Student Body presidential candidate: Zachariah Chou

Zachariah Chou

All you need to know about Zachariah Chou is his Relish order: a salmon patty with garlic mayo and crispy onions on both buns with extra sauce on the side.

“You know I’m a man of the people when I call it garlic mayo instead of garlic aioli,” Chou said.

Relish, a hamburger restaurant on University Avenue, is home base for the 21-year-old after long days spent on campus, even when it’s not campaign season.

Where in the world is Zachariah Chou? He said his friends would say “everywhere.”

One Wednesday, he pinballed from a Career Connections Center event at Infinity Hall to a Graduate Student Council meeting to Pugh Hall to a Caribbean Students Association meeting to open mic night at Wing Zone to an Inspire Party meeting.

If Chou wins, he would be the first Asian American Student Body elected into office president at UF. Anthony Reynolds became the first Asian American student to become Student Body president after Ben Meyers resigned in 2011.

“Sometimes in life, you have to work twice as hard but will get half as far, but that doesn’t win elections,” Chou said. “If you want to win you have to work four times as hard just to win.”

Chou has been involved with Student Government since seventh grade. He served as the first senator for Infinity Hall for one year and the senator for Murphree Hall for two years.

He says he fought for Infinity Hall street lights, increased access to menstrual products and on-campus mental health resources.

The UF junior still has to complete his homework for his journalism and political science courses when finished on the Senate floor, though.

Chou’s mentor Kevin Baron of the Bob Graham Center said Chou should slow down.

“He has never taken my advice, but he has shown a resiliency and fortitude that deeply speaks to the quality of person he is,” Baron said.

The salmon burger is more than fuel for Chou’s schedule. It’s reminiscent of home.

Chou’s Taiwanese immigrant parents, Richard and Grace, bought fish in bulk regularly to feed Chou and his older sister, Gabrielle.

“They fed me, and I brought home awards,” Chou said.

Richard described Zach as a model son who never talked back or had a rebellious streak. Often, Richard can only talk to his son at 2 a.m. when Zach has a spare moment.

Richard applied to UF for graduate school when he immigrated but did not get in.

“He’s proved me wrong so many times,” Richard said.

Much like his time, Chou likes to give away his stuffed animals. He’s won many of them from claw machines.

So it’s off to another meeting, but first he must finish the salmon burger.

Correction: The article was updated to reflect that Zachariah Chou would be the first Asian American Student Body president elected into office. The Alligator previously reported differently.

Hannah Beatty is a third-year journalism major and sociology minor from Jacksonville, Florida. She began at the Alligator in the fall of 2018 as a general assignment staff writer and now serves as the student government beat reporter.