Raising turnout, passing the gavel

Zach Wagner | Collegio Reporter

The Spring 2012 semester brought new faces to the SGA presidency, and also marked a milestone in voting turnout for student government elections.
The number of student votes in the elections this year exceeded 900, which is the largest vote percentage SGA has seen in more than a decade.
Sen. Thomas Gregory, coordinator of the spring elections, says that he believes the recent tobacco-free campus referendum was a significant contributor to the record turnout.

Sydney Ward takes the box that holds the SGA vice president’s gavel from outgoing VP Austin Osborn during the turnover ceremony on Wednesday, April 25. Photo by:Srikanth Korlapati/Collegio

Sydney Ward takes the box that holds the SGA vice president’s gavel from outgoing VP Austin Osborn during the turnover ceremony on Wednesday, April 25. Photo by:Srikanth Korlapati/Collegio


“When you put something that big out there, that comes straight from SGA, you inspire that collective action of the student body to become more aware of what is going on with the entire organization,” Gregory said. “Through that, I think students caught the eye of what each campaign was aiming for this spring, and could begin to familiarize themselves with each candidate.”
Along with the referendum, Gregory says credit goes to each of the campaigns that made it their mission to gain students’ attention.
“You have to give credit to the candidates,” Gregory said. “Both campaigns had a lot of in-your-face propaganda, which helped spread the word a lot across campus.”
Despite the record vote turnout, Gregory says there is still much room for improvement concerning SGA’s outreach to the student body.
“Elections and allocations can only go so far,” Gregory said. “Student government needs to engage students, and turn out more for events, no matter what the organization or department.”
Past SGA president Eric Jones says that the early campaigning and extending the election period, were key factors in the record numbers.
“In 2009, the election period only lasted four days,” Jones said. “With the extension of days this year, and hopefully years to come, more students will take the initiative and go online to vote.”
Gregory says that the record turnout signifies SGA’s ambition to reach out more to the student body, developing better ties with departments and organizations along the way.
“As student leaders, we have to seek out the involvement,” Gregory said. “Wherever we can represent ourselves, we, SGA, have to go out there and show who we are.”
The victors of the spring elections were from the BOOM party. Lara Ismert, and Sydney Ward were sworn into their seats along with the 44 members of senate. After each member had ben sworn in, the governing body held an election for the legislative affairs director and Christian Cruz was elected.
The new governing body will handle committee elections at their next meeting.

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