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  • Collegian staff

ASWU Senate Candidates, Fall 2023

Provided by Chris Olivia, ASWU Vice President

Compiled by Isis Coyle, Media Manager

Meet the Associated Students of Willamette University (ASWU) Senate candidates for the 2023 Fall elections!

Voting begins Thursday, September 7 at 8 AM and Friday, September 8 at 5 PM!

Class of 2026

Photo courtesy of Anastasiia Lemesh

Anastasiia Lemesh

Hey there, fellow Bearcats! Are you ready for positive change and a fresh perspective? Allow me to introduce myself – I'm Anastasiia Lemesh (she/her), a transfer student here at Willamette University, and I'm excited to be running for the position of Senator for the Class of 2026.

My journey has taken me from student government roles in high school to serving as Vice President of Student Government at my previous university. Beyond that, I've had the privilege of leading the sports department at the Youth City Council in Chernihiv, Ukraine, and experiencing life as an exchange student in Georgia, Poland, and Greece. I believe that my diverse background and leadership experience make me well-suited to represent and advocate for the interests and ideas of our class. I envision fostering an inclusive environment that encourages open dialogue and creative problem-solving. Together, let's work towards making our time here at Willamette the best it can be. I look forward to connecting with all of you and listening to your thoughts and concerns. Thank you for considering me for this important role!

Photo courtesy of Aiden Schneider

Aiden Schneider

Aiden Schneider is a 19 year-old white male from Oak Grove, Oregon (in Milwaukie). During his first years as a child and student, he organized Khan Academy and was involved in multiple student organizations such as the robotics program, Battle of the Books, the bilingual program, and the multiple sports/instruments he participated in.

In middle school, Aiden challenged himself academically and physically by continuing his bilingual education, getting involved in orchestra, and setting a new discus school record at Alder Creek.

In high school, Aiden participated in model UN, track and field, orchestra, and discovered a passion for history. Politics during those years influenced the way he interacted with his feelings and emotions, and he grew a heart for the things that mattered to him.

While at Willamette, Aiden has made a community for himself within the classes, staff, and students around him. While being less involved in activities, he has focused on his passions and sincerely hopes that you may consider electing him to find some major purpose at Willamette.

Class of 2027

Photo courtesy of Valentine Wells

Valentine Wells

Hello Willamette! I am a fresh new face here, officially class of 2027 (woot woot!). I am SO excited to make change here and out in the big, bad world. My name is Valentine Wells, and I use They/He pronouns. I am fiercely passionate about others’ well-being, the academic rigor at Willamette, and making every student feel at home. I am a voracious reader and lover of the English language, and back home in Seattle, I have a dog and cat whom I miss dearly and daily. I take the Senator position seriously, and I know that we can all be the change we want to see in the world. I love to be challenged, and I know that everyone here deserves to be pushed to do what no one besides them can accomplish, and I believe with all my heart in every single one of you. I would love to work for you to make the change you want to see here at Willamette to make our community even more incredible. P.S. If you ever want to talk, come on over and I’d love to say hello.

Photo courtesy of Suzan Nuri

Suzan Nuri

My name is Suzan Nuri (she/her) and I am running for Class of 2027 Senator. With a proven track record of effective student government leadership and a commitment to student success, I am the ideal choice to represent your voice.

I attended a dual-enrollment program at Portland Community College where I served as President of the Associated Students of PCC. I represented 34,000 students, provided insight on the student voice to college administrations, and elevated student concerns to the Board of Directors as the Student Representative. My passion for student advocacy has made an impact and I am ready to take my commitment to the next level at Willamette University.

I believe that every student should feel valued and heard, regardless of their background or identity. As your senator, I will work tirelessly to promote initiatives that celebrate different cultures, advocate for accessible resources for underrepresented student groups, and foster an inclusive campus culture where every voice is heard.

By electing Suzan Nuri, you are choosing a leader deeply committed to your welfare, who knows the ropes of student government, and who will fight for a campus that values inclusivity and student success. Vote Suzan Nuri - your advocate!

Photo courtesy of Sal Chapell

Sal Chapell

My name is Sal Chapell, I use they/them pronouns, am a prospective PPLE major, and a member of the Speech and Debate Union. I have experience serving as student body secretary, class vice president, leading an initiative to start recycling in my local middle school, and attending statewide student government conferences as a delegate representing my high school.

