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Anand Ganjam Wins UPUA Presidency, Voter Turnout Sets Record

After a highly competitive UPUA election, the ballots are in and the results are final. Anand Ganjam and Emily McDonald downed the competition to take hold of the executive of UPUA’s Ninth Assembly, replacing predecessors Katelyn Mullen and Brenden Dooley as president and vice president.

Ganjam faced laudable opponents in Meeten Doshi – running with Kate Taylor – and Melissa McCleery – running with Tim Rinehart. In the end, it seems that leadership experience and UPUA records won out as Ganjam and McDonald combined for the most talented ticket in the realm of Penn State student government.

Ganjam garnered 4,498 (53.2%) votes, to McCleery’s 2,578 (30.5%) and Doshi’s 1,276 (15.1%). This year’s 21.1% turnout rate and 8,449 votes set a new all-time UPUA record, breaking the 2012 record of 19% and 7,344 votes.

“This is something I’ve wanted since my freshman year,” Ganjam said. “I’ve dreamed about being president. We celebrate tonight, but tomorrow we get to it. It means everything in the world to me. I’m just honored to have the student body’s belief that me and Emily are the right ones to do the job.”

The three tickets touched on a lot of the same issues, from advancing technology at the university to legalizing dormitory drinking for 21-year-old students. What stood out for Ganjam was his admission that he wasn’t an expert on all things related to student government, paving the way for roundtable-based governance in which he plans to involve relevant student organizations to offer input on UPUA legislation.

The new administration’s platform is extremely comprehensive, offering a vast array of initiatives in academics, diversity, tuition, technology, and more. Ganjam plans to form a Commission on Student Safety and Wellness, implement discounted on-campus meals for visiting guests, advocate for lower tuition, and partner with to help students find rides on weekends and breaks.

Other strong ideas in the Ganjam platform include exterior heat lamps at popular CATA bus stops, quarter machines in the HUB to allow students to get change for residence hall laundry, a Diversity Commission within UPUA’s Student Life Committee, and lower textbook costs through open educational resources.

Here are the rest of the results from today’s election:


Melissa McCleery — 1908
Alex Calderaro — 1692
John Wortman — 1687
Stephen Payne — 1546
Anjali Krishnan — 1536
John Lombardo — 1527
Nicole Keller — 1482
Yanni Mai — 1469
Steffen Blanco — 1456
Divy Agnihotri — 1419
Ted Ritsick — 1348
Garrett Warmbein — 1330
Shannon Rafferty — 1322
Aaron Budd — 1268
Jon Garfield — 1192
Meghan O’Brien — 1147
Terry Ford — 1094
Malik Cooper — 1059
Majed Alheraiqi — 985
Zach Longstreth — 907
Ebony Turner — 889
Nick Rockwell — 831
Denis Harp — 801
Steven Parr — 772
Eyad Saifaddin — 754
Nicholas Azinge III — 673
Bradley Marks — 658
Greg Schlosser — 650


Ted Hozza — 17 (write-in)


Andrew Ahr — 9 (write-in)


Ryan Belz — 253
Chris Bizzell — 232


Bennett Samuel — 439


Calvin Aberle — 47 (write-in)


Tim Rinehart — 504 votes (unopposed)


Emily Miller — 227 votes (unopposed)


Hadi Al Lawati — 513 votes
Aakash Sondhi — 407 votes


Danny Murphy — 648 (unopposed)


Meeten Doshi — 5 (write-in)
Richard Rabrizio — 5 (write-in)


Victoria Woods — 729 (unopposed)


Brigid Colligan — 82 votes


Mike Mancini — 323 votes
Anthony Mitchell — 231 votes


Noel Purcell — 620 votes
Manisha Yariagadda — 188 votes

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About the Author

Zach Berger

Zach Berger is a reporter and Onward State's Managing Editor Emeritus. You can find him at the Phyrst more nights than not. If he had to pick a last meal, Zach would go for a medium-rare New York strip steak with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and a cold BrewDog Punk IPA. You can reach him via e-mail at [email protected] or on Twitter at @theZachBerger.

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