Student Government campaigns for the 2018–2019 student body president and vice president have kicked off with two candidates advocating for representation of students from all backgrounds.
Guneez Ibrahim and Hannah McMorris are one of nine executive alliance campaigns. They hope to enact change for underrepresented groups on campus, with the motto, “A new Texas lookslike this.”
The candidates’ platform includes extending bus hours to Riverside and building a Riverside student center, bringing halal and kosher food to dorms to tend to different faiths and backgrounds, include locally sourced foods in dining halls, provide free tampons and pads in restrooms of every major campus building, add gender-inclusive signage to major campus restrooms, offer garage parking validation for students visiting centers in the Student Services Building and modernize the Perry Castañeda Library.
Ibrahim, running for president, is a sociology and design senior from Lafayette, Louisiana.
“(Elections) end up being more about the two people themselves versus the communities that they can support,” Ibrahim said. “We felt like a lot of the campaigns tokenize certain groups but then forget about them after being elected. We’ve both been really involved on campus and, after working with different groups, we saw different issues that need to be tackled.”
Ibrahim said she is a first-generation Pakistani-Muslim from southern Louisiana, and representation is very important for people of all identities.
Ibrahim and McMorris met while working for Orange Magazine. Soon after realizing they both wanted to run for office, they teamed up to begin planning their campaign.
McMorris is a political communications and African and African diaspora studies junior from Houston.
“One of the main reasons I wanted to run is because I was really dissatisfied when I was in Student Government, with the general exclusivity of it,” said McMorris, who was last year’s SG clerk of the assembly. “We’re focused on a new Texas and making it better — making the student experience equal for all.”
McMorris said their campaign is focused on inclusion.
“Generally, campaigns tend to reach out to the same sorts of people, and we are making a point to reach out to people who aren’t usually included,” McMorris said.
Ibrahim said past SG presidents, such as Kevin Helgren being openly gay and Alejandrina Guzman being Latina and differently abled, have paved the way for there to be the first Muslim woman president and black woman vice president.
This is the first in a series of profiles of the nine executive alliances.