson)

Kendra Muller

Major: Neuropsychology

Hometown: Salt Lake City

Favorite Superhero: Wonder Woman, because she thinks love is most important overall

Fun Fact: Loves spicy foods, especially Thai food

 Platform: BYUNITE

Muller said of Edwards, “I learn from her every day. She is inspiring and positive and has this optimism for life that is contagious. She is sunshine in human form.”

Simeon Toronto, Presidential Candidate for BYUSA 2018-2019 (Savannah Hopkinson)

Simeon Toronto

Major: Political Science

Hometown: Andover, Minnesota

Favorite Superhero: Captain America, because he loves his country, loves his God and defends what he believes

Fun Fact: His front two teeth are fake

Platform: Bridging One University

 Toronto’s running mate Dilan Maxfield said, “Simeon is one of the most influential people I’ve met at BYU. He makes others feel like a million bucks. If there’s anyone that consistently serves and ennobles people, it’s Simeon.”                 

Dilan Maxfield, Vice Presidential Candidate for BYUSA 2018-2019. (Savannah Hopkinson)

Dilan Maxfield

Major: Advertising

Hometown: West Jordan, Utah

Favorite Superhero: Spiderman, because he’s a relatable, dweeby teenager and his super powers are convenient

Fun Fact: Joined The LDS Church in high school

Platform: Bridging One University

Toronto said of Maxfield, “He is the kindest, most charitable person I have met at BYU. He is incredibly talented. No one is as kind or capable as him. I couldn’t imagine running with anyone else.”

Hannah Buswell, Presidential Candidate for BYUSA 2018-2019. (Savannah Hopkinson)

Hanna Buswell

Major: Experience Design

Hometown: Pleasant View, Utah

Favorite Superhero: Wonder Woman because she is empowering and she does great in her life

Fun Fact: Has 20 nieces and nephews and knows all of their birthdays by heart

Platform: What’s your Y

Buswell’s running mate James Belyeu said, “Hanna Buswell is super funny (and) outgoing. The typical trademarks of a great genuine person. She understands everything in life is not perfect and you have to work to get what you want. She’s a real life Amy Poehler.”                 

James Belyeu, Vice Presidential Candidate for BYUSA 2018-2019. (Savannah Hopkinson)

James Belyeu

Major: Advertising and German

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

Favorite Superhero: Clark Kent/Superman, because Belyeu grew up watching Smallville and lost his father he was young so he related to the character

Fun Fact: He is a transfer student from acting school and has seen 87 Broadway shows

Platform: What’s your Y

Buswell said of Belyeu, “He really wants to get to know each person individually. He has such a contagious laugh that even if the joke is dumb he can make it funny. He is especially organized and really driven with what he wants to do.”

The six candidates for the BYUSA 2018-2019 Presidential Elections have perfected their platforms and laid out their game plans. See their platforms below.

Jayne Edwards and Kendra Muller – BYUNITE

Jayne Edwards

Jayne Edwards is a public relations major from North Salt Lake and a self-proclaimed “BYU girl through and through.” She is currently a member of the BYU Young Ambassadors. Edwards has been involved with various BYUSA projects throughout her time at BYU but became more hands on last semester as she directed campaigns, such as the Mental Health Matters Campaign.

Savannah Hopkinson
Jayne Edwards talks to a Universe reporter about her candidacy for BYUSA president. Her running mate is Kendra Muller. (Savannah Hopkinson)

She said these projects helped her learn the reach BYUSA has on campus. Along with various BYUSA projects, Edwards has been involved with the symphony, multiple clubs and the MTC, making her reach on campus unique and broad, according to Edwards. She currently oversees the communications for Young Ambassadors — all social media, promotions and correspondence for the group go through her.

Edwards said she hopes to improve students’ perspectives of BYUSA.

“It’s not a negative perception,” she said. “They don’t understand what it is. Everybody here in this office is working together to serve everybody outside of the Wilk.”

Edwards said she hopes to celebrate the diversity of interests across campus. She recognizes the different backgrounds, perspectives and beliefs across campus and wants to provide better ways for all voices to be heard.

Kendra Muller

Kendra Muller is a neuropsychology major from Salt Lake City. She enjoys wheelchair rugby, skiing and doing adventurous things. Kendra has been involved with BYUSA since her freshman year, when she applied for a leadership position on the Student Advisory Council. She has been on this council for her entire BYU experience.

