Viet Nguyen ’17 won a commanding victory in the endorsements campaign for Undergraduate Council of Students president, capturing the support of 32 student groups in his bid to lead UCS for the 2016-2017 academic year.
Among the groups pledging support for Nguyen were 1vyG: the Inter-Ivy First Generation College Students’ Network, the Asian American Heritage Series, the Asian American Student Association, the Black Heritage Series, the Black Student Union, the Brown United Hmong and Miao Alliance, the Brown University Latinx Council, Bruin Club, the Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse, Chess Club, Divine Rhythm Step Team, First-Gens@Brown, Gates Scholars, Gender Action, Global Brigades, Harambee House, International Mentoring Program, Ivy Council, the Latino Heritage Series, Lecture Board, MEChA de Brown, the Multiracial Heritage Series, Natives at Brown, the Queer Alliance, Quest Scholars at Brown, REZilience Magazine, SCRAP, Shades of Brown, $ocial Classmates, SOMOS and the Round and Vietnamese Students Association.
Brown Gates Scholars campus leader Gabe Reyes ’18 spoke highly of Nguyen’s work in promoting first-generation and low-income student interests on campus. Nguyen initiated the creation of the First-Generation Student Center and assisted in the process of doubling of the University’s emergency fund and increasing travel aid for international students, according to his platform.
“I feel confident trusting Viet,” Reyes said. “He’s already done so much — more than any other candidate.”
Nguyen’s drive to accomplish his campaign’s goals would make him a strong leader, Reyes said. “Viet has demonstrated that if there’s something he wants done on this campus, he’ll push for it — he’ll fight for it,” he said.
Kevin Garcia ’18 attracted votes of confidence from the Brown Democrats, Brown Republicans, Greek Council and Matanya’s Hope, while Zachary Nelkin ’17 garnered backing from the Providence Democratic Socialists and Brown Students for Bernie.
Student group representatives supporting Garcia highlighted his exemplary service on UCS for the past year and his in-depth knowledge of student concerns.
Brown Democrats Vice President Brian Cohn ’17 attended the candidates’ debate Thursday and praised Garcia’s performance. “Kevin’s experience shone through,” Cohn said. “We liked seeing knowledge on a range of issues.”
Garcia is a member of the Brown Democrats, and Cohn spoke positively of his work with the group. “His ideas of accessibility, tolerance and compassion really fit well with the Brown Dems’ mission,” Cohn said.
Support for Garcia from the Brown Republicans was equally strong. “We were really pleased that Kevin reached out to us,” said member Zach Neronha ’19. “We thought it showed that he was going to stand up for us and all the student groups on campus.”
Neronha also noted Garcia’s UCS work placed him a cut above the other candidates. “There were a lot of consistencies between the platforms. … We like the way Kevin comes at this platform. We think he’ll do a great job implementing these things through his experience on UCS,” he said.
Garcia’s ability to effectively navigate the partisan divide makes him a particularly effective candidate, Neronha said. “I think it’s a beautiful fact that in the state of our political system right now, the Brown Dems and Brown Republicans have endorsed the same person,” he said.
Nelkin’s promise to change the internal structure of UCS resonated with Brown Students for Bernie, said member Aidan Calvelli ’19. “We liked that his platform was about making UCS more democratic. That’s in line with Bernie’s methods,” he said.
There exists substantial crossover between the approaches of Sanders and Nelkin in terms of “increasing elections and turnout,” Calvelli said. “We’d be doing Bernie a service by encouraging student groups to be more active in campus politics,” he said.
In his unopposed bid for the UCS vice presidency, Tim Ittner ’18 took 10 endorsements.