Get to know BYUSA presidential candidates for election today

Julia Pun shows a student a balloon animal. Pun is one of 10 students running for the BYUSA presidency. (Jackie Durfey)

BYUSA elections are today, Feb. 29, and students can vote for candidates here from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. BYUSA encouraged students to be informed about candidates before voting.

Each year, BYU students run in pairs to be elected as BYUSA president and executive vice president by their peers. The Student Connection and Leadership Center website explained the importance of including students in the election process.

“BYUSA Elections initiates a productive dialogue and generates positive interactions between future student leaders on campus and the students they are striving to serve,” the website states. “The process promotes integrity and student development to cultivate a community of inclusive Christ-centered leaders.”

To run for office, students must develop a plan for a year in office, develop an election campaign and participate in different events to introduce and connect them to the student body, according to the BYUSA website.

Students met BYUSA presidential candidates and learned about their campaigns at the BYUSA rally night on Feb. 15.

Students play chess in Sarah Sun and Tala Alnasser’s rally room. Sun and Alnasser are running for BYUSA president and executive vice president. (Jackie Durfey)

Sarah Sun and Tala Alnasser

Candidates Sarah Sun and Tala Alnasser chose to bring in a photographer to take free headshots for students. They also provided students with henna, chips and dip, and a photo booth.

Inspired by President Reese’s inaugural address, Sun and Alnasser branded their campaign “Becoming BYU,” which includes three pillars: becoming united, becoming bridge-builders and becoming more.

“With Sarah converting to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at (age) 17 and Tala being a Muslim student, this campaign understands the importance of uniting with others from different backgrounds,” an Instagram caption stated.

Ezra Leauanae and Julia Pun

Candidates Ezra Leauanae and Julia Pun engaged with students by giving out balloon animals Pun made, serving nachos and jamming out to a live band.

Leauanae and Pun adopted the slogan “Elevate as One,” focusing on three main areas: campus, community and the individual.

“Ezra and Julia aim to elevate the existing voices and perspectives of (the BYU) student population. By elevating marginalized and underrepresented communities on campus through the framework of BYUSA, we aim to pose BYUSA as a force for good,” the team’s Instagram account stated.

Both Leauanae and Pun are currently involved in BYUSA. Leauanae is the clubs director and Pun is the activities director.

“For Ezra, BYUSA provided him with an opportunity to serve students who did not fit the perceived mold at BYU. He felt empowered to use his position to elevate students through the BYUSA office by enlisting them in leadership roles,” an Instagram caption said. 

Students write uplifting messages on a banner in Benson Scoffield and Sam Haggard’s rally room. Scoffield and Haggard are two of 10 BYUSA presidential candidates. (Jackie Durfey)

Benson Scoffield and Sam Haggard

Candidates Benson Scoffield and Sam Haggard invited local businesses to set up booths and sell products in their rally room. Scoffield and Haggard also provided pizza, donuts and a large sign for students to write uplifting messages to other students who may be struggling.

Scoffield and Haggard are running for office with the slogan “Let’s Build This.” Their campaign focuses on promoting belonging, amplifying voices, implementing new resources and building BYUSA. 

In a recent Instagram post, Scoffield shared the story of his dad’s passing. He said his family and friends were a great support to him during that difficult time.

“A lot of the reason of why I want to run for BYUSA president is because I want to give people the connection that I’ve had not only with my family but also with the friends that I’ve created,” Scoffield said.

Juliana Roberts and Porter Dixon

Candidates Juliana Roberts and Porter Dixon had ping pong, karaoke, a photo booth and a friendship bracelet-making station. 

Roberts and Dixon chose the slogan “True to the Blue.” 

“’True to the Blue’ has been built upon a desire to celebrate what makes BYU unequaled,” the team said on their Instagram account. “We recognized a need for greater campus unification, as well as a need to overcome ever-present culture of perfectionism … and instead sharing pride one with another for the one thing that we each have in common, BYU.”

Roberts, running for BYUSA president, shared some of her personal goals for the campaign on Instagram.

Students play Jenga in Juliana Roberts and Porter Dixon’s rally room. Roberts and Dixon are running for BYUSA president and executive vice president. (Jackie Durfey)

“I want to help students remember the excitement they felt when they opened their BYU acceptance letter,” Roberts said.

Ben Cochran and Zac Napierski

Ben Cochran and Zac Napierski invited a live band to play in their rally room and decked out the space with games like corn hole and ping pong.

The team’s campaign slogan is “Be one, be whY, be yoU.” To promote “Being one,” Cochran and Napierski suggested implementing one centralized calendar of events; To “be whY,” they invited students to be the reason people on campus feel loved; and to encourage students to “be yoU”, they planned to focus on the diversity of BYU by highlighting different students on Instagram.

In a recent Instagram post, Cochran described his experience moving around frequently while growing up and feeling lost and alone in high school. 

“With over 34,000 students here at BYU, I am committed to ensuring that every student feels welcomed and included,” Cochran said on Instagram. 

Students can learn more about candidates and the election process on the Student Connection and Leadership Center website.

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