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Political science senior Joi Sullivan spent the last two weeks of the Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) presidential campaign shaking hands, giving out free food and covering Cal Poly’s campus with bright red flyers bearing the slogan “Choose Joi.”
The result? A seat at the top of the student body as the new ASI president.
“I’ve met so many people along these past couple weeks. Cal Poly students are absolutely incredible, and I really look forward to working with all the people I’ve met along the way,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan won 1,771 of 4,300 first-place votes cast. Civil engineering junior Connor Paquin received 1,665 first-place votes, and agricultural business junior Jake Rogers received 784.
Since no contestant received more than 50 percent of the vote, Sullivan and Paquin went to an instant run-off. More voters picked Sullivan as their second choice, so she was crowned the winner in the Julian A. McPhee University Union Plaza on Thursday.
When ASI Recruitment and Development chair Cale Reid announced Sullivan’s name, she burst into tears as campaign manager Daniel Wasta wrapped her in a bear hug from behind.
After accepting congratulations from her staff, Sullivan thanked competitors Connor Paquin and Jake Rogers for a great race.
Wasta used his experience as a candidate in last year’s presidential election to organize a variety of publicity stunts for Sullivan’s campaign, including modifying the Cal Poly “P” to spell “Joi.”
“The biggest person I have to thank is Daniel Wasta. Without him, our campaign would not have gotten off the ground,” Sullivan said. “I heard a lot about the ‘P’ being very visible, which I absolutely credit my team for. They surprised me with that.”
Sullivan told her parents she was running for president on Feb. 16, her mother’s birthday. Both her parents drove up from Riverside for Thursday’s announcement, and her sister came from Santa Clarita.
Her family would have had little time to see her yesterday, as Sullivan was soliciting votes on campus until 1 a.m. After a couple hours of tossing and turning in bed, Sullivan got up at 5:45 a.m. to campaign a little more before voting closed at 7:40 a.m.
While Rogers said he was disappointed with the election, he was not surprised. To him, Sullivan had been the frontrunner from the beginning.
Rogers got a late jump on active campaigning because he was helping Cal Poly’s National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) team win a national championship in Jacksonville. His campaign never really recovered, but Rogers said winning the title was worth damaging his odds at ASI president.
“Joi was always the person to beat, I thought,” Rogers said. “She ran a great campaign. My focus before active campaigning started needed to be on my NAMA team … and it paid off with a national championship. I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world.”
Throughout her campaign, Sullivan commended the way current ASI President Jason Colombini had made himself available to all students throughout the year.
Sullivan said she plans to continue Colombini’s office hours, where students can come to voice concerns, opinions or ideas to the student body’s leader. She also said she would reach out to students in other ways, such as attending a random club meeting every week.
Though Sullivan will receive her undergraduate degree at the end of spring quarter, she will spend two more years at Cal Poly in the political science department’s master in public policy program.
Election results are technically unofficial until ratified by the Board of Directors at its Wednesday meeting.