You may remember seeing the names of junior Shelby Frye and senior Julia Koenig on banners by the seal or on their campaign posts shared around social media. Now that the Student Body President election is over, their relationship has become less public but more meaningful.
The two first joined ASG last year, but didn’t begin dating until after campaigning together.
“I was always intrigued by Shelby, always drawn to her light,” Julia said. “I always wanted her to come to things, like, ‘Is Shelby going to join us at this event? Is Shelby going to come to this?”
Shelby knew Julia as a fellow academic senator and the president of Feminists Working On Real Democracy (F-WORD), but the two didn’t officially meet until Shelby went to a lecture last year with her roommate, who is a mutual friend.
Julia sat down next to them and, using American Sign Language, signed to her friend to ask whether Shelby’s name was Rachel.
Shelby, who knows a bit of sign language herself, corrected her. The next day, the two bumped into each other at a sketch comedy performance.
“Julia has to go above and beyond to prove that she knows who I am now,” Shelby said, laughing. “And her mother is there. So not only does she give me this huge hug, but she introduces me to her mother. I was like you don’t even know my name! And now I know your mom.”
After meeting with a few different possible running mates in December, Shelby decided to ask Julia to be her vice presidential candidate. The two began to hang out one on one for at least six hours every day of the campaign, going over their platforms, taking photos and visiting student organizations.
“We didn’t sleep,” Shelby said.
“It got to the point where we were relying on each other for more than just campaign stress,” Julia said. “Like life stress and friendship stress and this exam is bullshit and what do you think about healthcare in America?”
“And the answer is it’s shit,” Shelby added.
Both feel affected by heteronormativity in ASG and at Miami in general.
“People anticipate that we’re both straight and just that we’re really close friends,” Julia said.
“Honestly I think that any two women or two men could make out on the floor of the senate chamber, literally in front of everybody, and [senate] would be like ‘They are such good friends,’” Shelby said.
But Shelby and Julia’s shared passion in the face of the culture they want to change unites them, both in ASG and as a couple.
“I wouldn’t be in love with her if we didn’t agree on the majority of things,” Julia said. “So I’m always here for her hot takes, and I think we build off on each other well. We’re a team, and that’s why we were a good ticket.”
Though they confess they’re “not thrilled” with the results of the election, both have found silver linings, even separate from their new relationship.
“Definitely the best thing to come out of ASG in general for me has been Julia,” Shelby said.