Student president ran for re-election with no contest

Warren Cook, a senior and the president of ASW.Clubs, opens up the ASW office before class. Cook said he is looking forward to the student body's future with sophomore Benjamin Pok as a second-term president but said he wished another student had run against the Pok in order to foster challenging conversations and keep him thinking about his position. Photo by Andrew Nassetta.

Warren Cook, a senior and the president of ASW.Clubs, opens up the ASW office before class. Cook said he is looking forward to the student body's future with sophomore Benjamin Pok as a second-term president but said he wished another student had run against the Pok in order to foster challenging conversations and keep him thinking about his position. Photo by Andrew Nassetta.

Westminster College sophomore Benjamin Pok recently ran uncontested for the student body president seat and was re-elected for a second term, becoming the first two-year president in ASW's history.

The ASW president heads the executive branch of the college’s student government, which makes him chief liaison to the Board of Trustees and board committees.

Though Pok won the election without a contender, some Westminster students said they see no issue with the lack of competition and said they feel positive about his re-election.

Nick Strong, a junior marketing major, voted in the election and said he's glad to see Pok hold onto his position for another year.

"Pok is a great guy," Strong said. "He is very well-spoken and does a good job of representing the student body wholly."

Warren Cook, a senior history major and ASW.Clubs president, said there are benefits to re-electing a student who will have another year to practice what he learned in his first term.

"There are a lot of good things that will come of it," Cook said. "I think it is really good overall for the school to have Ben working for a second term."

Although Cook said Pok has grown a lot during his first term, he said he wished another student ran against the new president in order to foster challenging conversations and keep him thinking about his position.

Cook drew on his past experiences as the captain of Westminster's soccer team to describe the benefits of having an opponent.

"Being on the soccer team, I don't care if we win," Cook said. "But I do care about how we perform in each game. I think having a strong opponent makes us perform better in our games and helps us improve every day."

Pok said he agrees that having a challenger in the race would ultimately have benefited everyone.

"Wining uncontested was a little frustrating," he said. "I didn't do it for a pat on the back."

However, he said he hopes to have more opportunities to fix student frustrations in his second term—something he said presidents sometimes struggle with because of the time constraints that come with a single year in office.

"If you are only in office for one year, the chance that people will take you seriously decreases," Pok added, referring to relationships with the college's administration, faculty and student body.

ASW.Senate recently passed legislation that no longer limits presidents to one term, which allowed Pok to run again.

"We had the student board debate, and a student asked me if I was going to debate myself," Pok said. "And I said, 'Yeah, pretty much.'"  

Sabi Lowder, a sophomore, was recently elected ASW vice president and she said she feels comfortable overall with how the election went. Although Lowder said she also wished someone had run against Pok, she expressed excitement to work with him.

"The new board coming in is super bad ass and everyone has so much passion that we would never let anyone become complacent with their duties," Lowder said. "Including Ben."