Savannah Hopkinson
Kendra Muller talks to a Universe reporter about her candidacy for BYUSA president. Her running mate is Jayne Edwards. (Savannah Hopkinson)

“I love planning parties and these fun activities that BYUSA is known for, but student advisory council is making change on campus,” Muller said. “I’m doing more than just making someone happy for a night through a dance.”

Muller said she hopes to improve student life by showing students their voices matter. She said students always have great ideas but don’t always know where to get those ideas heard. Muller plans to go to students in their council meetings, in their environments, so they can be comfortable getting help from BYUSA.

Muller also said she hopes to celebrate BYU’s diversity. She said BYU’s student population comprises many socioeconomic backgrounds, races, ethnicities, strengths and weaknesses.


According to Edwards and Muller, their platform, BYUNITE, is about bringing together the unique and special perspectives across campus.

“If we come together, the whole is greater than it’s parts,” Muller said.

The two plan to hold monthly Q&A sessions in which students can submit ideas for the BYUSA offices to implement. They also plan to attend club meetings and college student councils across the university.

“It will be an opportunity for us to meet them and get to know students who aren’t in the office everyday,” Edwards said. “We want to be more accessible to students.”

Muller made the distinction that they don’t want everyone to unite and be the same.

“That’s not what unity is. Everyone has different backgrounds, and strengths and cultures and abilities and these different things make us stronger as a whole,” Muller said. “When we come together, that makes a whole university.”

Muller also talked about last year’s initiative, “Be You,” and how it represented Christ going to find the lost sheep where it was. This year, she said they want to finish the circle and bring the sheep back to the field to unite with the fold.

Simeon Toronto and Dilan Maxfield – Bridging One University

Simeon Toronto

Simeone Toronto is a political science major from Andover, Minnesota. He loves sports and said he is the biggest BYU basketball fan.

Toronto has been involved with BYUSA since his freshman year, when he was a program director for True Blue Tuesdays. The following year he was a representative on the Student Advisory Council. He is currently serving his second year as vice president of Student Honor. Toronto said he has had virtually every experience BYUSA offers and he would love to expand his experience with the presidency.

Savannah Hopkinson
Simeon Toronto talks to a Universe reporter about her candidacy for BYUSA president His running mate is Dilan Maxfield. (Savannah Hopkinson)

Toronto found a love for every niche and interest students have to offer through an experience in high school; he attempted to be in the yearbook picture for every club his freshman year and ended up connecting with people all across the school. He said his love of diverse interests has only grown as he has expanded his environment from high school to college.

Toronto is focusing on improving the BYU experience. He said he wants to make a difference for students and for students to know his campaign is for them and about them. He hopes to celebrate BYU’s goodness and what students are passionate about.

Dilan Maxfield

Dilan Maxfield is an advertising major from West Jordan, Utah. He served his mission in Australia and is a transfer student from Utah State University. At USU he participated in an organization called President’s cabinet, where he helped with multiple campaigns and activities across campus.

When he first transferred to BYU he heard then-BYUSA President Brennan Staley talk about finding something to do outside school and work. Maxfield had trouble finding something, so Staley suggested BYUSA.

Savannah Hopkinson
Dilan Maxfield talks to a Universe reporter about her candidacy for BYUSA president His running mate is Simeon Toronto. (Savannah Hopkinson)

Maxfield worked his first year as a recruiter for BYUSA and the next as the executive director of media. In this role, Maxfield created content and advanced BYUSA’s social media reach. He currently serves as vice president of communications.

Maxfield is running for BYUSA in hopes to give back to the university. He wants to help students be more inclusive and to give students the positive experiences he has had.

“I really considered how much I’ve gained from being here at BYU and the relationships I’ve developed and the experiences I’ve had,” Maxfield said. “I hope I can facilitate those experiences for students.”

Maxfield said he wants to celebrate the connections students make while receiving a great education. He believes this better equips students to serve after graduation.

Bridging One University

Toronto and Maxfield came to their platform after spending three weeks identifying every aspect of campus that could be important to students. After deciding on their main points, they brought their ideas to administrators for improvement to make sure they were attainable.

