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Soler, Bell to lead student body for 2010-11

Sarah Mervosh | Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sophomores Catherine Soler and Andrew Bell became the first all-sophomore ticket to win the election for student body president and vice president when they received 54.6 percent of the vote Monday, Judicial Council president Ian Secviar said.

Soler and Bell defeated juniors Eras Noel and Julian Corona and freshmen Peter Ledet and Gabe Alvare in the election.

“As far as I know, [Soler and Bell] are the first sophomores to win,” Secviar said. “Our records show that two sophomores have never won going back to the year 2000.”

Secviar also said it was unusual for the ticket to win without a run-off election. In order to win without a run-off election, the ticket must win by more than 50 percent of the vote.

“This is the first time in at least four years that we haven’t had a runoff,” he said.

In total, 4,177 students voted in the election, making this year’s turnout the second highest voter turn out on record, vice president for elections of the Judicial Council Marcelo Perez said.

Last year holds the record for highest voted turnout with 4,509 votes, he said.

Soler, who will become Notre Dame’s fifth female student body president, said she is grateful to everyone who voted and supported her ticket.

“We’re grateful for the faith that people had in us, [that] they could see our experience, and our passion and commitment, and not use our age as something that would deter them,” she said. “We’re very excited and a little humbled by how much people really cared about the elections here.”

Bell said they plan to begin working on their initiatives prior to their official instatement April 1.

“We’re going to be getting started right away to meet with more administrators and establish more contacts to help us move forward,” Bell said.

Once they officially begin leading the student body, Soler said they will put their plans into action.

“We could start on our textbook rental program, begin doing things for The Wall,” she said. “We can try to get new hummus in the dining hall.”

The Wall will be a place in LaFortune where students can go to see all of the events happening each week, Soler said.

Bell added they will also work with outgoing student body president Grant Schmidt and vice president Cynthia Weber to learn what worked for them and continue the successes of their administration.

Soler said she would like to continue Schmidt and Weber’s presence as student leaders in the community.

“I think Grant and Cynthia have been tremendous leaders in the community and that’s something we definitely want to follow in their footsteps and be the face of the University in terms of community relations,” she said.

The ticket also said they would like to increase student government’s visibility and emphasized their approachability.

“I think people forget that we’re regular students. After this we’re going to study for accounting,” Bell said. “We have homework. We have the same stresses. We get excited about the weekend.

“When you have thoughts just come share them with us.”

Soler said she is excited to begin her term as student body president, but also said she enjoyed the election process.

“We are very respectful of our competitors,” she said. “It was a fun election.”

Eras and Corona, who received 25.1 percent of the vote, accepted their defeat with a smile.

“I mean it’s good. It’s a relief. It’s closure,” Noel said. “Thank you Notre Dame students, it was a great experience.”

Noel said he plans to continue his ideas for “Perspectives,” a series of interactive lectures where students and professors would discuss intellectual issues.

“Professors are really interested in that,” he said. “I think our venue now to be able to get this done is through a student club.”

Ledet and Alvare, the Zahm ticket, said they were pleased they received more votes than the option to abstain and plan to celebrate.

“I think we’re just going to party,” Ledet said.

Soler and Bell said they were excited to officially become president and vice president and get moving on their platforms.

“We’re really excited to be [the student body’s] leaders,” Soler said.
Bell added, “And not only to be their leaders, but to work with them.”