We are a big class with diverse and interests and concerns and need capable leaders to understand and communicate our values. My duties as one of your class senators would be to vote on resolutions concerning activities, interests, and funding on campus in the interest of our class. I would love to talk to you, please reach out to me online ( or find me on campus to talk about what you would like to see from me this year. I am interested in working and helping out in community service, LGBTQIA+ organizations and organizing a studying club, a running club, and relaxing social activities to destress. I would also be sending out polls and questions via email to better understand what our class wants me to work towards so we can all get to know each other better!

Photo courtesy of Parker Gauldin

Parker Gauldin

Hi! I’m Parker Gauldin (she/her), and I am excited to be running for the ASWU Senator position for the Class of 2027! I have served many leadership positions before, both in school and community settings. I was President of my school’s Health Occupations Students of America club for two years, and I was Vice President of our Mu Alpha Theta chapter. Additionally, I served on the Teen Advocacy Board for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, and this experience provided me with leadership and community outreach skills. I have interned on two political campaigns and hope to have a career in politics. I am passionate about joining ASWU because I want to help make Willamette the best it can be. One goal of mine is to improve the composting capabilities on campus. It should be easy for each student to compost, which will allow Willamette to be more sustainable. I hope to earn your vote, and I promise to represent the Class of 2027 by listening to the students and remaining tuned in to Willamette’s needs and wants. Remember to vote Parker Gauldin for Class of 2027 ASWU Senator!

Photo courtesy of Kiele Jarnagin

Kiele Jarnagin

My name is Kiele Jarnagin (she/her) and I am running to be one of the Class of 2027 Senators for this school year. Holding a position would give me the opportunity to connect my class with one another and help put into motion new ideas to promote positivity and spirit throughout the university. I have been involved in the leadership world for the past seven years, including positions in theater, cheer, student council, and an array of clubs and organizations. I personally want to learn from others serving this term and develop an understanding of what can be changed in the future. I want to hear the voice of my class, hear what would make their four years memorable, and also hear from previous classes to keep traditions going and develop new ones. This is our year of learning, and I want to make the transition as comfortable

as possible.

Photo courtesy of Cole Cacic

Cole Cacic

Hello, my name is Cole and I use he/him pronouns. I am running for the position of ASWU senator for the class of 2027. I have always been passionate about student leadership and advocacy, and I want to make a positive difference in our campus community.

I have been involved in various clubs and organizations in my high school, such as the Debate Club, Key club and Rotary club. I have also volunteered to help with campaign work for my local representative. Through these experiences, I have developed skills in communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and creativity.

As an ASWU senator, I have some ideas that I would like to work on with your input and feedback. Some of them are:

  • Creating more opportunities for student engagement and socialization.

  • Improving the quality and accessibility of academic resources and support services, such as tutoring, counseling, and library facilities.

  • Promoting sustainability and environmental awareness on campus, such as by reducing waste, increasing recycling, and supporting green initiatives.

I hope to accomplish these goals by collaborating with other ASWU members, faculty, staff, and administration, as well as listening to the needs and concerns of my fellow students. I believe that together, we can make our campus a better place for everyone.

Thank you for your time and attention. Please vote for me as your ASWU senator for the class of 2027!

Photo courtesy of Claire Warthen

Claire Warthen

Hi Willamette Community! My name is Claire Warthen. I use she/her pronouns and am from Bremerton, Washington. Here at Willamette, I have the amazing opportunity to play on the women’s soccer team. I love to get to know people and listen to their experiences and perspectives. My vision as one of your class of 2027 senators would be to simply be a voice for our class. I firmly believe that by understanding and incorporating multiple perspectives, we can improve our campus culture so that all students can feel respected and valued. Ways I believe this can happen are through working with community organizations in the surrounding Salem area to strengthen the bonds between us here at Willamette and the community we live in and taking initiative in getting trash cans in all bathrooms for the disposal of period products. Through my previous leadership positions, I know I have the skills to see these ideas become action. By collaborating and communicating, I hope we can work together to see these ideas, and many more, come to life. Whether you are an artist, an athlete, or simply enjoy a good walk along the Mill Stream, I promise to use my position as a way to support your ideas and see them come to life here at Willamette.

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