After introducing Cal Poly to a slew of lime green T-shirts and fending off a last-minute competitor, Katie Morrow captured the Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) presidency Thursday afternoon.
The new president-elect shared hugs and kisses with her supporters and family who gathered close in the University Union (UU) Plaza during the minutes leading up to the announcement. Morrow’s campaign manager Haley Houle presented her with a bouquet of flowers before Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong joined them in the celebrations to congratulate Morrow.
“We have a really exciting year ahead,” Morrow said after the results were announced. “Students are going to start seeing some of the changes we’ve been working on for a while now because we can really build on them and really develop them. I think everyone should be really excited, I’m just so excited right now.”
The social sciences junior claimed the majority of 5,222 votes tallied after appearing as the only candidate on the ballot during the 24-hour election period that began Wednesday morning. The 29 percent of students who voted is a substantially lower number than last year’s record-setting 37 percent voter turnout.
Brianna Mulligan, Board of Directors representative in the Orfalea College of Business, announced the election results during UU Hour in front of dozens of students, including many who donned the candidate’s self-branded T-shirt with her campaign’s slogan: “Taking the Next Step.”
Morrow said she was “thrilled” with the election results: nearly 75 percent of those who voted chose Morrow as the new ASI president.
“I’m happy that I got a strong majority and everything like that,” Morrow said. ”I’m happy the students had faith in me representing them, and I’m going to make sure I do a good job of that.”
Morrow enjoyed days of unopposed campaigning before a surprise write-in offered a challenge late last week. Biomedical engineering senior Nha Ha decided to enter the contest just one week ago, despite knowing his name would not appear on their online ballots.
The new ASI president-elect spoke with Ha in the hour before results were revelaed. She said the two talked about what they were doing before the announcement and wished each other good luck.
“I was not sure at all (I would win),” Morrow said. “I’m not a cocky person in any way. At no point did I feel like a shoe-in, ever. I mean I’ve been talking all day like I’ll be sad if I lose, and I’m glad I don’t have to be sad. But it’s a thought I’ve had the entire time. You never know what could happen.”
Morrow will take the position from current ASI president Kiyana Tabrizi, who Morrow served under as chief of staff. While working with her predecessor, Morrow acted as a student representative in committees both on and off campus. In an interview with the Mustang Daily earlier this week, she said her work with Tabrizi broadened her perspective on Cal Poly and brought her closer to university-level administrators.
Tabrizi, a political sciences senior, will hand the position to Morrow after she graduates in June. Though Tabrizi said she will be sad to leave the position, she believes her friend and colleague will successfully transition to become the face of student government.
“The learning curve for her is going to be very small, maybe smaller than any ASI president in the past,” Tabrizi said of Morrow. “If I can’t go to something, she’s the person I call. If I can bring someone, she’s the person I’d like to bring. I don’t like calling her my chief of staff, because it sounds like she woks for me. She’s really my right-hand girl.”