CHR wins by 9 per cent margin

Campaign song rings true for new AMS executive

Vice-president (operations)-elect Ben Hartley, president-elect Safiah Chowdhury and vice-president (university affairs)-elect Chris Rudnicki celebrate their AMS victory last night. Team CHR learned at 11 p.m. that they won 54.5 per cent of the vote.
Vice-president (operations)-elect Ben Hartley, president-elect Safiah Chowdhury and vice-president (university affairs)-elect Chris Rudnicki celebrate their AMS victory last night. Team CHR learned at 11 p.m. that they won 54.5 per cent of the vote.

After a long wait, AMS President Michael Ceci came bearing good news for the newly-elected team CHR.

President-elect Safiah Chowdhury, vice-president (operations)-elect Ben Hartley and vice-president (university affairs)-elect Chris Rudnicki had a tense lead up to victory.

Results were expected at 11 p.m. so at 10:59 p.m. when campaign manager Brendan Warren received a phone call, the whole room hushed.

When they realized it was a false alarm, they started dancing again.

After a lively rendition of “Party with CHR,” the team’s version of Miley Cyrus’s hit song, Ceci arrived with the news and candidates and supporters alike went wild.

“I just heard cheers and was swarmed with people; mob mentality took over and I cheered along,” Chowdhury said.

“I didn’t see anything, I just heard the roar and took a deep breath; I was like, ‘Here we go,’” Hartley said.

Team CHR won 54.5 per cent of the vote. There was a 40 per cent voter turnout, the AMS’s highest in recent memory.

Earlier in the evening, team CHR awaited the results with their supporters.

“I’m anxious and nervous,” Hartley said at about 9 p.m. “There’s no going back. … We’ve finished with the campaign; now it’s time to just wait.” Campaign manager Brendan Warren, ArtSci ’10, said he was worried he might cry when the results came in.

“We think ultimately it came down to the platform, the concerns and even the candidates and CHR was a solid candidate overall,” Warren said.

Calum Mew, ArtSci ’12, volunteered in team CHR’s campaign by helping make a promotional video, “Party with CHR.”

He said the video took four hours to film and the cast of Queen’s Musical Theatre’s Rocky Horror Picture Show sang the chorus.

Paloma Aguilar, ArtSci ’10 and CHR volunteer co-ordinator remarked on the John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and CHR posters that were in the living room.

“We’re surrounded by great leaders,” she said.

Before results came in, Chowdhury gave a speech to thank all of CHR’s supporters.

“We’re all so grateful to have all of you on our team,” she said. “It was an incredible experience just because of all of you.”

The party broke out into a chant of “CHR, CHR, CHR” as Chowdhury handed out personalized cards to all of the team’s volunteers.

Stephanie St. Clair, ArtSci ’09 and vice-president (university affairs) 2008-09, said she’s thrilled with the CHR victory.

“I felt that the AMS execs did not follow through with the vision of their previous executives,” St. Clair said. “CHR has a lot of similar views and ideals to our AMS exec.”

Last night, Chowdhury became Queen’s second female Muslim student president. The first was Taz Pirmohamed, who became AMS president in 1994-95.

“This is AMS history right here,” Chowdhury said. “Instead of getting scotch, I’m getting sparkling grape juice.” Traditionally, the winning AMS team is presented with cigars and scotch.

As soon as victory was announced, Chowdhury stepped outside to call her family.

“My heart is beating so fast … it hasn’t registered yet,” she said.

Hartley said the campaigning period was very stressful.

“The first thing I want to do is sleep,” he said.

Rudnicki said the first thing he wants to do as vice-president (university affairs)-elect is sit down with mechanical engineering professor Joshua Pearce to start getting the solar panel project that was one of the team’s campaign promises.

“Words cannot describe how I feel right now,” he said. “I support Safiah and her quest to help in bettering this school. Words cannot describe how thankful I am to all those people who have helped with this campaign.” Rudnicki said he hopes PNF will continue to contribute to Queen’s.

“I’m not sure what PNF has in plan for the future; however I do think that they are a great bunch of individuals,” he said. “I respect them as individuals and I hope they continue in contributing to Queen’s as they have the in past.” Nate Jackson, ArtSci ’10, put on a Team CHR t-shirt just before victory was announced.

“It’s a great way for us fourth years to leave the school knowing we left it in good hands.”

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