By Emily Cousins | Staff Writer
Hoffman Estates, Ill., junior Zach Tufenkjian came out on top in the external vice president runoff Tuesday. Tufenkjian edged out his opponent, Austin sophomore Hunter Walker, by 237 votes.
Tufenkjian said he is thankful for his campaign team and the student body for their support.
“We gave it our all, and we put our best foot forward,” Tufenkjian said. “I knew from the start, as long as I put my best foot forward, I’d be satisfied with whatever happens. I think that because we put our best foot forward, we won this election. I say ‘we’ because although I won this election, this campaign from the very start, and it continues to be, has always been a campaign for the people, for the students, for student organizations, for the Waco community. It will continue to be that way through my service as external vice president when I take office on June 1, 2021.”
Tufenkjian said this race was a challenge, and he is excited to start preparing to take office.
“This will be the most honorable role I’ve had so far,” Tufeknjian said. “It’ll be the final role I have, unfortunately, but nonetheless, I will try to make it the best role I’ve ever held because it’s a role for the students, and I will make it a role for the students.”
Houston sophomore Student Senator Ruhi Thapar and member of Tufenkjian’s campaign team said she was worried about the runoff election because of Walker’s lead in the Thursday and Friday election.
“We really gave it a final super hard push,” Thapar said. “Everyone was texting their friends, everyone was posting, everyone was trying to be super active online … It was great. It felt really good, and it just makes me even more excited for next year and being a part of Student Government again.”
Another member of Tufenkjian’s campaign team, Portland, Ore., senior Student Senator Kate Pitcher, said it’s always exciting when someone who is not involved in Greek life overcomes the odds and is elected a student body officer.
“He will be a voice for all students, and he will push this campus to take the next step forward towards equity, whatever that may look like,” Pitcher said. “Zach is someone who I’ve seen this year in Student Government work so hard. He has done more than anyone else and is truly someone who takes initiative, and he is super efficient and effective in his work.”
Thapar said she is ready to see Tufenkjian begin his work as EVP.
“I’m excited to see his outreach into the Waco community,” Thapar said. “I think he’s very intentional with how he wants to respect and have Baylor students become aware of the great diversity that exists in Waco. He has very specific connections within the community also with different groups that he can capitalize on and use to show them Baylor’s here for you, and we want to work together.”
Tufenkjian said he’s thankful for everyone who voted in each election, and he looks forward to getting to work.
“I want to thank all my campaign workers and everybody that pushed me along the way, everybody that has pushed me to run for this position, pushed me to stay in student government encouraged me to … run for this position, because I wouldn’t have won this position at all or run for it in the first place if I hadn’t had that motivation from those people there with me.”
Tufenkjian said he encourages everyone to become involved with Student Government.
“I’d like to encourage everyone to apply for positions in the student body president’s cabinet or my external vice president cabinet for next year,” Tufenkjian said. “There’s plenty of room for you. There’s always a spot for you with all the passions and skills and ideas that you have. We want to put those into action so that we can really serve students together unified.”