Selam Woldai '23 will move from her post as vice president of diversity and inclusion on the Student Assembly to be the next undergraduate student trustee.

May 3, 2021

Selam Woldai ’23 to Be Next Student-Elected Trustee

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Selam Woldai ’23 will serve as Cornell’s next undergraduate student trustee, according to election results released by the Office of the Assemblies on Monday afternoon. 

Running against five other candidates, Woldai won the ranked-choice race’s first-round with 891 votes. Her votes represented 26.3 percent of the total 3,394 ballots cast from April 27 to April 30, after the voting website crashed for more than 24 hours. 

Alexa Chong ’23, Andrea Miramontes Serrano ’24, Andrew Talone ’24, Brisa Lee ’23 and Itai Mupanduki ’23 received 495, 560, 240, 240 and 324 votes respectively in the first round. In the final, third round — after candidates with the lowest vote total in each round were successively eliminated — Woldai ultimately received 1,247 votes to Miramontes Serrano’s 1,033.  

This year’s election had lower turnout than 2019: This year, 23.63 percent of eligible voters cast ballots for the trustee, compared to 29.24 percent for the previous election. 2021’s votes account for just 52.9 percent of the total 6,417 votes cast in 2019. That year, a contested race over a disqualification resulted in two student-elected trustees — Jaewon Sim ’21 and JT Baker ’21. 

Woldai will assume the position currently held by Sim and will begin her two-year term in the fall semester. 

The industrial and labor relations major ran on a platform that emphasized creating social change through equity, listening and accessibility to foster a more inclusive environment at Cornell — drawing on two years of experience in the Student Assembly and in other campus organizations. Woldai previously served as the vice president of diversity and inclusion on the S.A. and as the minority student at-large liaison.

In her campaign, Woldai also called to expand Cornell’s mental health resources and looked to create monthly office hours and town hall meetings to connect with students. She had received endorsements from various affinity groups at Cornell, including Native American and Indigenous Students at Cornell, Black Students United, the Pan-African Students Association, the First Generation Student Union, the Cornell Asian Pacific Student Union, La Asociación Latina and the South Asian Council.    

“I will work to emphasize our similarities to connect various communities across campus to find our common causes,” Woldai wrote in a campaign bio, “and enact initiatives that can improve the student life and leave a lasting impact for all Cornell students to share.”