The conclusion of this process was Bridging One University. To both Maxfield and Toronto, this represents better connecting students to each other. Their goal is to establish something that continues after they graduate.  The two have three main ideas: pen talks, 60 seconds of service and a student president council.

Pen Talks is a monthly TED Talk-style speech to help others learn how to be more inclusive of groups across campus. Speakers would be students representing diverse populations. They said examples might include someone outside the LDS faith or a member of the LGBT community.

The next idea is 60 seconds of service. Toronto and Maxfield want to cover campus with 60-second service projects to make it easy for students to stop and serve. The idea is that people want to serve, but they can’t always get to the WSC, and they don’t always have all afternoon. Maxfield said he has the dream of older students writing supportive letters to freshmen before their first American Heritage test.

The third idea from the pair is to get the student leadership president of every major organization on campus — for example, the ROC, college councils and clubs — to be on one council together. Toronto said this will help the organizations to better work with and support each other.

Hanna Buswell and James Belyeu – What’s Your Y?

Hanna Buswell

Hanna Buswell is an experience design major from Pleasant View. She served her mission in California and is a transfer student from Snow College. Before BYU, she was an ambassador for Snow College and a training leader on her mission.

Upon coming to BYU, Hanna got involved with BYUSA as an executive director over Y-Activities. She currently serves as vice president of Y-Activities. In this role, she manages five executive directors and oversees 40 events across campus. Buswell said this role has given her the vision she needs to make events happen on a campus-wide scale. She said being involved, even just by meeting people in all of her classes, has helped her prepare for this presidency.

Savannah Hopkinson
Hanna Buswell talks to a Universe reporter about her candidacy for BYUSA president Her running mate is James Belyeu. (Savannah Hopkinson)

“I’m not your typical student. I have a reading disability and learning struggles that have made me work a lot harder for a lot of things,” Buswell said. “We want to make sure every student knows they are here for a purpose and they can find their Y.”

Buswell said she wants students to not only be happy, but also give off happiness.

Buswell also mentioned that some groups don’t get noticed, such as the HOPE squad, which she only recently learned about. She wants to make sure students can hear about all organizations so they can get involved.

James Belyeu

James Belyeu is an advertising and German major from Atlanta, Georgia. He loves to travel and has been to 15 countries. Before coming to BYU, he was a buyer and merchandiser for 13 retail locations.

Since coming to BYU, Belyeu has served with Student Alumni, where he said he really learned what it means to be a BYU alum and have passion for the school. After a year with Student Alumni, he advanced to vice president of Student Alumni and became the director over two philanthropic events and overall branding for student alumni.

Belyeu also worked with Foundations of Leadership and taught incoming freshman what it means to have passion for BYU. This inspired him to help others find their passion for BYU — in other words, their “Y.”

Savannah Hopkinson
James Belyeu talks to a Universe reporter about her candidacy for BYUSA president. His running mate is Hanna Buswell (Savannah Hopkinson)

Belyeu is focused on improving students’ connections with campus and with each other. He wants to get students involved and included.

“Everyone is the same in my eyes and everyone deserves chance to get involved and be part of the campus community,” Belyeu said.

Beyleu hopes to celebrate the BYU experience. He said he loves that class starts with a prayer and that the world truly is the BYU campus.

What’s your Y?

Buswell and Belyeu are both transfer students who had a hard time feeling connected to the school without the traditional “freshman experience.” But they both found their place at BYU through service. They now want to help students broaden their experiences and find their own place on campus.

The two believe in open communication and working together to get things solved. They want collaboration across campus, not just delegation.

The three pillars of their platform are identify, empower and connect.

They want students to identify what organizations across campus do, including BYUSA. This will help students find a group they best fit into, according to Buswell.

“Empower” is for students to feel they have a voice and know they can make a real change on campus.

The last pillar, connect, is to help students realize they have a one-on-one connection with other students, Buswell said. Belyeu added students can also connect with what it means to be a true BYU student and get the most from their experience.

The three pillars together are meant to help students find their Y.

“Anyone can serve, but it’s a whole new thing when you know why you’re serving,” Belyeu said.

He said the pillars work together to support each other: when students can identify what they like, they are connected to campus. When they’re connected, they’re empowered, which then helps them to continue to identify their “Y.” 

Voting for BYUSA president and vice president will take place Feb. 28 and March 1.

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