BYUSA 2023-24 election candidates begin their campaigns


Six candidates have begun their campaigns for 2023-24 BYUSA elections taking place in early March. Running together in pairs are Savanna Shiman and Claire Johnson, Fritz Morlant and Gabe Abello and Lexie Awerkamp and Seth Allred.

Savannah Shiman and Claire Johnson

Shiman and Johnson both have multiple years of experience with BYUSA and are focused on their platform of “Creating a Campus Family.” 

Savanna Shiman is running for BYUSA president after years of volunteering and holding different positions within BYUSA. She wants everyone to feel included. (Photo courtesy of Savanna Shiman)

Shiman is a junior in the pre-acting program from Tulare, California. She has volunteered with BYUSA since Fall 2020, as event help, social media planner for Student Voice and more. She has been a member of the experience area’s casual dance team, representative on the Student Advisory Council, team lead of the dating safety SAC project, SAC social media specialist, marketing director, and research director and team lead for the first year student experience SAC project. 

With her experience in BYUSA, Shiman said it has not always been easy to serve, and she has seen successes and failures. Despite the hardships, “I just have this feeling that there’s like something more that I can do,” Shiman said, which is why she chose to stay with BYUSA and wants to run for president. 

Shiman’s running mate Johnson is a junior majoring in communications disorders from Dallas, Texas. Johnson also joined BYUSA in Fall Semester 2020, and said she really got involved in Winter Semester 2022. Johnson has served on the accessibilities team of SAC and this year has been a team lead for the belonging team of SAC. 

Johnson cites BYUSA events, such as PEN Talks that feature students of different faiths, as helping gain new perspectives on life. “I want more students to be able to, like, realize that there’s, there’s so many types of students at BYU, and I hope that, like, running as vice president that we can advertise that anyone’s welcome here at BYU,” Johnson said. 

Claire Johnson is a junior studying communication disorders at BYU. Johnson wants to help other students feel welcome at BYU. (Photo courtesy of Claire Johnson)

To help create their campus family, Shiman and Johnson have plans to improve each area of BYUSA, including better communication to show students what BYUSA is doing, connecting students and alumni, keeping club records more updated and planning new and more inclusive activities, including more activities focused on service.

They also said they hope to have monthly meet and greets with students to help them know how to get involved on campus, and meet individually with students who want to share their story of how they found their campus family. Their goal is to help students have a connection and someone to go to. 

Shiman said both she and Johnson have a lot of experience in BYUSA and have helped in every single area, which will help them lead effectively. Johnson said they are willing to advocate for all types of students. 

Shiman discusses their campaign platform for the elections, “Creating a Campus Family.” Shiman and Johnson said they hope to help all students find a connection at BYU. (Annika Ohran)

Fritz Morlant and Gabe Abello

The next candidate pair running are Morlant and Abello, whose platform is “Let’s Show the World Y.” Morlant grew up in Haiti, but has also lived in Utah, New York City and Boston. He is studying computer science and business, and was involved in helping his friend Paul Victor campaign for BYUSA President in 2021. Morlant said he volunteered a lot with the service squad and setting up for activities, and was also involved with the Indian Club and the First-Gen Club. 

Fritz Morlant hopes to help other students feel at home at BYU. Morlant has had multiple experiences within BYUSA. (Photo courtesy of Fritz Morlant)

Morlant is a first generation student and said he felt like he did not know what he was doing at BYU at first, but the connections he made helped the campus feel smaller. Morlant said he wants students to feel “that BYU can be like a place for them, like a home for them,” regardless of where they are from or what their background is. 

Abello was born in Hawaii and grew up in the San Francisco Bay area. He currently studies electrical engineering but is switching to business strategy. Abello was also friends with Victor, and took over from him as president of the Indian Club — now named the South Asian Club — holding many new activities for the club last year. Abello has been involved in many clubs at BYU and said he saw how clubs benefited students by giving them a chance to engage with their passions and meet other students with similar interests. 

Gabe Abello served as president of the Indian Club and also dances for Living Legends at BYU. He hopes to help other students feel supported and inspired. (Photo courtesy of Fritz Morlant)

Abello said his personal experience with BYU influenced his decision to run for office, and he wants to help students feel comfortable putting themselves out there. “That’s where they can really find genuine, authentic relationships and we want to cultivate that campus culture,” Abello said. 

Morlant and Abello’s platform focuses on celebrating the successes and uniqueness of BYU while also promoting that BYU students are all one.

If elected, they will focus on helping students feel connected through marketing, creating a monthly newsletter to help students know more about events, a widget on the Y app to tell students about events on campus and videography/photography campaigns to highlight students and their unique experiences, they said.

Morlant and Abello said they want to make everyone feel like they can have a friend on campus. Abello said he and Morlant have both been through a lot, but when he has felt supported by people around him it has helped him feel inspired, and he wants to help other students feel the same. “We’re all Cougars and we’re all part of the Y,” Abello said. 

Morlant and Abello discuss their campaign platform, “Let’s Show the World Y.” They want everyone to feel like they have a friend on campus. (Annika Ohran)

Lexie Awerkamp and Seth Allred

Awerkamp and Allred met as members of SAC, and decided to run together under their platform “Be the Change.” 

Awerkamp is from Gilbert, Arizona and studies dietetics. She has been on the Life Sciences Student Council and then joined BYUSA and was on SAC for the Deaf and Blind Accessibility Group. 

Lexie Awerkamp has been inspired by her own experiences and struggles to help other students find balance at BYU. She hopes to incorporate her ideas if she is chosen as president. (Photo courtesy of Lexie Awerkamp)

Awerkamp said her experience with BYUSA helped her see the power of organization and what a group of people can accomplish. She said when she saw other students preparing to campaign for BYUSA elections, she thought to herself that she could never do that. Wanting to overcome those feelings and help others do the same is part of what inspired her to run for office. “We need that perspective to come in so we can help, like, facilitate change in the university,” Awerkamp said. She wants to empower students and help them realize what they have to contribute. 

Allred is also from Gilbert, Arizona and is a pre-business junior who plans to apply to the marketing program. Allred volunteered with BYUSA Honors his freshman year and was on SAC for the Deaf and Blind Accessibility Group last year. 

Seth Allred wants to help empower students through his campaign for BYUSA Vice President. Allred is passionate about BYU and its community. (Photo courtesy of Seth Allred)

Allred said the positive influence and inspiration he has received from other people in his life made him want to share that empowerment with others. “I’ve seen the power that people have in my life and want to empower me and I want to go ahead and do that for other people,” Allred said. 

Allred and Awerkamp said they want to accomplish their platform by making small changes and working with what resources and organizations already exist.

They said their goals and plans for each area of BYUSA include helping students be more aware of what BYUSA is doing, creating more activities to involve upperclassmen, improving communication and record keeping, and increasing connections across campus and between colleges.

They also want to make it easier for students to sign up to volunteer for BYUSA events and make a widget on the Y app with campus activities and volunteer opportunities. 

Awerkamp said her organizational skills, time management and love for life are all things she can contribute to the BYU community. She said her experiences growing up with dyslexia and struggling to find balance in her life freshman year helped her develop these skills.

Allred said, “We are very passionate about BYU, and man are we determined to make this place awesome.” Allred said their hope for their presidency is that they can help at least one person at BYU feel more included.  

Awerkamp and Allred discuss why they chose “Be the Change” as their platform for the elections. They share similar ideas for BYU. (Annika Ohran)
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