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EmpowerBU wins SG E-Board election, Hafzat Akanni elected first female African American president

Members of the EmpowerBU slate celebrate their Student Government Executive Board election victory Monday night in the GSU. RYAN GREGORY/ DFP STAFF

EmpowerBU will be the next Executive Board of Boston University’s Student Government, the Student Election Commission announced at a dinner Monday night. Hafzat Akanni, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences who leads the slate, will be the first female African American SG president in BU history.

Akanni’s slate includes Executive Vice President-elect Neha Iyer, a junior in the Questrom School of Business, Vice President of Finance-elect Lukas Flores, a Questrom sophomore and Vice President of Internal Affairs-elect Jessica Zheng, a freshman in CAS.

SEC co-chairs Ayomide Ojebuoboh and Vanessa Rodriguez thanked the student body and both slates for their efforts and for the time they put into the lengthy election process before announcing the winners.

In a short acceptance speech, president-elect Akanni thanked her supporters and fellow slate YourBU for being team players. She said EmpowerBU is excited for the journey to come.

Following the announcement, Suzie O’Michael, the director of events for SG, said from the audience Akanni’s win is important.

“In case you didn’t know, this is the first female black president we’ve had at BU,” O’Michael said. “Let’s hear a round of applause — now, let’s hear a second round of applause.”

Akanni, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, said after the dinner she could not stop smiling when she thought about being the first female African American president-elect for SG.

“History was just made, and BU should feel proud of that,” Akanni said.

Augustine Jimenez, who ran against Akanni for SG President in the YourBU slate, said after the announcement dinner both slates were very qualified, and both put up a fight.

“I’m excited for EmpowerBU,” Jimenez said, “and I’m glad Student Government is going to be in the hands of really capable, passionate, dynamic individuals.”

Iyer said after the dinner she is very proud of her slate’s accomplishment because it is a historic win.

“Having the first female black president is incredible, and the team we had supporting us through this is what took us through,” Iyer said. “Seeing what students need and talking to as many student groups as possible has given us the voice that we need from the students and allowed us to create a platform that supports what people want.”


Zheng said after the dinner although she is a freshman who would have time to run again in the future if EmpowerBU had lost, there are no other people she would want to share this experience with.

“A big part of why I did this, honestly, was for Hafzat,” Zheng said. “I think Hafzat deserves this, and I am so glad to do this with [her].”

Zheng said she is ready to revolutionize SG and the entire student body, and she knows it will take a few years to accomplish everything.

“I’m excited to literally get started tomorrow,” Zheng said. “We are very ambitious with what we want to do.”

Flores said he couldn’t be happier with his team.

“One of the biggest motivators that I had throughout this whole campaign period was the chance to be able to work with these people for the next year,” Flores said.

Nada Shalash, who ran for Vice President of Internal Affairs for YourBU, said after the dinner she is happy for EmpowerBU, and the reality of an election is that someone has to win and someone has to lose.

“I’m excited for them to implement their initiatives in Student Government,” Shalash said. “Obviously, it’s been a difficult campaign period, but I think they did a really good job.”

Akanni said she wants people to know moving into next year that everyone in the student body is part of Student Government and that her slate will be releasing applications for cabinet director positions.

“Our membership is 17,000 people,” Akanni said, “and so even though we will be the next Executive Board, we cannot do it alone.”

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One Comment

  1. congratulations to empower BU!

    also, why can’t you say the word black? Hafzat isn’t African American.