Yell Leader candidates gathered in the MSC Flag Room for a Yell Leader Panel, as opposed to a debate that has been held in prior years, put on by the Election Commission.
The evening of Feb. 18, students gathered to better understand the candidates for Yell Leader position and to hear about what they all have to offer. Questions were submitted prior to the event by members of the student body. The panel was comprised of four parts: an opening statement (which was done after the first round of questions due to a mistake by moderator Scot Walker) the first round of questions asked to each candidate, a second round of questions randomly assigned to candidates and closing statements. Junior Yell candidates Dave Cox, Ayde Ordaz, Memo Salinas and Senior Yell candidates Keller Cox, Sam Norris and Jake Shatzer were all present at the panel. Junior Yell candidates Mason Graham and Nathan Valadez as well as Senior Yell candidates Jacob Huffman and Weston Porter were unable to attend, but sent in statements to be read.
Keller Cox, running on the Five for Yell campaign, said he hopes he will be able to enforce and reiterate the small traditions of Texas A&M if he is elected for Senior Yell.
“I think in the midst of growing we are losing the small traditions, like saying ‘Howdy,’” Keller said. “For me, as a Yell Leader and as a representation of the Spirit of Aggieland, in the next three to five years we can continue to pass down these small traditions.”
Salinas, who is also running on the Five for Yell campaign, said being a Yell Leader won’t be his greatest accomplishment if he is elected, but he hopes that through [the position], he will be able to exemplify what it means to be a great Aggie for generations to come.
“I hope that I’m remembered as a great Aggie,” said Salinas. “I want to be remembered as a guy who embodied the core values and who not only walked the walk, but talked the talk every day.”
Junior Yell candidate Dave Cox, running on the Bleed Maroon campaign, said he hopes to be a voice for disabled students because he has disabilities. Dave said he is able to represent a different population of students as a Yell Leader.
“The Spirit of Aggieland, to me, means really connecting with other Aggies,” said Dave. “We’re here to support other Aggies and should be trying to improve any life here at Aggieland.”
Additionally, both Shatzer and Ordaz are running on the Bleed Maroon campaign. Shatzer said Yell Leaders have always done a great job of embodying the Aggie Spirit, but have lacked the diversity seen within the student body and he’d like to see that change.
“I think there should be a more diverse representation,” said Shatzer. “It’s not just diversity for diversity's sake, but for the fact that we have so many diverse Aggies and they make up a huge portion of our university.”
Ordaz said diversity is something she’d like to be more present in the Yell Leaders as well. As a hispanic woman, Ordaz said she offers representation that hasn’t been seen in past Yell Leaders.
“There has never been a representation of females as Yell Leader,” said Ordaz. “I’d like to see more women taking that first initiative and first step to create change.”
Running independently, Norris said he hasn’t been very serious throughout much of his campaign, but he truly believes Yell Leaders make A&M all that it is.
“I’m a first generation Aggie and what really inspired me to come to A&M was the yells,” said Norris. “I want to inspire other Aggies as a Yell Leader and make every Aggie feel welcomed.”
Valadez was not planning on attending because he had class at the same time, but was able to arrive late since his class was released early. This allowed him time to give his final statement. Valadez said his entire platform is about openness, and he invites students to find him and ask him any questions they might have.
“I want to be the most open Yell Leader candidate,” said Valadez. “If you message me or go by the physics building and come in talk to me, I want to make that connection and be able to talk with y’all openly.”
Voting for student elections will be open online at vote.tamu.edu on Thursday and Friday.