Ayelette Halbfinger will become the University of Maryland’s student body president after defeating Josie Urrea in the first in-person, contested SGA election in three years.
The junior finance and operations management and business analytics major led the Discover Maryland ticket and will serve as president in the 2022-23 academic year alongside her running mates: executive vice president Alexandra DeBus and vice president of financial affairs Ram Gupta.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be working with my executive team … and all the legislators who were elected as well as those who will be appointed,” Halbfinger said.
Though Our UMD’s executive slate of candidates lost, the party won more seats in the Student Government Association legislature than Discover Maryland.
This means there will be a divided SGA come the fall, something Halbfinger said she welcomes. She said she’s worked with a lot of the people from Our UMD who were elected to the legislature and has no problem continuing to work with them.
“I think it’s really healthy for there to be a split legislature,” Halbfinger said. “I think that it’s important when addressing all of the different issues that we encounter as a student government to have people from different communities and different backgrounds and also people who have different perspectives.”
Discover Maryland advocated for subsidized metro passes for students commuting to and from Washington, D.C., fixing the more than 20-year-old Blue Light Emergency Phones and reducing the student athletics fee, among many other policy items, according to its campaign platform.
Halbfinger said she wanted to make the SGA more collaborative to create a more engaged student body. She also called the turnout in this election “incredible,” and thanked students for coming out to vote.
“I thank students for turning out in polls and voting for their representatives, and I encourage students to continue to be involved, to continue to voice their concerns,” Halbfinger said.
In a statement to The Diamondback, Urrea wrote that while she was upset about the results, she was proud of what she and her party accomplished.
“I’m so proud of the team that we built and the students we reached during the campaign,” Urrea wrote. “I know that the legislators elected from our ticket will carry the values of honesty, passion, and transparency into next year that Our UMD championed throughout the election.”