By Annabelle Blair | Echo
At 6:50 p.m. on Thursday, Nicole Arpin, current Student Body President (SBP), and Adam Wright, current Student Body Vice President (SBVP), broke the news: juniors Chin Ai Oh and Noah Nemni will serve as Taylor's 2017-18 SBP and SBVP.
Oh, a student from Malaysia, is the first international student to serve as SBP-as far as Steve Austin, associate dean of the center for student leadership and director of student programs, is aware. Although students with heritages from other nations including Liberia and Iran have served in the past, they were also American citizens. Oh is a citizen of Malaysia.
"I think it's a huge honor (to be elected as the first international SBP), and I'm very, very thankful for the trust," Oh said. She extended thanks to the students within the Office of Intercultural Programs (OIP) for their support, encouragement and prayers: "I want to be able to respect that trust and be able to represent the international students and the diverse population also." Oh added that she is also excited to serve her American friends.
With a total count of 782 votes, Oh and Nemni defeated their opponents, juniors Aaron Voss and Bella Purcell, by a margin of 82 votes. "Both Aaron and I have greatly enjoyed this process alongside Chin Ai and Noah," Purcell said. "They are incredibly talented, capable and loving individuals that we know will be amazing as our Student Body President and Vice President."
Voss said he was humbled by the election's outcome, but very thankful to his campaign supporters and proud of the work their team accomplished leading up to the election. "Although we have lost, this campus is in good hands," Voss said. "The Oh and Nemni administration is one that is both competent and strong and we look forward to the leadership they will provide this campus in the forthcoming year."
Both Oh and Nemni appeared subdued and dazed in the small TSO office-minutes after they discovered the election results. "I'm just still in shock," Oh said.
In a written statement they later provided The Echo, Oh and Nemni shared their initial reaction: "We expected to be our normal enthusiastic selves, jumping around ecstatically, but instead we feel sobered by the weight of the responsibility you have entrusted us with."
Nemni shared that their current plan is to finish the year and fulfill their current responsibilities well. The pair plans to begin their campaign promise of leadership in truth and love during the hiring process for TSO executive cabinet members. Applications are currently open and interviews will take place between March 28 and April 8.
Nemni said they hope to foster creativity and fresh perspectives as they select their cabinet members, encouraging international students and students who haven't held leadership positions within TSO to apply.
As part of their formal training, Oh and Nemni, along with Arpin, Wright and Abram Stamper, student body treasurer, will attend a SBP conference put on by Gordon College Student Association and hosted at Wheaton College. Arpin said she attended the conference, for a consortium of colleges, last year and received information that transformed the way she approached student government and transitioned into her role last year.
Both Oh and Nemni thanked their campaign teams and past SBPs and SBVPs for assisting them throughout the process. Oh and Nemi also thanked Voss and Purcell "for a competitive and gracious race."